After months of rumors and speculation, Strikeforce’s second network television event is finally official. As announced earlier today, Strikeforce returns to CBS on April 17 with three title fights — Hendo vs. Shields, Mousasi vs. King Mo and Melendez vs. Aoki.
Noticeably absent from the announcement though was the participation of Herschel Walker who has been heavily rumored for the card in recent weeks. It appears his name was left off for a reason. According to CBS’ Kelly Kahl, it doesn’t look like Herschel will be ready by April 17 for his second pro fight.
“I’d still love to get him on CBS at some point, but it sounds like this was a little too close to the last fight,” Kahl said. “The thing I love about Herschel is he’s not going to jump in until he’s ready, and he takes the training very seriously, so I’m going to give him all the time he needs.”
If not Herschel, then which competitors will fill the fourth slot on the televised card? Well, apparently since there’s three five-round title fights and broadcast time constraints (two-hour block), there might not be a fourth fight.
Speaking to Ranallo, CBS executive Kelly Kahl said the network is still considering a fourth fight, but no decision has yet been made.
“We still might put somebody interesting on the card just to round it out a little bit, but it’s not like we feel that we need anything but these three fights,” Kahl said.
The only problem with going with three fights is what do they do if those fights end early, and chances are at least one or two of them won’t go the full 25 minutes. Showing prelims like the UFC seems like the way to go, but Showtime has opted to end their broadcasts early in the past instead of airing prelims for whatever reason. If that same protocol holds true for CBS, they should seriously consider adding a fourth fight even if it’s between two up-and-comers. Three title fights are awesome, but if they only last a round or two, fans might feel like they were short-changed.
Update: On the same episode of the The Fight Show (.mp3) as the above Kelly Kahl interview came from, Mauro Ranallo reported that the Alistair Overeem vs. Brett Rogers fight expected for May 15 will be for Alistair’s Strikeforce heavyweight title.
I love that fight, but to be honest, I’m not sure what’s worse, Alistair returning after two years and not defending his title or defending it against Brett Rogers who’s coming off a loss against the guy who should be fighting Overeem for the title. A lose-lose situation as far as the title is concerned.
Update 2: Strikeforce matchmaker Rich Chou confirms Hershel Walker will not make the Nashville card. He says they may add a fourth swing bout.