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Coker Talks Shields, Hendo, Lashley, Mo & More; Women’s Champ Wants A Contract (Update)

Strikeforce president Scott Coker has been making the media rounds this week promoting Saturday’s “Heavy Artillery” card. Most of the discussion has centered around Brett Rogers getting a title shot against Alistair Overeem coming off a loss. We’ve already covered that, so I’m going to move right into what he thinks is next for several notable fighters under the Strikeforce umbrella.

On Jake Shields:

We’re having a dialogue right now, and we’ll see. We inherited his contract from ProElite, and we’ll know probably in the next two or three months if we do another contract with him.

On Dan Henderson:

More fights. Dan’s a great fighter. I could see Dan going against Robbie Lawler, I think that would be a great fight. Jacare or Joey Villasenor would be great fights. If Nick Diaz wants to fight at 185 again, that would be a great fight. Dan is on vacation right now and then we’ll have that conversation.

On King Mo:

I think our fight on May 15 between Feijao [Rafael Cavalcante] and Antwain Britt is going to be great, and we also have Roger Gracie fighting Kevin Randleman, so we have some good light heavyweights. But the fight King Mo really wants is he wants to fight Fedor. King Mo could fight at heavyweight and that would be an interesting fight. Dan Henderson vs. King Mo could also be interesting.

On Bobby Lashley and Shane Del Rosario potentially fighting:

Lashley and Del Rosario will probably both fight on our June 16 card and maybe we’ll have the winners of their two fights fight each other after that.

On Gilbert Melendez:

I think he could fight a rematch with Tatsuya Kawajiri [Melendez beat Kawajiri by unanimous decision in 2006], I think he could fight JZ Cavalcante, maybe Vitor Ribeiro. I think maybe after another year he’ll probably have a trilogy fight with Josh Thomson, and I think those are four good guys he could look forward to fighting. [Ed. Note: Dammit, what about Eddie Alvarez?]

On Cyborg’s June opponent:

She will be fighting in June and we should know her opponent soon… No. [Erin Toughill] let us know she will not be ready to fight until after July.

Whether Gina Carano will fight again:

I think she will. I know she’s a fighter at heart, and she’ll want to come back at some point.

Props to MDS for the very thorough interview which you can check out over at MMA Fighting. The only thing MDS didn’t really touch on with Coker though is the several complaints that have popped up from fighters in the past few months. At one point, Vitor Ribeiro (who is fighting Saturday) was upset because he wasn’t getting fights. Then Erin Toughill flipped out because Strikeforce (or Showtime according to her) canceled four promised bookings, and more recently, Lyle Beerbohm (who’s fighting Ribeiro Saturday) cried foul because he didn’t think Strikeforce was paying him what was in contract. If that wasn’t enough, now their women’s 135 lbs. champion Sarah Kaufman says she’s a free agent and Strikeforce has made no effort to re-sign her even though she really wants them to.

“I’m not sure if they haven’t realized, even though we kind of mentioned [before the Hashi fight], ‘Hey, this is my last fight,’ or they have so much going on that they kind of forgot about it. I don’t really know,” Kaufman said. “As I say, I don’t want to walk away from Strikeforce by any means. I think they have done a good job of getting the females out there, it just needs to be a little more often for me. I’m just getting a crazy a little bit. I understand when you get higher up and to the top, you do have to wait for other people to make their way up to challenge you, but I don’t think that needs to take a year. Hopefully they get on board and kind of realize, ‘Hey, we made a mistake and you finished without a contract, and we need to get that sorted out quick.'”

Between forgetting (or not caring) to re-sign their women’s 135 lbs. champ, struggling to develop contenders for their women’s 145 lbs. champ and failing to organize those 135 lbs. and 145 lbs. women’s tournaments they’ve been promising, it’s starting to feel like Strikeforce’s motivation to build women’s MMA went out the window when Gina Carano went out the door.

Image via Esther Lin for Showtime

Update: According to Strikeforce, Sarah Kaufman is under contract with them. They say her contract was extended when she beat Takayo Hashi for the title. Apparently, no one told Kaufman.

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