After the disappointing debacle at the conclusion of “Strikeforce: Nashville” involving Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Jake Shields, The Diaz Bros and others, there should be enough firepower on display during “Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery” to ensure that the show makes the headlines for all the right reasons.
However, there is one issue which the organization needs to urgently address: Confusingly Strikeforce currently has not one but two heavyweight champions. When Fedor Emelianenko fought Brett Rogers it was for the WAMMA championship which Emelianenko retained from his Affliction days and the reigning Strikeforce heavyweight champion is actually Alistair Overeem.
“The Demolition Man” will be defending his title in tonight’s main event. Somewhat surprisingly his opponent will be Brett Rogers, a man who was last seen losing to Emelianenko in November.
If Strikeforce is intent on having two individual championships in any of their weight classes, they need to ensure that these titles are unified at the earliest available opportunity.
Having two separate heavyweight champions is not a healthy situation and it is compounded by Strikeforce’s surprising decision to force both men to face the same challenger. Brett Rogers was resoundingly beaten by Emelianenko in his last Strikeforce appearance yet he somehow finds himself headlining a Strikeforce card in his very next fight.
Overeem might well be the overwhelming bookmaker’s favorite but Rogers has only ever been defeated by Emelianenko and will be looking to bounce back from the disappointment of his first career loss.
If Rogers were to replace Overeem as Strikeforce heavyweight champion it would be hugely embarrassing for the organization. What sort of credibility can Rogers have as a champion given that he was recently beaten by Emelianenko?
Strikeforce still need to unify the titles and, while a battle between Overeem and Emelianenko could be intriguing, there would be little public appetite for a rematch of what was a fairly one sided encounter between Rogers and Emelianenko.
Emelianenko is scheduled to defend his WAMMA title against Fabricio Werdum next month, so a resolution does not appear to be imminent. MMA is not boxing and fans should not have to tolerate this type of situation. Strikeforce need to unify the two titles at the earliest available opportunity. If they do not a perceived lack of legitimacy could fatally undermine any future heavyweight championship bouts.