Fans of MMA’s legendary PRIDE promotion who are well-versed in the role tournaments played throughout the organization’s run in Japan are likely smiling today as it now appears Strikeforce may be taking a page from the PRIDE book by putting together a heavyweight Grand Prix next year with possible participants including Fedor Emelianenko, Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem, and Josh Barnett, as well as others.
News of the potential tournament was reported by Tatame, who also explained Strikeforce would be planning to promote at least part of the process on PPV. However, Five Ounces of Pain contacted Strikeforce representative Mike Afromowitz who clarified the official situation, saying, “The news being circulated about this tournament is just rumors.” Clearly, as enticing as it sounds to see, the aforementioned scenario’s actual occurrence is by no means set in stone at this point in time.
Also affecting the likelihood of rumor becoming reality are ongoing negotiations with Fedor’s camp. Though the status of Emelianenko’s contract extension is still up in the air, if he does indeed add to his present deal and throw his name in the alleged group he will bring valuable experience with him into the bracket. The highly-ranked Russian was the winner of PRIDE’s 2004 Heavyweight Grand Prix with wins over Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman and dual victories on the same night against Naoya Ogawa and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the final.
Given Strikeforce’s current roster, if the Grand Prix were to take place, it seems other entrants are likely to include any or all of the company’s top heavyweights like Andrei Arlovski, Antonio Silva, Sergei Kharitonov, and Brett Rogers.
PHOTO CREDIT – Susumu Nagao