The second round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix won’t kick off until June, but the biggest winner in the tournament thus far has to be Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, whose two-round destruction of Fedor Emelianenko made the once great champion look human.
As Silva waits to find out who he’ll face next – between Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem or Fabricio Werdum – he’s got one thing on his side that either of them will have to worry about… confidence.
“The main thing about the tournament is that it gives Bigfoot confidence,” Silva’s manager, Alex Davis, told MMAWeekly Radio. “Let me intercede on one thing. People are saying now ‘oh we don’t think Fedor lost the fight’ and I say great, let’s give Fedor a rematch.
“You know what’s going to happen in the rematch? It’s going to happen worse. Because now this was the biggest fight to date for Bigfoot, and now he knows in his heart what he can do. Now it’s going to be a problem for the other guys. This guy now is confident.”
That confidence also breeds the desire to stay active and that’s where the problem begins.
Strikeforce delayed the final two quarterfinal bouts for the Grand Prix until June, which means Silva and fellow quarterfinal winner Sergei Kharitonov are going to be forced to the sidelines for the better part of six months, at least, waiting for their opponents to be determined and the semifinal event.
“I understand if this is Strikeforce because they want more time to promote it or advertise it or possibly put it on CBS or something, some variable we don’t know about. I can’t respond to that from their end,” Davis explained.
“For us, it sucks because, think about it, if the tournament happens on the 18th of June, the earliest you’re going to get to the semifinals is going to be late September, early October. That means Antonio stays without fighting for seven or eight months and it just doesn’t work like that. I need to keep this guy in motion, I need to keep him fighting, that’s how he pays his bills. Not only that, but to keep this momentum in his fighting career, I can’t just stop it in the middle.”
The answer to keeping Silva’s momentum going may be taking a fight in the interim, while they wait for the other quarterfinal bouts to play out. That could mean a trip to Japan for Bigfoot.
“The only other option I have is to try to get a fight in Japan for him. Of course, he’s in the tournament, so we’ve got to talk to Strikeforce and respect their view too, but for us that would be the best scenario,” Davis said. “He could go to Japan, fight somebody in Japan, maybe in June or July, keep himself motivated, keep himself going, pay his bills, and then come back ready for the tournament.”
The other winner from the quarterfinal round of the tournament, Sergei Kharitonov, has also expressed an interest in taking another fight, while he waits for the Grand Prix to pick up again.
Strikeforce hasn’t given any indication if they’ll give permission to either fighter to participate in a fight outside of the tournament, but it appears Silva is serious about pursuing the option.