by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
“I want to make a statement, I want to be No. 1. I’m back on track, and I’m almost there, I want to prove it. I’d love to fight someone like Eddie Alvarez. Eddie Alvarez is a guy I’d really like to fight,” Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez told MMAWeekly.com recently.
“Gilbert is a great fighter who’s got a lot of momentum going right now,” Alvarez responded. “This is the match-up that all the fans want to see and it’d be a shame if it didn’t happen. I want to do it.”
Well… it appears those that can make that fight happen are paying attention.
“As an MMA fan, first and foremost, Alvarez versus Melendez is an awesome fight at 155 that deserves to be seen and needs to be made,” Alvarez’s boss, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said on Saturday.
“Gilbert has the heart of a warrior, just like our champion Eddie. I will do everything I can to get Gilbert what he asked for. Gilbert wants the fight, Eddie wants the fight and I want the fight. All we have to do is get Scott Coker on board and together we can make this happen.”
Coker, the CEO of Strikeforce, is listening. He’s not ready to fully commit to the fight, but he told MMAWeekly.com on Saturday night that he is open to working with Bellator to make it happen.
“We’d consider it. It depends on the timing,” he said.
“We had a conversation about Roger Huerta (currently under contract with Bellator) fighting for us, but the terms and conditions weren’t something that was attractive to us, so we passed. But we’ve had some good conversations with Bellator and the door’s open for anybody.”
Strikeforce has already proven that it isn’t averse to partnerships. The company agreed to co-promotions with M-1 Global to win the Fedor Emelianenko sweepstakes, and also has a strong fighter sharing partnership with Japan’s Dream promotion.
The Huerta negotiation however is indicative that Strikeforce isn’t jumping into a situation just to make a good fight happen. It’s got to make sense.
“I think it’s about the deal,” Coker stated, “but if the deal’s right, let’s do it.”