With Alistair Overeem not only out of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, but now out of Strikeforce all together, there isn’t a heavyweight champion currently residing in the promotion.
The quick fix to that problem would seem to be the winner of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix being crowned as the new champion for the vacant title.
That however is not the plan Strikeforce has in place as confirmed by CEO Scott Coker on Tuesday.
“Actually, the tournament winner will not be awarded the heavyweight title,” Coker told MMAWeekly.com. “We’re currently working in some discussions. It just hasn’t been determined. We’re still working out the process of the plans for the belt. Right now it has not been determined.”
While there are ‘internal discussions’ going on with Strikeforce and no doubt other officials at Zuffa, the heavyweight belt will remain vacant through the end of this tournament.
No official reason was given for why the promotion has opted not to go that route, but for the four remaining men in the tournament, they will be fighting for the Grand Prix title, but not the Strikeforce heavyweight belt.
One of the tournament semifinalists Josh Barnett definitely liked the idea of the belt being up for grabs for the winner of the Grand Prix, but it doesn’t change what he has to do on Sept 10 or the finals should he make it.
“Titles and things like that are spoils of war. You have to go out there and win battles before you can raid the dead of all their belongings,” Barnett intimated.
“Honestly, yeah I would love it if the finals of this tournament were for the heavyweight title right now, I think that’s great, that would add an exclamation mark at the end of it. But that doesn’t change my attitude of getting the job done.”
It appears that the title situation in Strikeforce may continue to be murky for a couple of divisions. Coker also stated that while contract negotiations continue with current light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson, they have not determined what will happen with that title either.
Currently, the only champions still under contract in Strikeforce are lightweight title holder Gilbert Melendez, middleweight champion Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza, and the two women’s champions, Miesha Tate and Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos.
It remains to be seen when more champions will be crowned in Strikeforce.