Strikeforce could be taking its show international, including part of its upcoming Heavyweight Grand Prix that kicks off in February.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker tells MMAWeekly Radio that the company has been exploring expansion into Canada and likely taking at least one leg of the Grand Prix overseas to Japan.
“We’re having a couple conversations right now and we definitely want to travel to Canada at some point, which we’re working on,” Coker said. “We’d definitely like to take one leg of the tournament at some point, it doesn’t have to be the next one or it could be the semifinals or maybe even the fights, but we’d like to eventually this year take one of those legs to Japan.”
Strikeforce hasn’t ventured to Japan before, but they do have strong ties with FEG, the company that promotes Dream and K-1 events in the country. Coker has had a relationship working with K-1 for several years, and it would seemingly make for an easy transition for his company to make it to Japan.
Several fighters on the Strikeforce roster have come to prominence through fighting in Japan including heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem, who just won the K-1 Grand Prix title in Japan, as well as former Pride champion Fedor Emelianenko.
Coker believes it’s a smart move to expand into Japan, and why not for what he calls the greatest heavyweight tournament the sport has ever seen.
“I just feel like with all the stars that we have and the fan base there for these fighters over there, I mean these fighters have a ton of fans in Japan,” said Coker. “Why not go there and bring Strikeforce to Japan some time this year?”
No plans have been finalized as to which leg of the tournament could take place there, but the quarterfinal round of the Grand Prix featuring Overeem has not been scheduled yet, but is expected to take place in early April.
Beyond that date, Strikeforce hasn’t set anything in concrete as far as when shows will take place, but it’s expected that the semifinals will happen in early to mid-summer with the finals taking place in the fall.