Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker on Wednesday said that his promotion is ready to take the leap forward and do something that has rarely been attempted in major mixed martial arts promotions, unifying titles across promotions. It's something that he would like to pursue with Japanese promoter Dream.
Though it's often been discussed by various promotions, Strikeforce and Dream already have an official fighter sharing partnership in place, so it would be less of a stretch for the two to come to some sort of agreement on unification bouts.
Coker announced the alliance between Strikeforce and Dream in early August, just after tapping Dream's Mitsuhiro Ishida to come to the U.S. and challenge Gilbert Melendez for the Strikeforce interim lightweight championship.
He likened the agreement to the post-season in Major League Baseball, where teams from different leagues compete to declare the top team in the sport.
In actuality, Coker has been sharing fighters with Dream for quite some time, but once Strikeforce signed Fedor Emelianenko to a multi-fight contract, the two promotions decided to make the alliance more official. The formal partnership could now lead to the title unification bouts, and Coker is ready for that next step.
"I think that one of the reasons why we made the alliance is so we can see some of the best fighters of Dream fight the best fighters of Strikeforce. Unifying those title belts, I have no problem with that. As a fan and as a company, we would definitely like to pursue that."
Strikeforce is fairly well equipped for its next two major events as far as title bouts go. Jake Shields and Jason "Mayhem" Miller will determine a new middleweight champion on Nov. 7 on CBS, where Fedor Emelianenko and Brett Rogers will likely determine the first challenger to heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem. The undercard of the Chicago event will also produce a contender to Cris "Cyborg" Santos' title when Erin Toughill and Marloes Coenen square up. Lightweight champion Josh Thomson will face Melendez in December.
Two openings would appear to be at welterweight, where filling the vacant slot has become somewhat of a Bermuda Triangle, and light heavyweight. Champion Gegard Mousasi will face Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou in a light heavyweight non-title affair on Nov. 7, but has few legitimate challengers waiting in the ranks of the current Strikeforce roster.
But if and when Coker can put together a cross-promotional unification bout, it will be a major development in mixed martial arts.