Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Barnett vs. Fedor and the Ever-so Confusing Strikeforce Heavyweight Saga


Josh Barnett's recent signing with Strikeforce has made way for the potential fulfillment of one of MMA's most highly anticipated heavyweight match-ups -- Josh Barnett vs. Fedor Emelianenko. The two world ranked heavies were first scheduled to headline Affliction's August 2009 "Trilogy" event, which also touted popular names like Vitor Belfort, Takanori Gomi, Ben Rothwell, and Gegard Moussasi, among others. However, when the California State Athletic Commission popped Barnett for steroid-hot urine, the Affliction: "Trilogy" card went down the toilet with the rest of Barnett's urine cup, the heavyweight match-up of our dreams was long lost, and the death of the Affliction promotion soon followed.

That is, until Strikeforce picked up Josh Barnett last week...


Now, Barnett is playing matchmaker, trying to jockey a bout with Fedor Emelianenko. Emelianenko, on the other hand, has tried his hand at the matchmaking table himself, calling for a rematch with Fabricio Werdum who served the Russian his first (real) defeat back in June. At the time Strikeforce prez Scott Coker was not interested in a Fedor-Werdum rematch, and with Werdum coming off of elbow surgery that match was not an option. Coker pressed for a Fedor vs. Alistair Overeem fight, a match that Fedor and the M-1 team eventually took by the reigns but an Overeem-Fedor throwdown has yet to meet contract papers. Then, there's Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva who has been yelling and screaming "somebody pick me" like a kid left out of a schoolyard football game. The guy just wants a legitimate match, possibly a rematch with Werdum who defeated him last year, his only loss in his last eight fights, who can blame him? And should I even mention Brett Rogers? He knocked out Arlovski, broke Fedor's nose in the first round of a TKO loss, and then lost (badly) to Overeem in his next fight, but those are his only two losses.

So, what we have is a confusing scenario of "who should fight who?" in the ongoing Strikeforce heavyweight saga. But as it stands Josh Barnett and Fedor Emelianenko are both still world ranked fighters who at best stand to deliver a fireworks show, and at worst Josh Barnett could improve his record from being the only MMA fighter in history to fail three banned substances tests to being the only to fail four.

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