As Strikeforce prepares for its Showtime-televised “Diaz vs. Noons 2” lineup Saturday in San Jose, Calif., the question remains whether the promotion will return to CBS.
Strikeforce’s second and most recent event on CBS, an April 17 card in Nashville, Tenn., ended with a postfight melee that ensued when Jason “Mayhem” Miller entered the cage to challenge main event winner Jake Shields. The Tennessee Athletic Commission issued five suspensions and fine recommendations in connection with the brawl, which was broadcast to more than two million viewers.
Last week Dan Henderson suggested that his return to Strikeforce had been delayed by CBS’s reluctance to air more MMA due to the postfight altercation. Henderson had lost to Shields in the Nashville headliner, though he had no part in the melee.
“I was wanting to get back in there pretty quickly, but I think part of the problem was CBS kind of a little bit faltering on their commitment to mixed martial arts, especially after the little escapade in the cage after my last fight on CBS,” Henderson told The MMA Hour.
Henderson went on to say he believes CBS still wants to be involved with MMA but will be patient with the sport. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker echoed that optimism Wednesday during an interview on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” program.
“I think the relationship is good,” Coker said. “You guys know what happened in Nashville. We’re going to revisit [the CBS relationship] in the beginning of the year. I think there are some other opportunities with CBS that we’re working on -- let’s say we’re working on it together to do some other things. I think that probably, I don’t know maybe in the beginning of the year, we’ll have some things to announce. By no means is the relationship a bad relationship. It’s just we’re going to revisit it in the beginning of the year and take it from there.”
Coker declined to say whether the relationship had to be repaired after the postfight scuffle.
“I can tell you this. One of the things that we want to make sure never happens again is the situation that happened in Nashville,” he said. “I mean, that was terrible. It’s not just bad for Strikeforce or for the sport in general because it affects everybody. It affects everybody in the industry. … It was definitely something that needed to be fixed. We fixed it and we’re moving forward.”
Check out the full interview (beginning at 55:55) with Scott Coker, who also discusses his heavyweight division and the lineup for Saturday.