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Conde Koma
12/22/2009 1:50pm,
So the Rumble put up some great suggestions for Strikeforce to adopt as New Year's resolutions as an organization, which I'm reposting here:

New Year's Resolutions for Strikeforce
Monday, December 21, 2009

Strikeforce closed out 2009 on a high note Saturday, as its "Evolution" fight card on Showtime paid off in a big way for fans. Great performances from Gilbert Melendez, Muhammed Lawal, Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and a surprise win for Scott Smith should all have the promotion feeling pretty good about itself today. Now, with 2010 looming, the question is how Strikeforce can keep the momentum rolling into the new year.

Scott Coker and his brood have a good chance to cement their status as heavyweight contenders to the UFC's throne during the next 365 days, if they can stay true to the formula that got them this far and make a couple of important adjustments. Here are some ideas for New Year's resolutions in what will be a pivotal year for Strikeforce:

Use the early part of the year to get the title pictures straightened out …

Step one: Strip Alistair Overeem. Even if the big kickboxer does return by mid 2010, he's already proven that the California-based company is not exactly his top priority. Good news for Strikeforce is, as long as you've got Fedor Emelianenko, you hardly need Overeem. Make Emelanenko's April fight with Fabricio Werdum for the heavyweight championship and then start talking big about how the best fighter in the world wears Strikeforce gold.

With Nick Diaz and Marius Zaromskis set to finally get the welterweight belt off the shelf at the end of January, the best case scenario for Strikeforce is to get a stable of credible champions that includes the likes of Fedor, Gegard Mousasi, Dan Henderson, Diaz and Melendez firmly established by May. Then, Strikeforce, you promote the titles like they mean something. Are you writing this down?

Don't overreach. Keep it close to home …

Even though Strikeforce is competing for a share of the same market as the UFC, there's still no reason for anybody involved with the company to say that out loud. Both EliteXC and Affliction tried to take the battle straight to Dana White and Co., and both entities ended up looking like chumps because of it. It should be a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race type philosophy for Strikeforce in 2010. Keep plugging along, keep putting on good shows and say nice things about White and the Fertittas any time anybody asks.

That approach will keep fans from expecting too much. You want people to continue to be a little bit surprised at how good your shows are; you don't want them to start thinking you're overhyped.

Oh, and feel free to spend the year putting on quality shows at the HP Pavilion. The California crowd loves you and it will likely keep operating costs down. Let the UFC spend its money traveling to B-list markets like Germany, Australia and Memphis. Think globally, act locally, Strikeforce.

Hang that April show on Hendo vs. Shields …

The middleweight division is the best thing going in Strikeforce right now, so the company would be wise to promote it as such. Since neither Emelianenko nor Werdum speaks English, let Henderson and Jake Shields do the bulk of the promotion for the second CBS broadcast in April.

And why not put a 185-pound No. 1 contender bout on that card as well? Jacare vs. Scott Smith or Robbie Lawler, perhaps. Let the victor get in the ring and challenge the winner of Henderson vs. Shields for an end-of-the-summer scrap. If you're paying them, you've got to start building some excitement around these guys. Speaking of which …

Make Bobby Lashley, Lawal, Souza and Mousasi into stars …

In "King Mo" Lawal, you have perhaps the best prospect in all of MMA. The guy can fight at three weight classes, is brash and outspoken and brings a nearly peerless wrestling background to the cage. If you don't give him a title fight during 2010, at least start the ball rolling on the notion that he's the heir apparent in whichever division needs him most.

While Lashley's notoriety doesn't rival that of a Brock Lesnar, he is a heavyweight up-and-comer who's already gotten some exposure from the WWE. If he can get a couple of (reasonably exciting) wins in the Strikeforce cage, it'll give the heavyweight division some much-needed depth.

Meanwhile, Mousasi and Souza may well hold the key to the hardcore demographic. Both have established themselves as threats in their weight classes and a couple more impressive wins will get the message boards chattering about "dream match-ups" with Anderson Silva or Lyoto Machida. Let the keyboard warriors say it, so you don’t have to …

Cultivate some young talent …

Tyron Woodley is knocking on the door at welterweight and the company has a great launching pad for its stars in its "Challengers" series. The trick is to start shuttling some of those guys onto the main cards of bigger shows. Don't hide them from the fans, as the company did through much of 2009.

Figure out what to do with Herschel Walker …

Say what you want about Walker, but he's going to bring with him some attention from the mass media and that's just what Strikeforce needs to clue the general public in to the fact that there are other MMA promotions in the world besides the UFC. The trouble is, Walker is already getting up there in years and there's no telling how talented or dedicated he'll be in our sport.

Hey, here's a crazy idea … and I'm just thinking out loud here … but what would happen if Walker got a couple of wins under his belt in Strikeforce … and then got booked … to fight Fedor … on CBS … in October?

Does that sound like something you'd be interested in, ESPN?

I looked around the forums, but couldn't find a specific topic dedicated to how we can improve MMA as a sport or how to organizations like the UFC, Strikeforce, DREAM, etc. can improve. They may never see this topic or take the suggestions, but this kind of discussion is still good to have.

Personally, I think Strikeforce is headed in the right direction, although I think it's terrible that they put Mariusz up for the WW belt when Jay Hieron has been waiting forEVER for his title shot. Guy just can't catch a break at all.