The Strikeforca Heavyweight Grand Prix kicks off in just a little under three weeks and will continue over the course of this year, which will feature all of the promotion’s biggest heavyweight stars. Among them will be Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem, however Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker recently stated that Overeem’s title would not be at stake.
“There was some confusion on the rules and regulations so I just wanted to clarify,” said Coker. “All quarterfinal and semifinal matches will be scheduled for three, five-minute rounds and the tournament final will be five, five-minute rounds for the STRIKEFORCE World Grand Prix Championship. Any fight that ends in a draw, an independent fourth judge will determine the winner and who advances based on the fighters overall performance in the fight.
“If a fighter qualifies to advance in the tournament but for whatever reason cannot continue to fight in the tournament, we are forming a five-person tournament review committee who will select a fighter to advance in his place. This fighter will come from a pool of fighters which will include previous opponents and winners of reserve matches.”
Coker went on to note that in addition to the winner being crowned the STRIKEFORCE World Grand Prix Champion, he would also be the number one contender for the Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship, unless of course, the winner is Overeem.
“The winner of the final match will be crowned STRIKEFORCE World Grand Prix Champion and will have the opportunity to fight for the STRIKEFORCE World Championship belt at that time,” said Coker. “If Overeem wins, he’s not just the best MMA or K-1 fighter, he can say he’s the greatest martial arts fighter in the world.”
The heavyweight tournament’s opening round will feature match ups between Overeem and Fabricio Werdum, Fedor Emelianenko and Antonio Silva, Josh Barnett and Brett Rogers as well as Andrei Arlovski and Sergei Kharitonov and kicks off on February 12th.