For an event billed as “champions,” Strikeforce sure seems to be having a hard time of keeping their remaining champs on the card. With Gilbert Melendez already off the card due to injury, it must be quite a blow to have another champion off the card with Luke Rockhold’s wrist injury. Now the card is down to only one champion with Nate Marquardt still defending his title against Tarec Saffiedine. Who knows if this turn of events could lead to the event cancellation like the previous two Strikeforce events.
This is the second time Luke Rockhold has had to pull out of a proposed title match with Lorenz Larkin. Jacare Souza has also opined for a title shot, and it could be logical for the promotion to match up Souza with Larkin to at least make an interesting bout on the car. Souza is coming off a win over Derek Brunson while Larkin earned his title shot with a decision win over veteran fighter Robbie Lawler.
Here’s what Larken’s manager had to say on the pull-out.
“The bottom line is that now this is the second time he’s pulled out. We’ve been in camp; we’ve been prepared for both fights. At this point we’re highly frustrated. We were prepared to fight Luke Rockhold for the title regardless of what’s going to happen with Strikeforce after January 12th. We’ve been prepared both times and this is just totally unprofessional.”
“If you receive a bout agreement and can’t fight you should say something right away. He’s putting a lot of pressure on matchmakers because they’re trying to put on this final card. What are you doing to Zuffa when you’re pulling out and they’re spending weeks on promoting the fight? Now they have to find a replacement fight and he needs to fight. When you think about it he hasn’t fought in six months. So it’s not only about fighting for a title but also from a financial stand point. It’s frustrating. You signed to fight; you signed a bout agreement so let’s fight.”
The rumor is that the January event was supposed to be the last Strikeforce event, and it is completely possible to see with this once stacked card slowly whittling away all of its star power. This shows one of the main faults with the Strikeforce brand – when one (or two) of the big stars is out of the fight, they do not have the talent on their roster to patch the card. Unlike the UFC, where someone can drop out of the card, and they can at least put together an entertaining bout like Anderson Silva against Stephan Bonnar which can draw viewers.