Nick Diaz (right): Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Strikeforce is moving forward with plans to launch an eight-man, two-night middleweight tournament at a Showtime-televised event in October, said CEO Scott Coker on Wednesday.
Coker said recent reports that the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation had rejected Strikeforce’s request to hold a four-man tournament on Aug. 21 -- thus forcing the promotion to move to a single championship bout -- weren’t correct.
As reported by Sherdog.com throughout June, Coker said the promotion always had its eye on hosting both a championship bout and a tournament from the start.
“We always felt that crowning a champion would be the first priority,” said Coker. “We will host a tournament in October. It looks like the first round will take place then, which will lead to the final four in December.”
Coker said the promotion has initial plans to run the semi-finals and finals in one evening this December.
California is a possibility for one or both events, said Coker; the California State Athletic Commission regulated a four-man, one-night tournament with Strikeforce in 2007.
In Texas, Coker said he only inquired about the tournament format with the commission, but was told it wouldn’t be allowed.
“They told me the reason they had stopped (allowing) tournaments was because of the Toughman contests,” said Coker.
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Tim Kennedy with vie for the middleweight title recently vacated by UFC-bound fighter Jake Shields at Strikeforce “Explosion” on Aug. 21 at the Toyota Center in Houston.
Former EliteXC champion Robbie Lawler, Melvin Manhoef, Kazuo Misaki, Luke Rockhold, Jason “Mayhem” Miller and Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz are among those being considered for the eight-man tournament.