Scott Coker file photo | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker expects his company to take a major step forward this year.
“I believe by the end of this year, we will be in the pay-per-view business,” he said Wednesday on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show.
The recently announced eight-man heavyweight tournament has a role in Coker’s strategy to hit pay-per-view. Showtime regularly airs the promotion’s cards, and two Strikeforce events have also been shown on CBS. Coker said the first round of the heavyweight tournament will air on Showtime, but he’s keeping his options open for the semifinals and finals.
“I think that the goal with this tournament is to eventually work its way into the pay-per-view business,” Coker said.
The field was announced earlier this week after Strikeforce had re-signed Fedor Emelianenko following a lengthy renegotiation.
“That’s why this thing happened so fast. The ink was still drying on Fedor’s contract, and we had to activate within 24 hours,” Coker said. “It was a very stressful 24 hours and then we launched just because as you know, sometimes in mixed martial arts, the word starts leaking out and then some of the facts get wrong and then there’s some backtracking. We just felt that we had to launch [the tournament] now. I wish I would have had another two or three months to ramp it up, but Fedor signed and we had to go.”
In addition to Fedor and opponent Antonio Silva, the tournament includes Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Josh Barnett, Brett Rogers, Andrei Arlovski and Sergei Kharitonov.
“For us to deliver all of the guys and have everybody committed, this could be a historical time in mixed martial arts. I think this tournament is going to be something that people remember for a long time,” Coker said. “This will be the defining moment, I think, for our company. I think that it is going to let people know that Strikeforce is here to stay. This tournament’s going to kick ass. We’re going to prove that this is a mixed martial arts industry and not just a league industry.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 54:18) with Coker, who discussed the tournament in-depth.