Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker has confirmed to Loretta Hunt of Sherdog.com that Strikeforce will indeed hold their own 135-lb and 145-lb eight-woman tournaments and that they will kick off at the promotion’s Challengers event in April.
The tournaments, originally announced to launch at the end of 2009, were postponed into the new year for logistical reasons.
“With the Fedor (Emelianenko) deal, the (Dan) Henderson deal, the EA deal, we just started getting bombarded with these large acquisitions and transactions,” said Coker. “The female tournaments kept getting pushed back, which was fine, because we wanted time to get them right.”
Coker said the tournaments’ quarterfinals and semifinals would be “sprinkled” over a few events.
Coker also stated that # 1 ranked Sarah Kaufman (10-0), an undefeated Canadian striker who’s shined in her two Challengers appearances against Miesha Tate and Shayna Baszler, will not compete in the 135-pound tournament bracket.
“I think we’re going to be promoting Sarah against Takayo Hashi for our (vacant) 135-pound title,” said Coker. “I think that fight’s happening sooner than later — February or March, for sure.” (Strikeforce has Challengers events scheduled for both February 26 and March 26)
Hashi (12-1), a Smackgirl veteran is ranked # 2 and has been victorious in her last eight outings. Her only career loss came to Strikeforce veteran Hitomi Akano at a Smackgirl event back in August 2005.
Coker also indicated that Strikeforce 145-pound champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos and Gina Carano, whom Santos defeated by first-round technical knockout last August in San Jose, CA, will not compete in the tournaments.
It is also speculated that the tournament winners will likely face the promotion’s champions in their next bouts.