Scott Coker: Women's Title Fights, TournamentAs 145-pound champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos prepares for her next title defence in late June, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker once again discussed his company’s plans for additional women’s title fights and a tournament in an exclusive interview today with

Confirming that plans for a 145-pound women’s tournament have been put aside for now, Coker set a timetable for the 135-pound bracket, which will go ahead as planned. The tournament will begin “no later than August 15th” and will determine a title challenger in the developing 135-pound division.

Santos will defend her Strikeforce Women’s Middleweight (145-Pound) Championship against Jan “Cuddles” Finney on June 26th and Coker confirmed that Strikeforce had taken the initial steps to make it happen. “We approached [Finney], but with the promotion [Freestyle Cage Fighting, where Finney was scheduled to compete on June 12th], we didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes. They were very gracious in working with us and allowing Jan to come over here and fight on our show.” As expected, the winner of the Cyborg-Finney matchup will most likely face Erin Toughill, according to Coker.

Looking ahead at the 145-pound ranks, Coker was “absolutely” open to a potential contender’s bout between undefeated rising stars Cindy “Battlecat” Dandois and Shana “Rock Solid” Olsen if the opportunity presented itself. Both Dandois and Olsen have fights scheduled in the coming weeks and wins could place them one step closer to Strikeforce title contention. Coker previously stated that he would like for Dandois to have at least two or three more fights before taking on Santos for the title.

As first addressed earlier this month, Coker once again stated that a 145-pound women’s tournament was no longer in the promotion’s immediate plans. “The tournament’s going to be at 135. We’re going to do a 135-pound tournament and we’ll follow up on the 145-pound weight class after that,” Coker said.

Recent reports that Dandois would be part of a tournament at 145 pounds are false, as Coker added that “[Dandois] won’t be in a tournament. She’ll fight in single matches.” As well, Coker confirmed that former title challenger Marloes Coenen will not be competing on the June 26th Strikeforce card. “We had talked about her coming to fight here, but it’s not going to work out. Maybe she has a fight in Europe, but we did not have one for her here.”

While plans for a 145-pound tournament have been put aside, 135 pounds remains a priority for development in Strikeforce and Coker states that the 135-pound women’s tournament is a go and will begin “no later than August 15th.” The tournament had been crafted to determine the next challenger for Strikeforce Women’s Welterweight (135-Pound) Champion Sarah Kaufman, but Kaufman’s belt may be at stake in the interim.

Following her victory over pound-for-pound standout Tara LaRosa on Friday, Strikeforce competitor Roxanne Modafferi may have secured herself a long-awaited title shot. “Yeah, absolutely,” said Coker, “[Roxanne] and Sarah would be a fight that we’d be interested in putting together.” He further confirmed that the fight would be for Kaufman’s title and that Modafferi had earned the opportunity after beating one of the top female fighters in the sport in LaRosa.

Strikeforce aims to hold a major Showtime event in August, while a return to CBS, if scheduled by the network, would take place later in the Fall. Kaufman is tentatively scheduled to make the first defence of her newly-won title on July 24th.


(Photo Credit: Esther Lin, Strikeforce)

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