April Strikeforce Event No Longer Targeted For JapanAn April 9th Strikeforce event featuring two quarterfinals in the promotion’s eight-man heavyweight grand prix is no longer targeted for Japan. A source close to the promotion confirmed to MMARising.com today that plans to hold the event in Japan have been scrapped, and a U.S. location is likely.

Earlier reports suggested that the promotion may travel to the Land of the Rising Sun for the April event after Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker expressed interest in featuring heavyweight tournament bouts in Japan and Canada. With plans now changed, the promotion will remain in the United States.

Following last Saturday’s successful Strikeforce: “Diaz vs Cyborg” event at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California, multiple reports hinted at the possibility of an imminent deal between Strikeforce and Real Entertainment that could bring Strikeforce to Japan for the second leg of its heavyweight tournament. Coker met with Real Entertainment’s Sotaro Shinoda in the hours after the event.

However, MMARising.com has learned that Strikeforce will no longer pursue plans to hold the April event outside of the United States, and a search is reportedly underway for a replacement venue. It is currently unknown which U.S. states are frontrunners to house the event.

Strikeforce partner M-1 Global has expressed a desire to use strict Olympic-style drug testing for fights in the heavyweight tournament, and drug testing of some sort was expected to be carried out even in the event that Strikeforce had travelled to Japan; a country which does not typically test for steroids and similar banned substances.

Of note, two participants on the April 9th card – Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair “Demolition Man” Overeem and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Josh “The Babyfaced Assassin” Barnett – have been subjects of speculation in recent years surrounding alleged steroid use, though only Barnett has ever tested positive (on three separate occasions).

At issue is the fact that Barnett is currently without a fighter’s licence in the United States following a third positive test for steroids in 2009 prior to a planned bout with fellow tournament participant Fedor Emelianenko. Barnett recently withdrew an application for a licence in the state of California, and his status with the state could affect his ability to obtain a licence elsewhere in the country.

ESPN’s Josh Gross previously reported that states such as Nevada, New Jersey and Ohio would be unlikely to license Barnett until he is able to work out his issues with the California State Athletic Commission and becomes relicensed in that state. Gross further noted, however, that states such as Texas and Georgia may license Barnett regardless of his standing in California.

Overeem, meanwhile, has been a target of Internet gossip from fans and media who have remarked at the drastic changes in his physique over the past three years. The former light heavyweight is now one of the largest and strongest heavyweights in mixed martial arts and recently won the K-1 Heavyweight Grand Prix kickboxing tournament in Japan. Despite facing criticisms from Emelianenko’s M-1 Global management group, Overeem has never tested positive for banned substances.

With Japan now out of the equation, Strikeforce will be required to find a state that will license Barnett for his fight with former Strikeforce title challenger Brett “The Grim” Rogers. Overeem will square off with recent upset king Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum in the night’s main event. Werdum submitted Overeem when the pair first fought in May of 2006 for Pride Fighting Championships.

Strikeforce: “Overeem vs Werdum” takes place on April 9th at an undetermined venue in the United States. In addition to the two heavyweight tournament bouts, Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert “El Niño” Melendez is rumoured to be facing Japanese star Tatsuya “Crusher” Kawajiri on the event’s main card, which will air on Showtime and Super Channel.


  1. […] April Strikeforce Event No Longer Targeted For Japan | MMARising.com Strikeforce did want to go to Japan for the April 9th event, but I'm told now that it is "definitely not" happening in Japan and that it is almost certainly going to be held somewhere in the United States. […]

  2. […] should take everything with a grain of salt though 'till there's an official announcement. April Strikeforce Event No Longer Targeted For Japan | MMARising.com __________________ Supporting: Aldo, Anderson, Aoki, Barnett, Barry, Condit, Daley, Freire, […]

  3. I’m glad that they are deciding to take the sport a little more seriously with the Olympic style testing for fights… we don’t want it turning in to the late 90’s/early 2000’s baseball saga where guys were jacking the balls 500ft – instead guys will be ripping each others heads off and eating them for breakfast

  4. […] should take everything with a grain of salt though 'till there's an official announcement. April Strikeforce Event No Longer Targeted For Japan | MMARising.com Hopefully this turns out to be true. Strikeforce doesn't need to worry about Japan right now […]

  5. Awful news.

  6. […] for many weeks as Strikeforce looked for a new venue in the United States after the Japan plans fell through. With the San Diego venue now secured, the promotion will feature a double-bill of title fights. […]