(MMA Junkie) by John Morgan
At Saturday night’s “Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz” post-event press conference, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said he hopes to arrange a bout between former EliteXC stars Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos (7-1) and Gina Carano (7-0) by that date.
And when the two finally step into the cage, it will be for the organization’s first female title.
“That’s going to be the No. 1 and the No. 2 female fighting in the world,” Coker said. “It will be our first Strikeforce female title belt. We’re going to be proud to put that on, and hopefully we can put that on in August.
“That’s our date we’re shooting for, and pending some discussion with either fighter it could go further. But at some point we will have this fight. I feel very confident.”
While Santos earned a third-round TKO over an undersized Hitomi Akano at Saturday night’s event from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., Carano has yet to finalize her contract with Strikeforce. Coker said he felt confident the paperwork would be completed in the near future.
“We’re currently negotiating the final touches of this contract,” Coker said. “Hopefully we’ll get it to bed here in the next two weeks or a week. I think we’re very close.
“We look forward to having Gina back, and I think that Showtime and CBS did a fantastic job of teeing up this fight so that it’s a relevant fight in the sport. I feel like we’re the ones that are lucky enough to get to promote it.”
Carano previously fought for Strikeforce in 2006 before signing with EliteXC.
Coker said that if the bout was arranged by his desired August date it would be broadcast on Showtime. But with a potential CBS debut looming in the fall, Coker did not rule out a potential network home for the contest.
“I think the timing of that is going to be up to how fast we get that together,” Coker said. “If we can put this fight together in August, it will be on Showtime. We might even do it here. I would love to bring that fight here to San Jose. Or maybe we take it to the East Coast or down to Los Angeles.
“But that fight is a fight that I think fans around the country would want to see. I think it’s going to be a fight of epic proportions. It’s been built up. It’s been teed up real nice. It should happen. It’s one of those fights that should happen, and we’re going to do our best to make it happen very soon.”
While Carano and Santos have been on a collision course since the two were starring in EliteXC, they have each also found themselves atop WAMMA’s initial female rankings at 145 pounds. And while the Strikeforce exec did not rule out the possibility of Carano and Santos holding down main-event status, Coker said he wasn’t sure if that meant he would be willing to allow the pair to fight for a WAMMA belt as well.