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The next Strikeforce WW shot goes to … Sakurai?

What’s next for Jay Hieron? Probably not a title shot. And maybe not even another fight with Strikeforce! Here’s what Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker was pushing for Nick Diaz’s first title defense:

Nick Diaz vs. Hayoto Sakurai: Most people thought Jay Hieron earned a shot at the welterweight title by defeating Joe Riggs, but Coker said it’s more likely that Sakurai will be the challenger in Diaz’s first title defense. Sakurai fights for Dream, and Coker said Strikeforce’s co-promotional arrangement with Dream ensures that “I could get it done.” Hieron’s win over Riggs was the last fight on his Strikeforce contract, and it’s not clear whether Hieron will return to the promotion.

Jay was still talking about a Strikeforce title shot as recently as right after his fight with Joe Riggs, so I wonder if this ‘not clear’ thing has to do with something Scott Coker said or just the obvious realization that once Jay hears he’s probably getting the title shot shaft again, he might not bend over and take it anymore.

In other fun Hieron related news, Nick Diaz has started refering to him as an undercard fighter:

“I’d rather fight someone that’s a little more important than Jay Hieron,” Diaz said. “His fight wasn’t even on the main card. Why am I going to fight him when no one saw [his fight]? I don’t even know who he is.”

Which must piss Hieron off since Diaz is the reason he got stuck on the undercard in the first place. But it is true: no one has seen Hieron’s fights. Not only has Strikeforce been stubbornly unwilling to put Hieron’s last win against Jesse Taylor online, but EA’s attempt to stream Riggs/Hieron on ended in total failure. It’s not like shit like this isn’t par for the course with Hieron. The fight before the Taylor one was his Affliction fight against Jason High, which got shunted to after the main event and only got shown on HDNet’s Inside MMA.

So Hieron’s got that disadvantage hanging over him, plus the fact that his two Strikeforce fights were not the kind of affairs that had people using words like ‘exciting’, ‘explosive’, and ‘impressive’. Still, it blows me away that Scott Coker is gunning for Mach Sakurai instead, a guy who’s lost his last two fights – one of those a starching from Zaromskis, for gods sake and the other because Mach looked like he was just there for a paycheck.

Zaromskis at least held the DREAM welterweight belt. But ignoring Hieron again and going for another DREAM fighter doesn’t just send a message to Jay, it sends a message to us all that Strikeforce is more interested in promoting another organization’s fighters than it’s own. What does that say about their roster? Not much that we haven’t already figured out ourselves, I suppose.