On Wednesday, Dana White gave a flat “No” to the idea of Roy Jones Jr stepping into the Octagon to face off against Anderson Silva. And while Cesar Gracie would like you to know that the unstable kid he trains is willing to fight Jones Jr, Strikeforce execs are feeling a similar reluctance:
While Coker appeared to be lukewarm to the idea, his television partner, Showtime Sports SVP and GM, Ken Hershman, made it clear that he wants nothing to do with televising a Roy Jones Jr. MMA match
“I get a Roy Jones call once a week, pitching me things,” Hershman said. “That would be a very, very long shot of ever happening on Showtime.”
Hershman seems to share White’s feelings on the matter, which are that Jones’ involvement in MMA would make a mockery of a sport looking to legitimize itself in the eyes of mainstream sports fans.
“I think it’s an insult to the integrity of mixed martial arts to think Roy Jones, or any professional boxer, can just come in and fight Nick Diaz in a mixed martial arts context,” Hershman added. “In a boxing context, it’s completely different. Beyond that, it’s not the strategy that we’re employing. We’re looking to build the best mixed martial arts brand. I believe that we have the best professional boxing brand on television and I think our fights, month in and month out, prove that. I don’t see the need to combine the two at the moment … I wouldn’t want to go down that path just now.”
I’m glad to hear other execs out there taking a rational attitude towards this kind of thing, even if it’s only because the fight would be a clunky sell. Considering Strikeforce has been home to Bob Sapp and is still looking to coax Kimbo Slice back into the fold, I’m less convinced they’d pass it up if it was something “financially positive that could lend eyes to more legitimate matchups.” Like Cris Cyborg versus some underweight chick who’s already fought twice in two months, perhaps?