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Them’s fighting words

Here’s Scott Coker’s Tuesday thoughts on whether Strikeforce and the UFC are ‘at war':

“Why would one fighter create a war?” asked Coker, after announcing Monday that he’d secured the services of the most sought-after fighter in the sport for three fights over one year. “I don’t think this will escalate like the fans like to gossip (it will).”

Now here’s some selected Dana White quotes from the UFC 101 press conference yesterday:

“They should have stayed the way they were,” White said of the move, apparently seeing the signing of Fedor as Strikeforce’s attempt to compete with the UFC.

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker has downplayed a UFC-Strikeforce rivalry. Whether he wants to fight with the UFC or not, however, White is swinging. At one point White referred to the promotion as “Strikefarce.” The UFC president also said Thursday that Strikeforce signing Fedor was a major mistake.

“He’ll put them out of business,” White said. “They have no money. These guys have no money and they have no distribution. Four f—king people watch Showtime.”

White wouldn’t say specifically what a battle with Strikeforce could include, be it counter-programming or otherwise, but he issued several warnings.

“We’ll see what happens,” White said. “If they want to fight me, we’re gonna fight. We know how that goes, and we know how it ends.” ”

And now Thursday Coker concedes that the UFC might be out to get him:

“Under the current circumstances, is anybody surprised?” asked Coker. “I don’t think so.”

It’s always interesting to see how different MMA promotion heads deal with Dana White’s constant verbal barbs. Tom Atencio’s Mr Nice Guy routine (followed strangely enough by Atencio calling White out) didn’t work very well. Todd Beard tried to out-Dana the Dana and died by the sword. So how should Coker handle the entire situation?