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Alistair Overeem: Strikeforce Grand Prix Heavyweight Title Update

By Sean Farrell

Strikeforce has announced the rules for the upcoming heavyweight grand prix, although it was previously stated Alistair Overeem will be defending his title and it will travel with or without him to the finals is no longer the case.

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker clarified and addressed the many questions surrounding the first Strikeforce GP. First off Overeem’s world title is no longer up for grabs seeing how every fight isn’t a five round affair, only the GP final will be.

Strikeforce has announced a new heavyweight GP title that will be given to the winner, leaving Overeem the chance to hold 4 out of the now 5 World Championships.

“All quarterfinal and semifinal matches will be scheduled for three, five-minute rounds,” Coker said. “The tournament final will be five, five-minute rounds for the Strikeforce world grand prix championship.”

The grand prix is set up as an eight-man, multi-event, single-elimination tournament, draws could become common along the way. In address to that, Coker said a fourth judge will be on hand each fight to determine which fighter advances in the event of a draw.

“If any fight results in a draw, an independent fourth judge will determine who advances or who wins based on the fighter’s overall performance in the fight,” Coker said. “We will have a fourth judge on hand scoring the fight independently of the three that we normally have.”

The final question in terms of the tournament format involves injuries to the eight competitors. Should a winner suffer a serious issue, who would continue on in their place?

“If a fighter qualifies to advance in the tournament but for any reason can not advance, we’re forming a five-person tournament-review committee who will select a fighter to advance in his place,” Coker said. “This fighter will be chosen from a pool of fighters that will include the previous opponent and the winners of reserve matches.”

Coker said the review committee will be headed by Strikeforce rules director Cory Schafer. While the final regulations for the grand prix represent a shift from the rule set originally expected to oversee the grand prix, Coker said his goal was simplicity.

“In this tournament, everybody has to climb the same mountain,” Coker said. “To make it simple, just like they do in Japan, … the tournament champion will stand on his own. We’ll have our heavyweight champion and a tournament champion.”

With this grand prix and the UFC’s struggling heavyweight division at the moment, Strikeforce may have forced the UFC into a position of needing an event to top this one seeing how Strikeforce has made a new championship this can only mean that this will NOT be the last time Strikeforce hold’s a heavyweight grand prix.

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