Strikeforce lays out the format of the upcoming Heavyweight World Grand Prix tournament
The tournament, which begins on Feb. 12 at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J. and plays out over several events, will consist of three, five-minute round fights until the finals which will be a five, five-minute round title bout.
“All quarterfinal and semifinal matches will be scheduled for three, five-minute rounds. The tournament final will be five, five-minute rounds for the Strikeforce World Grand Prix Championship,” explained Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker on a conference call Thursday.
To eliminate the possibility of fights resulting in a draw, a fourth judge on hand will decide the winner.
“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,” said Coker. “We will have a fourth judge on hand scoring the fight independent of the other three that we normally have.”
The biggest concern in a tournament format is injuries, and Strikeforce has put together a committee that will decide who will replace the injured participant in the tournament brackets.
“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,” said Coker. “This fighter will be chosen from a pool of fighters that will include the previous opponent and the winners of reserve matches.”
The tournament review committee will be headed by Strikeforce rules committee director Cory Schafer.
Strikeforce heavyweight titleholder Alistair Overeem’s belt will not be on the line. If Overeem wins the eight-man single elimination tournament, he’ll be crowned the Strikeforce World Grand Prix Champion, a separate title much like the tournaments in Japan.
“The tournament champion will stand on his own and we will have our heavyweight champion and then the tournament champion,” said Coker.
The winner of the tournament, if it’s not Overeem, will earn a shot at the Strikeforce heavyweight title held by Overeem.
“The winner of the final match will be crowned Strikeforce World Grand Prix Champion and he’ll receive an opportunity to fight for the Strikeforce heavyweight belt at that time,” said the Strikeforce CEO.
Participating in the tournament are Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio Silva, Andrei Arlovski, Josh Barnett, Sergei Kharitonov and Brett Rogers.
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