Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker
said the promotion will have beefed-up security for its Saturday main event rematch between Nick Diaz
and KJ Noons
Coker told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of "The MMA Hour" that because of the heated nature of the rivalry between Diaz, the Strikeforce welterweight champion, and Noons, the last man to beat him, the promotion was taking no chances.
"I'll tell you what – if we leave those two guys in a room alone, I think you know what's going to happen," Coker said. "So it's up to us – we're going to have a wall of security there. We've brought extra police to handle the weigh-ins, the press conference and pretty much a wall of people will be there for the night of the fight. We have to take precautionary measures because these guys have this big feud – and it's not just them, it's their camps. We're going to make sure that we host it properly, and part of that is adding extra security and police officers, and it'll be fine."
The two square off at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Noons II on Saturday at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. The main card will air live on Showtime.
In their first meeting, in the now-defunct EliteXC promotion, a knee from Noons opened up a cut on Diaz's forehead that would eventually cause the ringside doctor to stop the fight, giving a TKO victory to Noons.
Diaz (22-7, 1 NC) sought a rematch with Noons (10-2) several times after that, and though an infamous in-cage fracas broke out between the two camps at an EliteXC event in Noons' native Hawaii, the rematch didn't materialize until six weeks ago.
Diaz and his brother, UFC fighter Nate Diaz, were involved in another in-cage brawl after Jake Shields' win over Dan Henderson at Strikeforce: Nashville in April after Jason Miller came into the cage during Shields' post-fight interview.
Long considered one of MMA's more rebellious fighters, Diaz last week skipped a media call with Noons to promote the fight. Coker said that's the nature of the beast when dealing with his welterweight champ.
"It's a little frustrating because this is not just good for us, it's good for Nick," Coker said. "But Nick is Nick, and it's part of the mystique about him – he's the bad boy of MMA. It is what it is, and in the future maybe we'll handle it a little bit differently."
Diaz has won seven straight since the loss to Noons nearly three years ago – all by stoppage with five TKOs and two submissions. In January, he won the vacant Strikeforce welterweight belt with a first-round TKO over Marius Zaromskis. The bout with Noons will be his first defense of the title. In May, at DREAM.14, he submitted Hayato Sakurai in the first round.
Noons is riding a six-fight winning streak and is 3-0 in 2010, 2-0 in Strikeforce. In August, he knocked out Jorge Gurgel early in the second round in Houston in a bout that was controversial for a late hit from Noons after the first-round bell.
That win set up the title fight with Diaz, though some observers thought Diaz would defend his title against Jason "Mayhem" Miller, who had been campaigning for the fight. But Coker said Noons desire to move back to 170 pounds from 155 played a factor in the matchup decision.
"When the fight (against Gurgel) was over in Houston, KJ told (Strikeforce matchmaker) Rich (Chou) and Bob (Cook) and myself, 'I had a really hard time making 155 and I'd really like to move up and take this fight,' " Coker said. "And we just thought this was a fight that should happen. And they have such a history and bad blood, this fight should take place. So we put it together and we feel good about it, and on Saturday I think you're going to see fireworks."
Saturday's card also features a women's welterweight title fight between champion Sarah Kaufman and Marloes Coenen and the Strikeforce debut of Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante against Josh Thomson. The promotion also has Challengers shows on Oct. 22 and Nov. 19, and a Showtime event on Dec. 4 in St. Louis featuring Dan Henderson against Renato "Babalu" Sobral and the debut of Paul Daley against Scott Smith.
But Coker also said some of its biggest names in the promotion were on the radar for the early part of 2011 – including Josh Barnett, Andrei Arlovski, heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem and Fedor Emelianenko.
"You can look forward to having Fedor come back in the first quarter of 2011," Coker said. "(His opponent) is something I'll be able to answer in two weeks. We have a couple opponents in mind, and I'd like to finish that conversation with M-1 before we say anything."