Morning Report: Saluting the final few days of Strikeforce

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Maybe you're drinking your morning coffee right now. Maybe you're discreetly perusing the web underneath an Excel spreadsheet. Hell, maybe it's already dark outside and the hard part of your day is long gone. Regardless, by the time you're reading this, for intents and purposes, Strikeforce will have less than seven days to live.

It's bizarre to think about, even if this day has been coming for the better part of a year. But still, it's difficult to say the California promotion's seven-year run has been anything less than a success. Indulge me for a second, take a look back at Strikeforce's inaugural show. Go ahead, I'll wait. Now look at that list of names. Melendez, Diaz, Le, Guida, Thomson, Ebersole, Soszynski, Kyle, Shamrock, Gracie. That's about as solid of a debut lineup as you can ask for from a regional promotion.

Now think back on some of colossal names Strikeforce has either featured or cultivated over the last half-decade -- Emelianenko, Overeem, Henderson, Diaz, Cormier, Carano, Rousey, just to name a few -- and it's hard to argue against Scott Coker's baby being anything less than the No. 1 second-fiddle in MMA during the post-Pride era.

Maybe this day was inevitable once Zuffa pushed it's way into the picture (it was), and maybe it'll be for the better in the long run (we'll see), but until then, let's just enjoy the last few days we have left with an old friend. I'll be throwing classic Strikeforce fights into the Morning Report all week, so if there's any fights in particular you guys would like to see, just let me know in the comments.

But in the meantime, let's get to some headlines.

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6 MUST-READ STORIES

Esparza takes Invicta title. Two-time All-American Carla Esparza outwrestled Bec Hyatt to capture the inaugural Invicta strawweight title in the main event of Invicta FC 4. Check out full video of the event here.

Henderson: Sonnen fight 'quite possible.' Speaking with Tatame, Dan Henderson said of his longtime friend and training partner Chael Sonnen, "We're friends, but above all we fight now in the same category and therefore have the same goal. We both compete for the same belt." Henderson went on to explain a bout between the two would be "quite possible" if the division pecking order called for it.

Goldberg responds to rumors. UFC play-by-play commentator Mike Goldberg denied internet rumors regarding his absence from the broadcast booth at UFC 155. Goldberg said he was dealing with a "complicated health issue," but has been feeling better in recent days and hopes to return for UFC on FOX 6.

Rousey-Carmouche goes 'Primetime.' UFC newcomers Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche are slated to receive the UFC Primetime treatment ahead of their historic title bout at UFC 157. The opening episode of the three-part series debuts on February 8, 2013, at 12 p.m. ET on FUEL TV.

Jacare signs extension. Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza inked a new five-fight contract with Forza LLC, a subsidiary of Zuffa LLC. Souza is expected to fight UFC veteran Ed Herman at Strikeforce's final show.

UFC 155 drug test results. All 24 fighters to compete at UFC 155 passed post-fight drug screenings, according to Nevada State Athletic Commission director Keith Kizer.

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MEDIA STEW

Today's Strikeforce rewind: a bitter memory for some, a gleeful memory for others. Dan Henderson moves up to heavyweight (kind of) to challenge former Pride legend Fedor Emelianenko.

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Pat Barry is an unabashedly animated guy. So yeah, this is pretty much how we expected Pat Barry would be cornering his girlfriend.

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More Prebek, more Diaz Brothers; what more needs to be said?

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And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you should always touch gloves.

(HT: Reddit)

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Charles Sanders used Ultimate Armbar Defense! It wasn't very effective...

(HT: MiddleEasy)

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"They're gonna love you, they're gonna hate you." - Josh Rosenthal, with the most apt description of his job possible.

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Now this is pretty cool. MMA Fighting reader Kyle Haase sent in this collage comprised of 65 separate drawings, featuring "nearly every prominent MMA fighter of the last 6 years." It took him almost 18 months to complete it, and you can check out the full-sized piece here.

Mma_collage_medium

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MAKING AMENDS

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LOOKING SLIM

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TUF WINNER VS. TUF WINNER

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OLD-SCHOOL ANDERSON

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STILL GOING, BUT WHO'S LISTENING

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GOOD CALL

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GETTIN' THERE

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced over the weekend (Friday, January 4, 2013 - Sunday, January 6, 2013):

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day sees Steve Borchardt review: 2012: The Year in Drugs

List of UFC and Strikeforce Fighters Issued Drug Suspensions in 2012 (With TUE's For TRT included in italics)

1. Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos suspended one year following a positive test result for the steroid stanozolol following a December 17th, 2011 win over Hiroko Yamanaka at "Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal." (Test result announced 1/6/12)

2. Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal suspended one year following a positive test result for the steroid drostanolone following a January 7th win over Lorenz Larkin at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine." (Test result announced 1/17/12)

3. Nick Diaz suspended one year following a positive test result for marijuana following a February 4th loss to Carlos Condit at UFC 143. (Test result announced 2/9/12)

4. Quinton Rampage Jackson issued a therapeutic use exemption for testosterone replacement therapy prior to his UFC 144 loss to Ryan Bader on February 26th.

5. Alistair Overeem suspended for nine months after failing a random pre-fight PED screening with an elevated testosterone to epitestosterone ratio of 14 to 1 after a press conference for his scheduled UFC 146 main event with heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos. (Test result announced 4/4/12)

6. Frank Mir granted a therapeutic use exemption for testosterone replacement therapy prior to his May 26th loss to Junior dos Santos at UFC 146.

7. Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante suspended one year following a positive test result for the steroid stanozolol following his May 19th win over Mike Kyle at the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Finale. (Test result announced 6/18/12)

8. Forrest Griffin granted a therapeutic use exemption for testosterone replacement therapy prior to his July 7th win over Tito Ortiz at UFC 148.

9. Chael Sonnen granted a therapeutic use exemption for testosterone replacement therapy prior to his July 7th loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 148.

10. Jake Shields is suspended six months after testing positive for an undisclosed banned substance following his August 11th win over Ed Herman at UFC 150. (Test result announced 10/12/12)

11. Matt Riddle is suspended 90 days after testing positive for marijuana after his July 21st victory over Chris Clements at UFC 149. (Test result announced 10/18/12)

12. Francisco Rivera is suspended 90 days after testing positive for an unidentified over the counter stimulant following his July 21st victory over Roland Delorme at UFC 149. (Test result announced 10/18/12)

13. Stephan Bonnar is suspended one year following a positive test result for the anabolic steroid drostanolone following his October 13th loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 153. (Test result announced 11/2/12)

14. Dave Herman is suspended six months following his his October 13th loss to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 153. (Test result announced 11/2/12)

15. Thiago Silva is suspended six months following his November 10th victory over Stanislav Nedkov at UFC on FUEL TV 6. (Test result announced 11/21/12)

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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