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Strikeforce Notebook:

Despite nonstop frustrations, Hieron leaves San Jose somewhat happy

Coker talks future of women’s MMA and Fedor’s next foe


Esther Lin/Strikeforce

Fabricio Werdum made quick work of Mike Kyle Saturday night in San Jose. But will the win move Brazilian to the front of the line for Fedor?

Strikeforce: Carano-Cyborg

Cris Launch slideshow »

Jay Hieron tried to put on a happy face and say all the right things in the last few weeks leading up to his fight in Affliction.

Wait a minute, make that his championship showdown with Nick Diaz in Strikeforce.

Err … strike two. OK so Hieron was as happy as could be for his non-televised, undercard bout with Jesse Taylor on Saturday’s Strikeforce show at HP Pavilion in San Jose.

“I was lying to myself, saying it doesn’t bother me,” said Hieron, who initially was supposed to fight Paul Daley on Affliction’s Aug. 1 card.

Josh Barnett didn’t pass his drug test, and, well, you know the rest of the story of what happened with the “T-shirt Company.”

So Hieron, a Xtreme Couture member and former UFC fighter, joined Strikeforce to get a shot at Nick Diaz and the welterweight crown.

But his title shot (as well as higher paycheck and TV exposure) went up in smoke on Monday when Diaz didn’t make it to a mandatory drug test with the same California State Athletic Commission where Barnett struggled.

Five days before he was supposed to fight, Hieron learned he would take on former “The Ultimate Fighter” standout Jesse Taylor.

But wait, it only gets better.

Hieron then his informed he’s been pushed off the Showtime portion of the show. On Friday Taylor fails to make weight on his first time during weigh-ins, before coming back 45 minutes later and two and half pounds lighter.

Heck even mere seconds before the start of his bout, Hieron’s corner is scrambling to the other side of the cage because they were put in the wrong spot.

“It was so frustrating, but I got the job done at the end of the day,” said Hieron, who grinded out a unanimous decision victory over the strong-wrestling Taylor (30-27 on all three judges scorecards) and likely will get a title shot against Diaz in the near future.

“Jay Hieron came here to fight Nick Diaz, so we’ll put that fight together,” Coker said.

Then again, minutes after his victory, Hieron had to correct Strikeforce officials who had written the wrong amount on his paycheck.

“I’m just glad it’s over,” Hieron said shaking his head.

Fedor next?

Allistar Overeem, who was originally supposed to fight on Saturday’s card, is the Strikeforce heavyweight champ but CEO Scott Coker has already went on record that Overeem probably won’t get first dibs at pound-for-pound MMA king Fedor Emelianenko.

But two men inside the HP Pavilion Saturday night just might. Fabrcio Werdum made quick work of Mike Kyle, winning his bout in 1:24.

“Of course I want to fight Fedor because everybody knows Fedor is the best, but if I need to go for the title, then I’ll go for the title,” said Werdum.

The second challenger is newly inked Strikeforce fighter Brett Rogers who watched the action live in San Jose.

Redemption and awe

While Gilbert Melendez had to be most please in retaining his lightweight interim title (and in doing so avenging the first loss he suffered in MMA) against Mitsuhiro Ishida, the 27-year-old said he was blown away by the ladies performance in the main event.

“I think we got a whole lot of people that have never seen MMA in their lives, tune in just to watch the two ladies and I think we got great exposure because of that,” Melendez said.

Not done yet

Coker assured that Saturday’s event was just the beginning of big things to come for female fighters in his organization.

He talked about Showtime agreeing to air a 135- and 145-pound eight-fighter women’s tourney, much the same style as DREAM events in Japan, as early as November. The winner may then fight Santos. Or Coker mentioned Erin Toughill and Marloes Coenen as potential opponents.

Last laugh

It appears the newly crowned queen of MMA had the last laugh not only in the cage, but also at Coker’s expense.

Yahoo’s Dave Meltzer reports that late Friday night Coker got a call from Santos’ camp informing him that when the CSAC was testing ‘Cyborg,’ they discovered she was pregnant.

With the way the rest of the card was falling apart, good thing Santos’ people quickly told the boss man it was just a prank.

Andy Samuelson can be reached at [email protected] or 702-948-7837.

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