This really doesn't seem like the commissions were a problem...
The promotion originally intended for its heavyweight belt to be contested three times during the tournament -- first, in April, when Overeem is scheduled to meet Fabricio Werdum. However, Coker said, to "make it simple" he opted against having the title available or pushing for each tournament stage to feature five-round bouts, which is allowed under the Unified Rules of mixed martial arts.
Regulators in California, Missouri, New Jersey and Tennessee told ESPN.com they would have agreed to five-round, non-title tournament fights, yet Coker laid responsibility for the decision at the feet of states he declined to name.
"There was some confusion in the beginning but I said all along, unless we get all the commissions on the same page it would be a difficult thing to do," Coker said during a teleconference. "We didn't feel it was fair for one person to fight five rounds, another person to fight three rounds. There was debate about, well, should the final fight be a title fight? But what if Alistair wasn't there? It just became very confusing. We felt this would be a great way to launch the tournament and we're very happy about it.
"We would have to have all those commissions on the same page and we just couldn't do it in time."
Nick Lembo, counsel to the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, said Thursday that Strikeforce never approached him or the commission about the possibility of five-round fights for the February event at the IZOD Center, which features quarterfinal matches pitting Fedor Emelianenko against Antonio Silva, and Andrei Arlovski versus Sergei Kharitonov.
"For the tournament fights or alternate fights, I had no problems with it going five five-minute rounds," Lembo said.
. My emphasis.
So, the problem was getting all the commissions on the same page, but they never even asked the commission where the first fights are taking place? It sounds like they didn't even try to get them on the same page. California, where Strikeforce holds half their events, was cool with it too.
Maybe it was one of those four states that will give Barnett a license with a clean urine sample that wasn't on board. But if they'll grant a license to Barnett (which an mmajunkie article said the most influencial commissions like California, Nevada, and New Jersey were unlikely to do) why would five round fights be so egregious to them?
The article also mentions the committee and 4th judge:
Prior to being asked about it by ESPN.com on Thursday, Lembo was also unaware of Strikeforce's intention to use a fourth judge, independent of the three assigned by whichever regulatory body oversees that event, to determine an advancing fighter in case of a draw.
"Strikeforce could utilize a fourth judge for their own tournament advancement purposes, but the fourth judge would not be an NJSACB judge, and such would not effect the official recorded result," Lembo said.
While a fighter would continue onto the next round of the tournament, his official record would reflect the result as a draw, Strikeforce rules director Cory Schafer confirmed. The fourth judge would score the fight as a whole, similar to Pride Fighting Championships' old scoring method.
In the event of a no-contest, a five-member World Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament review committee headed by Schafer, will determine the advancing fighter. This committee is also tasked with selecting from a pool of main draw and reserve participants in the event that fighters cannot continue because of injury or something similar. A fighter disqualified during tournament action is ineligible to advance.
Joining Schafer are Dale "Apollo" Cook, a retired world kickboxing champion from Tulsa, Okla.; Al Wichgers, a veteran judge and referee licensed in 14 states based in Milwaukee, Wisc.; retired MMA pioneer Guy Mezger, of Dallas, Texas; and Steve Alley, a fight promoter out of Denver, Colo.