After UFC declines invitation, Roy Jones Jr. shut out of Strikeforce, too
Boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. continues to strike out in a search for potential homes for a mixed martial arts debut.
After UFC President Dana White recently declined on promoting a potential bout between his middleweight champion Anderson Silva and Jones Jr., Showtime Senior Vice President Ken Hershman today called a Strikeforce bout between the boxer and Nick Diaz a "very long shot."
After his April 11 win over Frank Shamrock, Diaz had challenged Jones Jr. to a boxing-rules match. Jones Jr. has since expressed his willingness to compete under full MMA rules.
"I get a Roy Jones call once a week pitching me things," Hershman said on today's Strikeforce media call. "[A fight between Diaz and Jones Jr.] would be a very long shot of ever happening."
While Jones Jr. would certainly command a salary far greater than that of any current mixed martial artist, Hershman said the financial challenges of the arrangement aren't the biggest issue.
"It has nothing to do with money," Hershman said. "I think it's an insult to the integrity of mixed martial arts to think Roy Jones, or any professional boxer, could just come in and fight Nick Diaz in a mixed martial arts context. In a boxing context, it's completely different.
"But beyond that, it's not the strategy we're employing. We're looking to build the best mixed martial arts brand. I believe we have the best professional boxing brand on television, and I think our fights month in and month out prove that. I don't see the need to combine the two at the moment."
Coker was quoted on GracieFighter.com, a website owned by Diaz's Cesar Gracie camp, as saying he would "absolutely set this fight up." Coker denied that position on today's media call.
"I've had several calls from different people saying, 'Roy Jones vs. Nick Diaz, Roy Jones vs. Cung Le, Roy Jones vs. this guy or that guy, but it's something that we haven't really talked about," Coker said. "I really don't even know how serious it is. But the question is, 'Does he want to fight in MMA? Does he want to fight in just boxing?' These are all things that haven't been fleshed out.
"I did get a call from Nick's manager asking me if I'd be interested in looking at a fight between Roy Jones and Nick. I said, 'Are you talking about boxing? Are you talking about MMA?' He says, 'In MMA.' I said, 'Well, that's something we can definitely have a conversation about. That just happened this morning. That's the extent of it."
While Jones Jr. has been a hot topic in conversations regarding Silva for more than a year, Diaz's name has just recently entered the debate. While Jones Jr.'s camp has yet to acknowledge Diaz's challenge, Hershman's comments seem to clearly nix the idea of the bout happening anytime soon.
"I wouldn't want to go down that path right now."
John Morgan is the lead staff reporter for MMAjunkie.com.