When Affliction canceled its “Trilogy” pay-per-view, many fighters became the unfortunate casualties. Two fighters that avoided the avalanche were Gegard Mousasi and Renato “Babalu” Sobral.
Originally scheduled to fight on August 1 with Affliction, they are now set to square off just two weeks later on August 15 – only this time it will be under the Strikeforce banner and for Sobral’s Strikeforce light heavyweight championship.
At first, Mousasi was distraught with the cancelation of “Trilogy”, but now he believes everything has worked out for the better.
“I think a lot of fighters were disappointed,” Mousasi said. “We invested our time and money. For me, it has worked out good though as the hard training has not gone for nothing.”
However, not all has been perfect for the Dream middleweight champion.
“The money is not the same,” said Mousasi when asked to compare the two contracts. “I will make less.”
Even though he will earn fewer dollars to fight the same opponent, Mousasi will now have the opportunity to greatly increase his exposure. The upcoming Strikeforce show will be available on the premium network Showtime instead of on pay-per-view with Affliction.
What that means is that Mousasi will have nearly triple the amount of eyes watching him. The fight with Sobral would have had roughly 100k people viewing on PPV, and now, the match-up should draw approximately 300k watching on Showtime.
“The idea behind it is that it is an investment in the future,” Mousasi said. “CBS and Showtime have a big platform. A lot of people can see the fights.”
“To make a name in the U.S., I have to invest some time. Maybe I’ll make less money now, but I’m still young. The money will come.”
Immediately after learning of Affliction’s cancelation, a frustrated Mousasi said that he should just go to the UFC. In the end, Mousasi decided to go with Strikeforce instead.
“I signed for a three-fight deal,” said Mousasi. “This fight (with Babalu) will be the first one.”
Mousasi also has ties to the Japan-based Dream organization. Before moving up to light heavyweight, Mousasi won Dream’s inaugural light heavyweight tournament back in September 2008. Mousasi will compete in both promotions.
“I also have two more fights remaining with Dream,” said Mousasi.
Should Mousasi ever decide to join the UFC, he may have one major hurdle. UFC President Dana White has been adamant that any fighter who shows up in the upcoming EA Sports MMA game will never fight in the UFC.
Mousasi isn’t overly concerned that his appearance in the game will be a huge hindrance to his future.
“Fedor signed with the EA game, and they (UFC) still wanted him,” said Mousasi. “If you have a big enough name, they’ll forget about that kind of stuff.”
Before he thinks too far into the future, Mousasi has a very formidable opponent in front of him. Sobral is one of the most accomplished fighters in the sport. He has taken on such notable fighters as Chuck Liddell (twice), Dan Henderson, and another recent Strikeforce addition, Fedor Emelianenko.
Sobral is very accomplished on the ground while Mousasi would prefer to keep the fight standing. Regardless, Mousasi believes the fight will have an exciting finish.
“I want to go for the knockout, and he will go for the submission,” Mousasi said. “I don’t see it going to a decision. I see myself winning. I see a TKO or a knockout.”