A Strikeforce card decimated by injuries—it’s a familiar story by now. Even Strikeforce’s swan song cannot manage to escape this curse. The latest fighter forced to withdraw with an injury is yet another of the promotion’s champions, middleweight kingpin Luke Rockhold.
The MMA Corner has learned from sources close to the camp of Rockhold that the middleweight champion has suffered a wrist injury and has been forced to withdraw from his scheduled Jan. 12 title defense against Lorenz Larkin.
Rockhold and Larkin were previously slated to meet on Strikeforce’s Nov. 3 card, but Rockhold was forced out of that contest with an injury to the same wrist and the entire card was subsequently canceled.
This is not the first blow to what was once a stacked grand finale for the Strikeforce brand. The promotion’s lightweight champion, Gilbert Melendez, has also been sidelined, resulting in the scrapping of his title defense against Pat Healy. What was once an event loaded with three title fights now has just one remaining, as the welterweight championship contest between title holder Nate Marquardt and challenger Tarec Saffiedine remains intact and will be promoted to the headlining spot on the card.
The event, set to take place at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, will also feature Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix winner Daniel Cormier locking horns with Dion Staring as well a clash of light heavyweights Gegard Mousasi and Mike Kyle.
No official announcement has come from Rockhold or the promotion regarding the injury, and it is not yet known whether Larkin will remain on the card.
Photo: Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold (Phil Lambert/The MMA Corner)