(Photo by Jason Wright.)
Shamar Bailey was a hot prospect when he signed with Strikeforce last March. Then he waited. And waited. And waited.
“They had so many athletes from when they signed EliteXC that they had to honor those contracts and I got pushed to the back burner,” Bailey said, but the promotion was amenable the young welterweight staying active before making his Strikeforce debut.
Having racked up nine wins against one loss in Midwestern promotions, Bailey had to balance the risk of getting hurt against the rewards of taking additional bouts. “When you have a contract with a big organization you don’t want to do anything to jeopardize that but you also don’t want to show up rusty on the big stage,” Bailey said.
The fighter ended up taking two matches in the interim – a unanimous decision victory at a King of the Cage show in Indianapolis, Ind. on June 6 and a TKO win in Amsterdam on Aug. 16 an M-1 Challenge card. Now nine months after signing with the promotion, Bailey will make his Strikeforce debut at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Ill. on Nov. 7.
The prospect isn’t on the main card and therefore won’t receive any screen time during the card’s primetime television broadcast but Bailey is still thankful for the exposure. “I feel that there’s a fairly large awareness of the card and who’s on the card and a lot of people waiting and watching to see the result of this fight,” he said. And besides, he’ll have friends and family there.
“There’s gonna be plenty of guys from Chicago that I went to school with, people from Wisconsin, people from Indiana,” said Bailey, who wrestled for four years at Wisconsin’s Division III Maranatha Bible College. “It’s a perfect location for me.”
Bailey is set to face “The Ultimate Fighter” alum John Kolosci on Nov. 7 and should he pass that test he figures to be fast tracked for a title shot. “I think the welterweight division is wide open but I think it’s one of the more exciting divisions in the organization and I think a win [on Nov. 7] and a couple more wins would definitely put me in contention,” he said. “There are already talks of some interesting fights involving me and some other up-and-coming guys.”