Saturday, March 11, 2011, a day where no major promotion held a fight card, will go down as one of the most historic days in Mixed Martial Arts. Major MMA news websites started breaking the news that soon blazed throughout twitter where, celebrities, fighters and fans alike speculated what would happen to the future of MMA.
UFC’s parent company Zuffa had purchased their closet competition, Strikeforce. This California based fight promotion boasts a roster that includes Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem. Dan Henderson, and Rolando “Jacare” Souza. Since the purchase, UFC president, Dana White says Strikeforce will continue to operate as a separate entity. I believe that it’s more of a “when” than an “if” for Strikeforce to eventually dissolve into the UFC. After all, that’s what Zuffa did when they bought Pride FC and WEC. The question is how long and who’ll be affected.
Here are my pros and cons about Zuffa’s purchase of Strikeforce.
PRO: Super Fights. As a fan, how can you not be excited by the addition of Overeem, Emelianko and Bigfoot Silva to UFC’s Heavyweight Roster. Plus there’s Gilbert Melendez to the Lightweight Division. It may not happen until later, if at all, but dream fights are now closer to reality.
CON: Female Fighters. This is an absolute blow to Women’s MMA. Dana White has said he won’t promote female fights due to the lack of quality women fighters. Strkeforce not only gave Gina Carano a place to fight, but also introduced us to fighters like Cyborg Santos and Miesha Tate. It would be a shame not to see them fight on TV or pay per view.
PRO: Goodbye Strikeforce Announcing Team. Mauro Renallo and Frank Shammrock are terrible. Plain and simple. Bas Rutten should have been behind the desk from the moment they started. To never have to sit through Renallo’s bad jokes or Shammrocks butchering of the English language is a blessing.
CON: Dana’s Hate List. Dana White isn’t afraid to let people know who he has distain for. Unfortunately that distain includes fighters like Paul Daley, Josh Barnett and Fedor’s management team, M1. We most likely won’t see these fighters in the UFC.
PRO: One fight card, one night. I’ve never been a fan of UFC and Strikeforce putting on fight cards at the same time. Sure I can PVR a card, but I like to watch fights live. Now we know for sure, they won’t try to compete for the same viewers now that they are owned by the same company.
CON: Fighter Salaries. Unfortunately the fighters will be the biggest losers out of this deal. Fewer and fewer high profile promotions with deep pockets means Zuffa holds all the chips. They’ll make the deal, while the fighter and his management either take it, or fight regional for much lesser pay.
PRO: Moving Fighters. For as long as Zuffa will run Strikeforce as a separate entity, I’d like to see them move some UFC fighters over to give its divisions and the fighters themselves a much need boost. Rich Franklin would be the first one I move over.
By purchasing Strikeforce, Zuffa reminds the public that the UFC is the premier MMA organization in the world. As the NFL is for football, MLB is for baseball and the NHL is for hockey. It remains to be seen if this move will be good in the long run for the mixed martial arts, but the blazing success the UFC has seen since 2004 shows that their track record is pretty good. As a fan, I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen.