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« | Home | »

The weekend that changed everything for UFC & MMA

By Zach Arnold | March 12, 2011

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Don Quijote backs away from Sengoku, effectively destroying the promotion on a large scale. Enterbrain, the publisher behind kamipro, pulls the plug on a print edition. And now, UFC has purchased Strikeforce. In effect, Showtime is going to paying for a TV contract to finance the building up of fighters for UFC when a merger eventually takes place.

It’s consolidation, for sure. A lot of people in the end will lose their jobs. Showtime will be a big loser initially, but a person who I think could end up a winner here is Gary Shaw. Once UFC takes what they want from Strikeforce, there will be leftovers (think: female fighters). UFC does not have an appetite to promote women’s MMA. It is entirely conceivable that Showtime will go to Shaw and make a deal to try to cause some problems for UFC down the road. I’m almost certain that will happen. Unless, of course, part of the deal is a non-compete for Showtime in the MMA ‘space’…

As for UFC picking the best fighters from Strikeforce and letting the rest go, the company already has a major problem with a bloated roster. Sure, Showtime will be able to finance contracts for some UFC fighters, but in the long run I don’t see many fighters benefitting at all from such a deal. Bellator is not in any position whatsoever to pick up refugees from Strikeforce.

Scott Coker cashed out. How would you like to be a fighter for Strikeforce now? Fedor doesn’t want any part of Zuffa. Alistair Overeem wants to be able to kickbox as well as fight and that goes against Zuffa code. Josh Barnett doesn’t want to deal with the UFC politics. What does it say about Coker and his belief in his Heavyweight GP that he would cash out before even completing one round of said tournament? If he really believed in his company and believed in the trajectory it was going in, he wouldn’t have sold the company. Remember all those glowing reports from a couple of weeks ago about how the company was doing so well? Will the ‘tournament’ even progress further?

Outside of roster issues, UFC accomplishes a lot here with the purchase of Strikeforce. They eliminate their main rival and ensure complete and total control of the industry. They also have enough VTR (video) to run a media channel. Other than Shaw and Showtime, there is no one left to give Zuffa a headache. And, if you’re DREAM or K-1 or Sakakibara, you just saw the one willing business partner in the States sell his company out to an organization (UFC) that had a bitter taste left in its mouth in the asset sale deal for PRIDE.

Josh Gross:

The UFC/Strikeforce split is all about contracts. Once they’re fulfilled with Showtime, I’m told a WEC type merger is planned.

Big, big picture here, Viacom owns MMA.

Bet we don’t see as many UFC shows on Versus in the future. Versus demographics didn’t prove to be good for UFC events.

Luke Thomas:

Here’s another weird situation: what does this mean for EA and THQ and the UFC? THQ has licensing rights for 7 years. Can that be amended?

The boxing equivalent of today’s UFC + Strikeforce deal is not Top Rank buying Golden Boy. This is TR + GB + Gary Shaw + Goossen + DiBella.

Does this mean Fedor gets his Tapout shirt back?

UFC is the sport now officially.

Update: Josh Gross says negotiations have been ongoing for ‘months’. MMA Junkie says the ghost of Pro Elite was looking to buy as well. Reported price tag? $40M USD.

Topics: Media, MMA, StrikeForce, UFC, Zach Arnold | 77 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

77 Responses to “The weekend that changed everything for UFC & MMA”

  1. Light23 says:

    You’re late to the party Zach. :p

    Thanks for the commentary however. I wanted to see what your thoughts were.

  2. EJ says:

    The UFC was already the sport now it’s just dancing on the heads of everyone who doubted that fight. I mean there is so much to take in here I almost don’t know where to start.

    But I like the fact that you pointed out something huge Showtime will be paying for a Zuffa promotion which in 2 years will be over and leave them with nothing. I mean the look on the faces of Showtimes executives when Coker told them about the deal must have been priceless. Showtime basically bent over backwards and payed out of pocket for talent to build them up for the long term. And Coker thanks them for that by cashing out and leaving them with the bill incredible.

    One thing I think we will see as a positive is that Joe Silva will be booking fights for SF that means less one sided fights and no protected champions.

    Another thing is how would you like to be Hendo, Zuffa can basically make his life miserable if they choose too. He has 1 fight left on a very expensive contract if he wins and keeps the belt he’s under a champions clause. Now basically he has no leverage to do anything, the UFC can lowball him on a contract and if he doesn’t like that he’s SOL. He has no where to go because the new SF won’t pay him 250k per fight like had and I doubt Showtime will pitch in now that SF is sold. I mean talk about the perfect example as to why you would want to be in the good graces Dana and company.

    There is so much more too but that’s the main things that come to my head. But i’m sure as the hours and days go bye alot of things are going to shake out from what is the biggest news since PRIDE was sold. Not because of SF position in mma they were number 2 by default but because there are so many people affected by this. From fighters, agents, announcers, back stage people and a big premium chanel, etc.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      I think Henderson is fine. He had a tough negotiation with the UFc but kept it professiinal. Didnt really burn any bridges.

      • Chromium says:

        The hate seems to really be more on Hendo’s side (a lot of it had to do with the UFC forcing Hendo’s clothing company, Clinch Gear, to pay licensing fees to sponsor people in the UFC when Hendo was already a top UFC fighter).

        Hendo hasn’t completely burned bridges with the UFC. Barnett and maybe just maybe Daley are the only active fighters who I think have burned their bridge.

    • Steve4192 says:

      “He has 1 fight left on a very expensive contract if he wins and keeps the belt he’s under a champions clause”

      How is that bad news for Hendo?

      I think you are completely misreading the situation. Zuffa can’t threaten him with the champion’s clause because that clause locks in his current salary. Hendo would be ecstatic if the exercised the champions clause.

      • EJ says:

        Not if they used it to freeze him out and leave him out of action for a year. Hendo is basically at their mercy, he can’t use one company against the other and when his contract runs out he can either take paycut or not fight. Of course he could lose his next fight and either take a paycut or go to Bellator or some other b league mma org. Either way Hendo’s days of cashing 250k win or lose checks aren’t going to go on any longer because of this move.

        • The Gaijin says:

          “Not if they used it to freeze him out and leave him out of action for a year. Hendo is basically at their mercy, he can’t use one company against the other and when his contract runs out he can either take paycut or not fight. Of course he could lose his next fight and either take a paycut or go to Bellator or some other b league mma org. Either way Hendo’s days of cashing 250k win or lose checks aren’t going to go on any longer because of this move.”

          Hahaha…you have to be a total idiot to operate under that kind of logic. So they’re going to torpedo their championship clauses to teach Dan Henderson a lesson? Because what you just proposed means they would be in court faster than their head would spin over use of the clause like that and any court is going to take one look at the facts and apply long used employment contract law precedent and rip the teeth right out of the clause.

          They’ll be fine to use the championship clause to lock him in with them as long as he’s champion. But if they abusively use it by forcing him to sit out a year and not use it for the intended purposes, it will get struck down and they’ll be pissing all over their shoes.

        • EJ says:

          You’re assuming alot there, like Hendo would go to court against Zuffa we’ve seen that story play out before and the ending is always the same. Also By the time any case happens the contract freeze will have worked, either way it shapes out my overall point remains the same Hendo isn’t going to be cashing in like he did much longer.

        • The Gaijin says:

          Nope no one’s ever taken them to court over the champion’s clause. Couture tried to pull his gambit with two fights left on the contract. BJ Penn did take the champion’s clause to court and they ended up settling.

          If you honestly think they can use the champion’s clause in bad faith, you’ve got another thing coming. If they attempted to make him sit him out a year they’d be in court and they’d be arguing for an expedited hearing due to the nature of the situation (40 yr old fighter, limited length of athletic career). Exercising the clause and thinking they can just ice him for a year is the definition of bad faith, they’d have to offer him fights.

          *No one has ever argued it in court. Penn’s case never made it into the court room to hear the issue.

        • EJ says:

          Taking Zuffa to court regardless of the reason is a problem in of itself. Not to mention that Hendo can argue whatever he wants doesn’t mean it’ll work but at this point all of that doesn’t matter. My point is that Hendo is at Zuffa’s mercy once again and if they want to be d**** about it they can mess with him big time.

        • The Gaijin says:

          “Taking Zuffa to court regardless of the reason is a problem in of itself. Not to mention that Hendo can argue whatever he wants doesn’t mean it’ll work but at this point all of that doesn’t matter. My point is that Hendo is at Zuffa’s mercy once again and if they want to be d**** about it they can mess with him big time.”

          Yes but what you’ve proposed would completely incentivize him to litigate with them…they would be turning a relationship that ended without bad blood and for business purposes, into a toxic one on account of a vendetta they don’t appear to have.

          My point is that, the relationship is fine and their champion’s clauses are still effective if they are used in good faith. You are proposing they go out abuse the champion’s clause in bad faith against a fighter that did nothing but negotiate hard with them. I don’t know about you, but if they set a precedent like that in dealing with fighters, especially those with a champion’s clause, they’re going to do FAR more harm than good. What is that going to say to all current champions? What is that going to say to a court? Henderson is 40 years old if they did that to him not only would he probably be a perfect test case to challenge the champions clause, he could sue them for millions…what would he have to lose, under your genius plan they are going to ice him for a year and then low-ball him.

          I know you have this odd fantasy where everyone who took care of their own interests, and those were not parallel to those of Zuffa, ends up in a ball gag at the mercy of Dana, but they don’t do business that way. DW and the Fertitta’s have been forgiving to people who did far worse, so I think you need to take your Vince McMahon fantasies back to the WWE.

  3. nottheface says:

    “What does it say about Coker and his belief in his Heavyweight GP that he would cash out before even completing one round of said tournament? If he really believed in his company and believed in the trajectory it was going in, he wouldn’t have sold the company. Remember all those glowing reports from a couple of weeks ago about how the company was doing so well? Will the ‘tournament’ even progress further?”

    I think a more likely interpretation is that the Grand Prix was proved to be a monster success for Showtime and the UFC realized they had a rival that wouldn’t vanish and that it would be easier to buy them out. I won’t be surprised to learn that the buying price for Strikeforce is much higher than what the company is actually valued. For Coker it was a no brainer – a ton of money now against the potential of making it later after years of hard work.

    • EJ says:

      That’s quite a big reach there, the fact is aside from getting some people in the mma media excited the HW GP didn’t change anything.

      SF showed that they couldn’t carry any of the momentum from that show into their next one and with the delays it once again showed how poorly the company is run. Not to mention that it basically screws over Showtime whose been the ones who have been backing SF in the first place.

      This to me reminds me of the Affliction sale, i’ve been saying for a while that expenses for SF have been going up and they’re not bringing in the cash to justify them. That’s why they were so desperate to get on ppv because they know that’s where the money is not on Showtime.

      Coker like Atencio saw the writting on the wall not to mention he’s probably had enough headaches to last him a lifetime. He wanted out and Zuffa gave him a way out, you don’t sell unless you have to if everything is going as good as some would like you to believe they were doing.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        You are 100% correct. This is a guy who has been promoting cad for years. You don’t sell out unless it’s doomsday.

        Hey, good for Coker on getting money. But the reality is that he has always been in over his head.

        • EJ says:

          MMA Junkie is now reporting that Pro Elite Inc. was also in talks to buy Strikeforce. That basically goes to show that Coker or at the very least the company that owns SF wanted out and were looking for the hightest bidder. Now it’s really looking like this is another repeat of Affliction. With the executives running the company seeing expenses getting out of hand and realizing that they were over their heads by tring to compete with the UFC.

        • Michaelthebox says:

          Agreed EJ. However, I still think Zuffa probably overpaid for what Strikeforce is worth. They saw an opportunity to put all the organizational competition bullshit to rest, and they took it.

          I don’t think this is necessarily evidence that Coker wanted out. He will probably continue to work in the industry. But in terms of his investment in Strikeforce, it was still a very risky investment, and he had the opportunity to turn it into gold, and still keep on doing what he wants to do. Better yet, he can turn over the stuff he doesn’t like doing and let Zuffa handle it. Coker made out like a bandit.

  4. David m says:

    Good for coker; he played his hand as best he could and is getting out as a very rich man. I want to see nick diaz vs gsp and anderson v jacare and overeem v cain. EPIC. This deal really sucks for the fighters though, bye bye all negotiating leverage.

  5. Light23 says:

    I wonder if Dana really means it when he says the purchase is to get talent needed for international expansion.

    It’s possible.

    Dana always talks about growing the sport to the point where they’ll have two cards in one night. We’ll end up having a show in England that only English media care about (aside from hardcore fans), while another show plows ahead in Australia.

    It’s the same way you have boxing cards all over the world, sometimes with quite high level cards occurring at the same time.

    UFC is going to become the entire sport of MMA worldwide and to do that, they need a hella large amount of talent. Strikeforce gives them a ton of fighters, with an org that can hold them in contracts for a few years. Then when the UFC is ready to accommodate a ton of fighters, they’re there for the taking.

    Maybe in 40 years time, MMA/UFC will be as big as boxing was in its heyday. Truly mainstream in the U.S. with that success replicated worldwide.

    • Joe says:

      This is one of the better posts I’ve yet read on the merger. The best way for the UFC to keep the integrity of its PPV brand while still expanding as much as it wants is to better delineate in fans minds between the big cards and the smaller ones. In essence, make the smaller cards better and make the PPV ones huge. A spot on a UFC PPV card should seem like a huge, elusive achievement, and a title shot should seem like the pinnacle. This is for sure a step in that direction.

  6. 45 Huddle says:

    1) If the UFC think anybody will try to use Carano, they will just bring her over to the UFC and it will be a non-issue.

    2) Strikeforce won’t have any talent to pick from to start MMA up again. And Bellator will be out of business by the time Zuffa leaves Showtime.

    3) Showtime can’t compete with the UFC or HBO. I said it before and it needs repeating. HBO is next to make them look ugly.

    4) The bloated roster issues isn’t an issue. Zuffa will use Strikeforce to really test their fighters and make only 3 to 5 guys relevant by the time they are done with them. The rest will have so many ugly losses that they won’t have any value and will be cut. Even right now there aren’t that many guys per weight class that are UFC level.

    5) UFC on Network TV next? The NFL could help that become a reality this fall.

    6) For people who thought SF was doing so good…. If they had any hope of success they wouldn’t have sold. The parent company was on the market to sell right after the GP. Fedor lost. No PPV. No money at the end of the rainbow. It’s all pretty logical.

    7) For the first time in a long time. Maybe even ever. The Heavyweight division has some depth in one company.

    8: Fedor Emelianenko is likely to retire once SF is gone. Showtime could try to have him fight on their network but who would he fight? There would be nobody left.

    9) Paul Daley really is a train wreck. His one chance to get back into the UFC is to win the SF title and keep it until his contract runs out. Now he says he is thinking of pulling out because Zuffa bought SF. Not a bright guy.

    10) Barnett should retire. UFC won’t touch a guy who can’t get sanctioned. He’s out of luck. I bet he gets replaced in the tournament if it still happens.

    At the beginning of 2010 there was 6 major MMA companies. UFC, WEC, Strikeforce, DREAM, Sengoku, and Bellator. Now we are down to the UFC, Bellator, and DREAM likely won’t run another card. And the money marks have left the sport.

    The next big question marks are:

    1) How does Zuffa handle the SF transition.

    2) Hiw does Zuffa handle international expansion. Will they have leagues in each country and the UFC becomes the final proving ground? I think that’s where things are headed.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      For point 4. I meant 3 to 5 relevent fighters per weight class. And really that’s all they need….

      Heavyweight – Silva, Werdum, Overeem, and Del Rosario.
      Light Heavyweight – Cavalcante, Henderson, Mousasi, Lawal, and Gracie.
      Middleweight – Souza and Kennedy
      Welterweight – Diaz, Daley, and Woodley
      Lightweight – Melendez, Kawajiri, Aoki, and Noons

      I’m sure I missed a few….. So my lost of 18 isn’t complete. But it’s around 20 fighters that need to be transferee over. The rest really don’t matter.

      • Chromium says:

        You missed: Kharitonov, Robbie Lawler, and Josh Thomson. Also it’s not been confirmed that Kawajiri and Aoki are actually under contract to StrikeForce, even if they had been scheduled to fight next month.

    • 6) For people who thought SF was doing so good…. If they had any hope of success they wouldn’t have sold.

      Successful growing companies are purchased by entities with lots of cash all the time. This is proof of nothing. In any case, it doesn’t matter. Zuffa finally did what it needed to do. That is what counts.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        You are correct. But that’s not what happened here.

        1) Strikeforce lost out on another PPV opportunity. And then the parent company looked to sell.

        2) If they wanted to maximize the value of tue company, they would have finished up the GP, hopefully gotten more good ratings, and then sell for tue best price.

        That never happened. Why? Because they didn’t have the money to continue. It’s beyond obvious based on the way things went down.

        • We have no idea how long they’ve been on the market or if they lost money. Nor do we know how much the UFC offered for them. What I do know is that Strikeforce was sold to UFC almost immediately after the promotion had its biggest show ever and one that would have it projected to receive more money from Showtime. But like I said then, a year ago, 3 years ago – if the UFC was willing to spend the money, it didn’t matter. And now that they were, it doesn’t.

          You don’t “finish up the GP” because the GP is inherently risky. What if Barnett wins? What if its injury plagued? The UFC apparently came in with a ton of money and Scott Coker cashed out.

          You want a real talking point? The events of the last 6 months mark the changeover from the sport and its punditry being primarily interested in business matters like buy rates and ratings and competition and will force pundits to discuss fights.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          That sounds great to me. I think it was just an easy crutch for the MMA Media to point out the differences between the UFC and their competition instead of really discussing the sport more indepth.

        • It sounds great to me too. Its what I’ve wanted all along. I started posting here years ago excited that the fall of PRIDE would lead to the UFC unilaterally controlling the sport. Now we’re a step close to that now. When that happens, the people who have nothing to say about the sport other than to argue about ratings and attendance and live gates will find themselves looking completely on the outside of popular MMA discussion.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          I think MMA will lose a small sub set of fans who are into the sport for those reasons. But it’s really not a lot of fans.

    • The Gaijin says:

      “6) For people who thought SF was doing so good…. If they had any hope of success they wouldn’t have sold. The parent company was on the market to sell right after the GP. Fedor lost. No PPV. No money at the end of the rainbow. It’s all pretty logical.”

      Uuhhh..coming from a guy who said they worked in finance I’m extremely befuddled by this statement.

      • Nottheface says:

        They reportedly paid $40 million for Strikeforce. That seems to be a lot for a failing company.

        • Chuck says:

          That would depend on how much they were making. Considering that they were on tap to make about $30 million this year, yeah that is a lot. But what if Strikeforce was going to make $300 million this year? Then that would be peanuts. As it stands, that is definitely a high price.

          And no one said that Zuffa paid that amount. That is the amount that Pro Elite was going to pay for Strikeforce. Since it was Zuffa that bought SF and not Pro elite then it is safe to say Zuffa bought it for a higher price.

        • mr. roadblock says:

          Some of that is probably to cover debts run up by SVSE. A good chunk is going to replace the money SVSE was putting in for running shows.

          Really doing due diligence as an investor looking to acquire SF, you’d have to think the TV isn’t secure. What Showtime is/was going to offer to reup the deal past 2012 is an X factor.

          What UFC really did is get first crack at the SF talent and library before a potential firesale or before Showtime could snatch those assets at the negotiating table.

  7. Keith Harris says:

    Hopefully Dana White will send a nice cheque in the mail to Fedor Emelienenko and M-1 for killing another of his competitors off for him! 😉

  8. 45 Huddle says:

    I haven’t seen this talked about yet. Sort of a side effect of this but still a big change to the sport….

    Prospects will no longer he rushed into the big leagues. The UFC and SF were always lookIng to sign guys far too soon just so the other couldn’t sign them. And I think that hurt the development of a lot of the younger fighters.

    Now younger fighters should be able to cultivate their talent on the small shows for longer. And then when they are ready, they can go to the UFC.

  9. Jonathan says:

    I just hope that it turns out good for the sport. This caught me totally by surprise, and I hope that we don’t see anybody try to start up and competitor to the UFC on a national level. If we’re going to have to take our medicine, then let’s take it and see how it turns out.

    I found it funny that Pancrase is one of the oldest promotions in Japan and that it has lasted so long. I think Shooto will survive its’ scandal, and I think DEEP will still be here.

    And my thoughts and prayers go out to the people of the Japan. That earthquake was far worse then I had originally thought that it was.

  10. EJ says:

    I wonder if the $40 million is the real price or if it’s like the $70 million price that was reported for PRIDE. Either way i’m sure that Coker and the other owners must be happy and they also showed smarts by keeping this under the radar like they did. Like I said in the next few hours and days more and more will come out as to what was really going on all of this time, I also think a lot of mma writers are going to be looking silly because of it.

  11. Chromium says:

    Look, as far as women in MMA, if the talent is there, I think the UFC will do it. StrikeForce has approximately months (the end of the Showtime deal) to build up women’s 145 and 135 to the point where they would be viable acquisitions for the UFC.

    Dana White is the face of the UFC, but he is not all of it. Furthermore it’s not like he’s never changed his mind after saying “never” on something (see: BJ Penn and Karo Parisyan). I think that if they see financial value in retaining a couple of small women’s divisions, it will happen, especially when there are fighters like Miesha Tate who can give them publicity in Maxim or whatever (I figure Carano will just go back to Hollywood).

    If every female fighter fought at their natural weight class, the deepest divisions would be 125 and 115, but even still, there seems to be a huge surge of prospects coming in at 145 and 135. World Champions and Olympic medalists in Muay Thai, Boxing, Wrestling, and Judo. I think it will happen eventually, especially if the UFC is intent on eventually doing weekly shows or whatever.

  12. Jonathan says:

    You do have to admit, I did not see ONE writer even contemplate the UFC would buy Strikeforce. Caught everyone except the people involved with it off guard.

    Coker does not look so bad now. He comes out the real winner in this.

  13. Robthom says:

    Wow!

    (Still wrapping my mind around this one…)

  14. Kelvin says:

    “A lot of people in the end will lose their jobs. Showtime will be a big loser initially, but a person who I think could end up a winner here is Gary Shaw. Once UFC takes what they want from Strikeforce, there will be leftovers (think: female fighters). UFC does not have an appetite to promote women’s MMA. It is entirely conceivable that Showtime will go to Shaw and make a deal to try to cause some problems for UFC down the road. I’m almost certain that will happen.”

    lol..so Shaw is going to create ANOTHER brand and compete against the UFC and cause them headaches when he obviously couldn’t do it with Pro Elite? Good luck with that. Look, unless Zuffa does something incredibly stupid or GOD forbid something happens in the octagon(fighter death or something) that would give mainstream media something to run with…there is no company that can compete with them. The UFC brand name is just too strong…not to mention they have all the best fighters.

  15. Dave2 says:

    While I’m sad to see that fighters have a lot less options available to them now, I think incompetently managed organizations like Strikeforce, DREAM and Sengoku deserve to take the dirt nap. I’d like to see another organization spring up in North America and Japan to fill the void left by Strikeforce. But one that is competently run. These organizations would have to start small/local/regional and then work their way up slowly this time. Strikeforce was doing well with just Coker calling the shots but then they got into bed with Showtime and M-1 and went too fast, too soon. And DREAM and Sengoku were spending beyond their means as well. Building a decent #2/#3 organization is something that is going to take time. You can’t rush it. The “buy the best big-name free agents you can find” method hasn’t been working out. Concentrate on running good local/regional shows. Sign guys who can bring asses in seats locally/regionally and then slowly start going for the more expensive national and international talent. It’s kind of like pro wrestling no? The WWE used to be New York-based and the WCW was based in Georgia or whatever once right? These things take time.

    • Chuck says:

      WWE is Stamford, CT based. But ran their biggest shows in New York. WCW was big from the get-go, as when it was known as WCW after Ted Turner bought it. It’s precursor, NWA Jim Crockett Promotions, was from Charlotte, NC. WCW itself was from Atlanta, Georgia. But as I said, WCW was big from the get-go. So that isn’t a very good comparison.

  16. Paradoxx says:

    40 mil? Thats all?

    SF must have been dying…you can get a minor league tea for 40 mil

  17. jv says:

    You make it sound like Coker sold every one down the drain when in fact that is not the case. SVSE who has been losing money on the Sharks forever wanted out for what ever reason. Coker fought to keep control of the company. But when you have pockets as deep as SVSE on one side and Zuffa on the other one guy doesn’t have much of a chance.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/extra/mma/news/story?id=6209923

    • 45 Huddle says:

      And that’s the problem with having a sugar daddy. When he says it’s time to pack up and go home…. Coker has basically no choice.

      We can debate for years if SF was a profitable company. But one thing is certain. The parent company saw the risk to reward ratio, got scared, and wanted out. It makes sense. Even if SF was making a small profit…. That’s a high risk business to be cutting it so close. Typically high risk projects require much higher margins for big companies to be comfortable with them.

      I think Coker’s mistake was signing with Showtime. Sure it made him more money but he also ended up losing his own company that he didn’t want to lose. Signing with SHO made him expand far too quickly. It created cracks in the foundation that no sensible sugar daddy would put up with for that long.

  18. mr. roadblock says:

    Slightly off topic, but what an awesome year it’s been for boxing.

    Both shows last night were absolutely tremendous. Great action fights.

    Boxing has had one disappointing card this year in Bradley/Alexander. Other than that it’s been show after show of tremendous fights.

    And we have a slew of awesome matchups in April and May.

    • MK says:

      I agree. Boxing has delivered so far this year. Maybe it’s gone unnoticed by the casual fan but it has been a few very entertaining weeks for boxing.

      About the SF deal…I cared about this news for about 5 minutes before not giving a f-k anymore. It’s been going this way since late 2006 and now the process is complete. The majority of fighters, media and most importantly the fans made their bed.

    • Agreed. Who could have expected the fight card on HBO last night to be so good? Even ESPN2 has brought fire.

  19. manapua says:

    As a fan I am glad UFC is monopolizing the sport. It sucks for the fighters but fans will be able to see the best fight each other in the UFC’s events. Strikeforce created some of the same problems boxing has had by dividing the talent and making it hard for them to fight each other.

    • Chuck says:

      You can’t blame SF for anything. SF did the same thing many others have and WILL do. This is a capitalist country, and that thing sort of happens here. And besides, SF will still be running shows in the future, and Dana White has specifically said that there will be NO super fights between SF and UFC fighters for the foreseeable future. That will change when Zuffa guts SF, bu it won’t happen for a while.

  20. manapua says:

    They will allow SF to run for contract reasons only. Once they have cleared those issues it will be merged into the UFC in short order. Imagine the cards they will be able to put together with those talent additions.

    • Chuck says:

      Oh, I know that. The contract SF has with Showtime ends early next year, but will SF and UFC be merged then? I think it will take a little longer than that to tell you the truth.

      Because of the merger, I bet the heavyweight GP will actually end on time.

      But here’s a question……who will book the SF shows? EJ said before (I think the other thread) that Joe Silva will be booking the fights, but I bet that won’t be the case. It will probably still be Rick Chou. But when the merger happens then Chou will probably be gone.

  21. Safari_Punch says:

    Oh, I can hardly wait to see the “Super Bowl of MMA” between the UFC and Strikeforce. I bet it will be just as great as the one we saw when PRIDE was bought out.

    This deal sucks donkey balls. Look forward to more fight cards with one or one and a half good fights on each and every card.

    This is garbage.

    There will always be a market outside of Zuffa, no matter what they do. And there will be top fighters outside of their branded companies too.

  22. 45 Huddle says:

    Strikeforce was in debt…. According to Josh Gross….

  23. The Gaijin says:

    Even Josh Barnett is wise enough to start saying the right things about Zuffa…read this as a blueprint Paul Daley:
    http://www.sherdog.com/news/articles/Barnett-on-UFC-Strikeforce-Deal-I-Just-Want-to-be-Part-of-That-30837

    Henderson puts things in perspective. Sorry EJ looks like your boner for the public execution of a fighter’s career isn’t too likely:
    http://mmaweekly.com/dan-henderson-one-fight-left-on-current-deal-but-open-to-working-with-zuffa-again

    • 45 Huddle says:

      I bet if Barnett wins the First Round…. Zuffa will put on the semi-finals in California just to mess with him. Force him to either get licensed properly or be gone.

      As a side note, I don’t think Zuffa should be allowing fighters to fight who have 3 strikes against them. If they have to legally fulfill his contract then they are in a bind. But they should never sign him again.

      • Chuck says:

        Does it really matter if someone has three strikes against them compared to two strikes or four? Maybe we shouldn’t base any sort of laws on baseball or other sports rules or themes….

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Three strikes and your out is a theme both in sports and the law. It’s the way the system works. Whether it be getting busted for PED’s in baseball or getting arrested 3 times for certain kinds of laws.

          There is no reason for Barnett to be fighting again.

      • The Gaijin says:

        I’d have no problem with them making Barnett face the music in California – it’s another point for them in terms of “Hey, we’re here for the better of the sport, no one gets preferential treatment…” – so long as they make Sonnen face the music in Nevada for trying to implicate Kizer and the NSAC in that farce of a Cali AC hearing…and I hope Kizer and the NSAC throw the book at Sonnen for his blatant lies, especially because he threatened their credibility and standing to save his own hide.

        • EJ says:

          The only people who threatened the NSAC credibility was themselves, Kizer has no leg to stand on with anything Sonnen said in a case that Kizer has no control over. Kizer has plenty of problems of his own and the last thing he needs is to pick a fight with the UFC, he might not like his name being put out there but he’s going to have to swallow it.

          Also as far as Hendo goes like I said before my only point was about him being at the Zuffa’s mercy. Who knows he might be able to squash the beef and end up working something out but however it turns out he won’t be cashing in 250k win or lose checks anymore.

        • The Gaijin says:

          “The only people who threatened the NSAC credibility was themselves, Kizer has no leg to stand on with anything Sonnen said in a case that Kizer has no control over. Kizer has plenty of problems of his own and the last thing he needs is to pick a fight with the UFC, he might not like his name being put out there but he’s going to have to swallow it.”

          LOL – NSAC threatened their credibility because Sonnen blatantly lied at a CSAC hearing about discussions with and permissions from the NSAC?!? Ok…

          The NSAC doesn’t have to license anybody unless they determine they want to give them a license…that means they could easily make Sonnen’s life miserable and fully dig into this preposterous TRT garbage, since he’s going to need an exemption for it in Nevada. Funny you think that the NSAC has no leg to stand on but I’m sure you were among the same folks blasting Barnett that he shouldn’t be licensed anywhere in the U.S. unless he got his CSAC issues sorted out. Some ACs pay attention to what happens with other ACs.

        • The Gaijin says:

          That said, the won’t because in the end they will be gutless p*ssies b/c sugar daddies pay their salaries and keep the lights on.

          They can and they should, but they won’t.

    • Chromium says:

      Well, Daley is borderline retarded and Barnett is not. I think the hate was mostly on Dana White’s side anyway regarding Josh Barnett. If the two put aside their differences for the sake of business it wouldn’t be the first time Dana White’s done that.

  24. 45 Huddle says:

    Elbows on the ground now in SF. Will still use the 6 sided cage.

    • The Gaijin says:

      Good. Once those get implemented across the board, I think that will lead the way for a discussion of knees on the ground or in the 3-points position.

      Can’t really make progress until you have everyone playing by the same rules.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        I completely agree. Unify first. Get it sanctioned in all states. And then get some knees back.

        I’m not sure how I want the knees back…. But I know when a guy is on his back up against the cage, I don’t want to see knees. Too dangerous. But there are many positions that knees should be brought back for.

        That and Flyweight in the UFC would nicely round out the sport.

        • Chromium says:

          West Virginia’s legislature just passed an MMA bill a couple days ago and it (theoretically) should be signed by the Governor this week. That leaves just three states left. Also I’ve been told Connecticut just had an MMA bill pass a committee vote (meaning it goes to their legislature next).

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Connecticut will pass. There is no reason for it to be regulated because any sort of high level MMA or boxing would take place at an Indian Casino…. Which this bill wouldnt really matter for. which is why there has been zero push for it to happen.

          Buts it’s nice just to have all 50 states regulated…..

  25. The Gaijin says:

    So 45 and others,

    Does UFC’s purchase of Strikeforce mean the end of Fedor being the “kiss of death” for every promotion he’s been involved in or further proof? To note, I don’t think Strikeforce ever would have been bought for ~$40+ million, if not for his presence.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Fedor’s price tag put strains on SF. By signing him, it also meant they wanted to compete with the UFC…. Which forced them to sign Henderson for $250,000, Diaz for $150,000…. And so on.

      Coker said it’s a complicated situation with Fedor’s contract now. Sounds like he is sort of signed to both SF and SHO. I highly doubt they bring him to the UFC. They will probably hope to get him his 3rd straight loss and be done with him….

      M-1 & Fedot have been a cancer to MMA. The quicker they end the better. I’m all for fighters having bargaining power with a union…. But the types of contracts Fedor was signed to helped nobody out in the long run except M-1 & Fedot. All it did was hurt the competition for the future.

      In a weird kind of way…. It was Fedor’s name that kept the hardcores embracing 3rd rate companies. But it was also his name that sank them and gave Zuffa ultimate power over the sport. Oh the irony….

      • Chromium says:

        “They will probably hope to get him his 3rd straight loss and be done with him…”

        They can’t guarantee that Fedor will lose to anyone though.

        If Fedor fights the loser of Overeem vs. Werdum and loses again, Zuffa has all the cards. If Fedor wins, then Zuffa would still be dealing from a position of power, but drastically reduced, and they’ll have hurt Overeem or Werdum as well, who aren’t fighters that come with a mountain of baggage like Fedor.

        Also no matter who Fedor beats, M-1 is likely to try and fuck with the contract again if it’s anyone significant, and there’s no point in having him just fight a string of lower-tier guys. Bobby Lashley is the only “name” among lower-tier HWs in either SF or the UFC anyway (aside from Herschel Walker who is a gimmick and that’s a match no sane athletic commission would sanction anyway).

        Depending on the attitude M-1 takes, it might be in Zuffa’s interest to just cut him right away.

  26. Robthom says:

    I’d like to see strikeforce remain a brand. Just use it as a downsized free alternative that doesn’t threaten the PPV.
    Basically make Strikeforce into what Stikeforce challengers is now and move all the top shelf guys over to the PPV show.

    That way, among many other benifits, they can still use the alternate label for access to avenues or risky ventures that might not be as available to the UFC brand (Japan) or that they might not want to gamble the bread and butter on.

    A miners canary and/or trojan horse if you will.
    🙂

    I think this waS the right move to save all the good stuff about SF before it could have gotten worse.
    It was looking pretty clear that Coker was getting bullied and out of his league at this level.

    Oftentimes getting there is not the same as knowing what to do when you get there.
    🙂

    I think this waS the right move to save all the good stuff about SF before it could have gotten worse. Because it was looking pretty clear that Coker was out of his league at this level.

    Oftentimes getting there is not the same as knowing what to do when you get there.And

    • Chromium says:

      1) Much if not most of the top talent in StrikeForce is under contract directly to Showtime, and most contracts are also technically non-exclusive, meaning they could take indy bookings. They need to replace those as they come up until all of the top talent is signed to Zuffa under an exclusive (and transferable) contract.

      2a) If they build up the brand, the merger will mean more down the line as more casual fans will be aware of StrikeForce through advertising during UFC events. Then when they finally merge they can do a string of megafights and have a fresh burst of momentum that will be bigger then. Right now they’re still riding the wave of the WEC merger.

      2b) The two women’s divisions may or may not be worth absorbing right now and they will be probably worth a lot more after they are developed more and more stars emerge.

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