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Showtime contract with Strikeforce/Zuffa until 2014?

By Zach Arnold | March 14, 2011

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That’s my big takeaway from today’s presser regarding Zuffa’s purchase of Strikeforce and keeping the leagues separate. This is by far the biggest middle finger that one can do business-wise by UFC to Showtime, an entity they really have hated. Showtime is totally stuck here if it’s true — they have to either breach the contract and pay off Zuffa, which would mean Zuffa in the end would have paid little out of pocket for Strikeforce, or they fulfill the length of the contract and they finance UFC’s expansion operations which in turn will mean tens of millions of USD for many years to come. It’s a genius move by UFC on so many levels. No wonder they did it so fast.

However, it is fair to ask what Showtime’s motivations will really be to produce these MMA shows until 2014. Will they just pay off UFC to get it over with and never come back into MMA? Will they pay off UFC and call up Gary Shaw to screw around with Zuffa? Options are limited and none of them look great for the network. You could say that Showtime will benefit from UFC’s ownership of Strikeforce, but it’s not as if UFC really values Showtime as a media platform for doing business on. It would be only for an ‘in’ with CBS at this point. A lot more questions than answers raised here with Showtime.

One thing is for certain — SVSE had their goals and Scott Coker had his and the deal with Showtime sped up the finality of the promotion’s existence.

Here’s audio/video from today’s presser by Steve Cofield of Yahoo Sports/

Addendum: I completely forgot about Showtime’s deal with M-1. It was interesting how Scott Coker was his usual hedging-self on the status of Fedor’s contract. Our friend the Fight Lawyer says: “Extends to 2014″ does not necessarily mean that the original term does not end in 2012-Showtime may just have option to extend for 2yr term.”

Topics: Media, MMA, StrikeForce, Zach Arnold | 46 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

46 Responses to “Showtime contract with Strikeforce/Zuffa until 2014?”

  1. Steve says:

    M1 on shotime?

  2. Light23 says:

    I don’t see why Showtime would buy out the contract.

    Yeah, they don’t like Zuffa and they’ll be marketing fighters that belong to Zuffa and will make Zuffa $$$ in the future.

    I don’t think “sticking it” to Zuffa, or avoiding benefiting them in any way is really worth however much it costs to buy out this contract.

    If they’re going to pay Zuffa money, they might as well get some snazzy MMA out of it for a few years. And who knows what will happen in 2014.

  3. 45 Huddle says:

    1) The way I saw it was that SF has 16 shows left on Showtime. But it could be extended with more cards until 2014 if Showtime wants to.

    2) Showtime is in the premium cable business. I think it would be hard to justify to their bosses have 3rd rate MMA on their network after Zuffa guts SF. I think this means SHO is out of the MMA business. There would be a high level of stupidity if they continued in the sport.

    3) I found interesting that Barnett decided to play nice with Dana White. At least he didn’t pull a “Daley”. I still don’t think a guy who got busted 3 times should end up in the UFC. And he will be forced to deal with California now at the very least.

    4) For people who have been in denial to the end…. Josh Gross said that Strikeforce was indeed in debt and that part of the UFC deal had to do with paying off those debts. Nobody can make a profit in MMA except the UFC.

    5) Even as of today the UFC had still not talked to SHO. And no comments from SHO yet. They have to be so mad to be financing a company that they know has no future with them in 16 cards. Whatever executive signed that contract…. And didn’t have a clause in there for this to happen should be fired. That is downright horrible business…..

    • Dave says:

      Well Huddle, you know this, to grow a business you gotta take a loss for a while. I think it is presumptuous to say Strikeforce was a complete failure.

      From a business standpoint, I think the payout Coker got from all of this as well as the business partners means there was a moderate success involved, don’t you?

    • The Gaijin says:

      “4) For people who have been in denial to the end…. Josh Gross said that Strikeforce was indeed in debt and that part of the UFC deal had to do with paying off those debts. Nobody can make a profit in MMA except the UFC.”

      As the facts come out this is becoming more and more apparent that SF just was not profitable. If, in fact, SF was a profitable enterprise and something that was forecasted to make big earnings Coker would have an equity stake in one way or another. They explicitly said he doesn’t in the press conference, and in business, if you’re selling a truly valuable/profitable enterprise 99% of the time you’re going to get a stake in the continuing company, not just be an employee – Coker doesn’t that should be a pretty big takeaway.

    • Chromium says:

      “They have to be so mad to be financing a company that they know has no future with them in 16 cards. Whatever executive signed that contract…. And didn’t have a clause in there for this to happen should be fired. That is downright horrible business…..”

      I\’m sure they’re not happy, but StrikeForce will have had a good run for them. They’ve had much less successful programming on before. I doubt any Showtime exec gets fired for this. It’s not like they could have forced them to stay indefinitely anyway.

  4. Mr.roadblock says:

    I don’t think this is as bad for Showtime as people think.

    Showtime made an offer to UFC that Zuffa didn’t like. Then Showtime did a deal with SF for what it felt is a reasonable amount of money. Now it is getting UFC’s promotion for SF’s price.

    It would behoove Showtime to keep SF on as long as possible and to hype it’s boxing shows and other programming.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Are they going to want it on their network when all of the talent has been gutted and they are left with “championship” cards headlined by Cyborg and Cormier?

      • Mr.roadblock says:

        No. They will dump it then. They may have been thinking I dumping it anyway.

        In the meantime Showtime is getting a great deal.

        Showtime basically bought a midsize sedan with cloth seats and no features that breaks down every other month. Saturday they woke up and found a Masserati in the driveway. It might get repoed in two years but they can drive the wheels off of it until then.

        It’s impossible to tell how many new subscribers SF brought to Showtime unless SHO shares that with us. But SF getsuch worse ratings than the dramas on SHO, so the network may or may not be happy. UFC has a huge audience that isn’t paying for Showtime right now. UFC promotion could lead to subscribers.

        In two years Showtime might take the whole MMA budget and put it on boxing.

        • EJ says:

          Showtime put way too much money and capital into SF for them to be happy about this. Basically the UFC made them look foolish, like Zach said Showtime is now paying the Zuffa to run shows for them without them getting anything in return. Since in a couple of years just like they folded the WEC into the UFC they will do the same with SF. Showtime will still be on the hook for Fedor and whatever other salaries they pitched in to give SF a fighting chance.

        • IceMuncher says:

          Showtime isn’t getting a Masserati. They’re not getting the UFC on Showtime, they’re still getting Strikeforce, and I doubt the UFC is going to be pushing Strikeforce on their telecasts (business as usual).

          No, Showtime is stuck with the sedan, but they now know that any cash they put into fixing it up will be a complete waste, because in a few years the new owner comes in and scraps it for parts.

      • Robthom says:

        “Are they going to want it on their network when all of the talent has been gutted and they are left with “championship” cards headlined by Cyborg and Cormier?”

        They who?

        I think assuming that they could tell know the difference would be giving them too much credit.

        I imagine they look at thier MMA involvement the same way someone might invest in Pokemon cards, “dont know whay, but the kids seem to like it”.

        I figure Showtimes “hands on” involvement is more along the lines and guarenteeing plenty of cross promotion for showtime boxing and suggested emphasis for the deemed more marketable personalities.

        They’d be cool to stay stocked with a bunch of the more soundbyte friendly clowns like ortiz, barnett, mayhem, etc, and UFC could move the better/less “charismatic” fighters like… well almost all of the good ones over to the big show without much argument.

        Plus showtime could keep womens MMA and they would be happier with that empowering spectacle then 100 Verdums and Bigfoot Silvas.

  5. psygone says:

    White had mentioned (more that once right?) that we could see UFC fighters going to SF. That has to be a big positive for Showtime. UFC level Gatekeepers are genuine contenders SF (see Scott Smith).

    • 45 Huddle says:

      I bet we see Jon Fitch vs. Diaz/Daley. They have nothing left for Fitch in the UFC unless they give him a title shot. And this could keep him happy by giving him a title shot in SF. Plus it either kills the value of all of the SF Welterweights if he wins…. Or whoever beats him helps out the UFC and builds another contender for GSP.

      It’s a win/win for the UFC.

      Coker use to barely test his fighters. The UFC is going to test them all and make them earn a decent the rights to get a decent paycheck in the UFC. They might spare a few prospects if they don’t want to rush them along and they know they can still sign them on the cheap. Guys like Woodley would be an example.

      But guys like Brett Rogers, Nick Diaz, and a few others are going to go right into the deep end.

      • Chromium says:

        “I bet we see Jon Fitch vs. Diaz/Daley. They have nothing left for Fitch in the UFC unless they give him a title shot. And this could keep him happy by giving him a title shot in SF. Plus it either kills the value of all of the SF Welterweights if he wins…. Or whoever beats him helps out the UFC and builds another contender for GSP.

        It’s a win/win for the UFC.

        Yeah, the UFC totally bought out StrikeForce and all the fucking fighters there to completely discredit them. Because that totally makes business sense to destroy your investment, especially when you have a track record as the most successful promotion in the history of combat sports. Now Dana White (9% owner of the UFC, and not their primary matchmaker) may have grudges against four or five specific fighters, but you’re being completely stupid. Dana White is not Vince McMahon seeking to discredit everything he didn’t create.

        The UFC absolutely intends to swallow StrikeForce whole but that’s after they’ve built them up, so they can get a fresh burst of momentum when the merger happens and have a string of superfights. Sending Jon Fitch to potentially shit all over their Welterweight division is the dumbest thing they could possibly do, so unless you think the UFC got to where it is because it is run by retards or they actually stand to gain something by discrediting StrikeForce’s entire Welterweight division before they can even make a dime off of them, I think you need to get a grip on reality.

        Also I have no idea why you think that keeping Jon Fitch “happy” is some sort of priority for the UFC but that’s besides the point.

    • Robthom says:

      It really would be a good fit with many advantages to have a viable second cage.
      (SF fits that description MUCH better then WEC did.)

      1. Zuffa can keep things like ortiz sewed up without having to shmutz up a PPV card with his presense.

      2. They could have a place to help out longtime buddies and allies like Baroni, Sinocek, Sakara etc, again without making a mess out of a 50 dollar a pop PPV product.

      3. Those guys all still have entertainment value thats only exposed against top level comp.
      IE: They’d be in a more conductive enviroment to display their assets in the best light.

      4. it would be a great side venue to keep track of guys who are good but are just dragging their feet to see if they can snap out of it without having to let them go yet.

      Like, Vera, Nick Diaz, AA etc.

      It seems like there are a lot of guys who just need to get out of the deep end for a sec and regather themselves and regain their confidence to get back to ass kicking.

      Also guys who are good but painting into a corner like Kflo.

      There are a lot of advantages to be had from this deal even beyond the obvious ones like the roster.

      But I think its gonna be tricky until Zuffa can figure out what to do about m1 in showtimes other ear.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        They could do the same by having a once per month network tv show…. and then turning SpikeTV into the prelims and lesser competition channel.

        The UFC will be on network TV anyways…. As long as the football strike continues.

        • Robthom says:

          True, but I think there could be a nice advantage in perception to seperately market the goofyness (ortiz, barnett) and the mediocre (Baroni, Danzig) from the prime “hardcore” property.

          Absolutely keep giving UFC prelims and TUF for free as leadins to purchase.

          But you could also have a lighter duty, more personality driven product in SF that could compliment without overlapping the UFC’s appeal.

          You could use this to make sure that UFC never has to ask for 50 bucks for an under qualified fluff card like 127 anymore.

          Add a little Jose Conseco or Kimbo Slice and that could have been an acceptable Strikeforce card.

          All of that mediocrity can be shifted over to a much more lighter intensity and appropriatly priced venue on Showtime.

          Where UFC can also run promo’s to encourage purchasing the XL version.

  6. Pierre-Luc Allie says:

    If Showtime wants to stay in the mma business, they should encourage the UFC to eliminate Strikeforce and present UFC evenst on Showtime.

  7. bluerosekiller says:

    BIG cliche time, but…
    $$$ makes for strange bedfellows.
    I say there’s a good chance that at the end of the day the UFC could wind up on Showtime.
    In business, yesterday’s mortal enemy is today’s best friend.
    Premium cable & network television are the two platforms that the UFC has yet to attain. And while Dana White has no love for Showtime’s people & vice versa, wasn’t it HBO that slammed the door shut in his face after almost having a deal done? So, why not Showtime?
    Especially if it also opens the door to CBS.
    Sure, maybe CBS was/is in no hurry to put Strikeforce back on prime time. But the UFC brand is another story altogether.
    So, I think Showtime is in a much better position here than most people do.
    What’s the alternative for Zuffa?
    HBO continues to look down at them & the sport & shows no interest in televising them. Their sports guy is only interested in Golden Boy Champio… er, World Championship Boxing. Plus, even if they did become interested, there have no inroads to a subsequent network TV deal.
    What else is there? Epix?
    Most systems don’t even carry that channel & again, it leads to no network platform…

  8. bluerosekiller says:

    Another thing that Showtime may be able/willing to offer & who’s time is now DEFINITELY overdue is a weekly FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS type of show for the UFC.
    It would be the perfect “feeder” for the bigger shows & the PPVs. Providing the perfect platform for promising new talent & for the Chris Lytles, Scott Smiths etc. of the sport.

  9. bluerosekiller says:

    March 12, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Another thing that’s going to have to be discussed & SOON, is the differences in the cage shape & size, as well as the rules.
    Even in the off chance that Zuffa does keep Strikeforce alive for any longer than they’re contractually obligated to ( which, again, I seriously doubt ), I strongly believe that they should adjust the rules accordingly with the UFC’s. To NOT do so makes no sense in my book.
    While I’m not of the same opinion as Dave Melzer & 45, that the differences are so extreme that they’re basically two different sports ( though to be fair to him, if I remember correctly, 45’s point was with regard to the level of comp. & the way in which fights were made “on the fly” which I’m assuming shouldn’t be such an issue with the influx of Zuffa bucks ), I think they should begin to operate under unified rules ASAP.
    The cage issues can be worked out later, though the adoption of the octagon only makes sense too.
    Anyone disagree?

    Very happy to see that this was taken care of even quicker than I’d hoped it would be.

  10. matthew says:

    I am not sure whay Showtime would want to get out of the contract. This to me seems like they have an opprotunity for them to try and get the UFC on Showtime vs allowing it to goto HBO. Working with zuffa they can improve the current quality of the broadcast. This will also build a relationship with zuffa that they might not have with HBO.

    If they play their card right the UFC\SF might want to reup with Showtime vs trying it all over again with HBO.

    • bluerosekiller says:

      Besides, there has been ZERO interest on HBO’s part in the UFC/MMA since Dana’s near deal with the postfight parking lot spousal abuser fell through when he got canned.
      In fact, the only time the UFC/MMA is mentioned on the network or by one of the brass there, it’s in a negative manner.

      • The Gaijin says:

        Not necessarily. I recall Max Kellerman actually saying good things about it when he speaks of it, in fact, I believe he provided a pretty strong disagreement with Jim Lampley’s negative comments re. mma and has defended mma on more than several occassions.

  11. 45 Huddle says:

    For The UFC to end up on SHO…. SHO will have to pay out more money and give up production authority. That’s not goingto happen.

    2) If anybody thinks that SHO is even 1% happy with this deal…. Listen for the crickets! SHO has said nothing in public. They have to be pissed to be this silent.

    3) SHO is not a good platform for MMA. Not enough eyeballs.

    4) I wouldn’t be shocked that whatever executive signed this deal is in a heap of trouble with his boss. This a multi-million dollar mistake that should nit be happening when SHO was supposed to have all of te power by initially having SF instead of the UFc.

    • Robthom says:

      “3) SHO is not a good platform for MMA. Not enough eyeballs. “

      Oh Gosh please no MORE eyeballs!!!

      More eyeballs = more fanboys, more lawyers and more wamma champions.

  12. 45 Huddle says:

    Bellator got 230,000 for their 2nd week. Replay actually did more at around 240,000. These are probably the numbers they will typically get when no other show is opposite of them. Still weird that the replay did higher numbers.

    Under 1 Million viewers for an event isn’t enough. Under 250,000 is even worse (obviously).

    I still think they are only on MTV2 as an insurance policy just in case the UFC leaves SpikeTV. Which means Zuffa knows this and will make sure that doesn’t happen. Which means Bellator doesn’t have much of a future.

    • Zach Arnold says:

      It does seem to be a game of chicken, doesn’t it?

      I think a big reason the numbers are weird for Bellator is because of the delayed feed. The West Coast doesn’t see the show until 9 their time (as opposed to when Bellator was on FSN and the shows were live on all coasts). So, there may be a situation where some fans on the East Coast saw the show and called up friends on the left coast to say watch it and they did.

      I still contend that anything over 200,000 viewers on MTV2 is a miracle.

  13. bluerosekiller says:

    3) SHO is not a good platform for MMA. Not enough eyeballs.

    What the hell?
    You keep making this statement over & over & it makes no more sense this time than it did on Saturday. None.

    So, what is this magical platform that WILL provide enough eyeballs?
    Network television?
    Well, surprise, right now the very best opportunity the UFC has to get on the highest rated network on television, CBS, is through Showtime.

    Besides, do you really think that premium cable television is a market that the UFC can totally do without ever having been on? I don’t.
    And I don’t believe that Dana & the boys believe so either.

    • bluerosekiller says:

      Not trying to be an ass, but, c’mon, 45. Really?

      Could you not have taken at least a short sabbatical to enjoy Zuffa’s acquisition of Strikeforce before jumping face first & going “all in” on your desire for the demise of Bellator? I mean, seriously…

      I’m here every day & maybe I’ve missed it somewhere along the way, but what exactly is it that you want for the sport of MMA? Or, I should say, the UFC as that’s literally the only brand that you want to exist.
      What is 45 Huddle’s MMA Manifesto?

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Good channels for MMA are stuff like SpikeTV, ESPN, FX, or TBS. Of course Network TV is good as well, but the numbers must be good enough to sustain it.

        HBO and Showtime have hurt boxing more then helped it. It’s not as good of a platform as even what they use to have the USA Tuesday Night Fights….. Which allowed the masses to watch it.

        The masses need to be able to access it. It can’t be inclusive…. Which is what HBO & Showtime end up doing for the sport….

        • bluerosekiller says:

          I find that to be flawed logic 45.
          Premium subscription television networks like Showtime & HBO have offered fights that have been equal to PPV level for over three decades now. There’s plenty of eyeballs there, with even more room to grow with Showtime.

          UFC fans have a finite number of $$$ to spend on PPVs. At the rate they’re going, there’s going to come a point of diminishing returns on them.

          Call me a dinosaur because I want to follow the boxing model ( with the added improvement of regular exposure on network TV say five – six times per year ), but I’d love to see the new Strikeforce roster enhanced UFC end up with a regularly scheduled program of fights of a certain level on a major cable neywork ( FX, ESPN etc.. ), some mis to high level shows on premium cable once a month & then about 10 major PPVs per year.

  14. Tobin says:

    Has everyone forgot that Showtime has the biggest pay per view draw in manny pacquiao? There will be atleast 3 Million people watching the next Manny fight. who wouldn’t want that kind of exposure. MMA is peanuts to what Showtime has in Pacquiao. I am sure this is just a blip on their radar screen

    • Chuck says:

      Three million? Fat chance. The highest bought ppv (boxing nonwithstanding) ever is De La Hoya vs. Mayweather which got 2.4 million buys. No way does Pacquiao match that. Definitely over one million buys, but definitely NOT 3 million.

  15. Sergio says:

    Hey guys a quick question here?

    Not to change to tempo of this thread,But how dose or would this buyout benefit the smaller orgs like Shark Fight,MFC etc…I mean dose this send a a message of any kind to the networks, sponsors etc.that MMA is a potential product to invest in?

    why wouldn’t Shelly Finkel,Pro Elite or any of the other moneybags that made offers to buy SF try to work something out with the smaller orgs? Granted they are not as established as SF but better then starting from scratch.
    Im curious to hear any of your thoughts, opinions

    Thank You!!

    • Zach Arnold says:

      There are certainly people who would be interested in putting money into ‘turn key’ operations. The problem right now is that people in MMA outside of UFC have two major issues against them – time and history. Time, because UFC is so large and has established so much real estate. History, because outside of UFC and PRIDE, everyone else has failed at making money long-term in the business. If/when someone like Showtime gets out of the business entirely, it will have the same effect that Turner pulling away from wrestling had — networks just won’t want to get into the pool and get into wars or headaches they have no desire to create.

  16. Sergio says:

    It will defiantly be interesting to see how it effects all the up n coming orgs,Bellator and the whole business landscape of MMA .Im also curious to know where you guys see MMA in the next 10 years..2020? do you see it as a national sport like NBA,NFL,MLB?which is what Dana/Zuffa are aiming for?
    or will it be a big fad for the next 10-15 years n eventually fade away the way NJPW/K-1/JMMA did? I know scandle n corruption help kill NJPW/K-1/JMMA but alot of my jap contacts told me Japan is a fad driven country.

    Im sure MMA will be huge but will it be able to sustain itself and be accepted in the eyes of the american public and stick around long term AFTER those first 10-15 years? Id like to hear your thoughts,ideas,opinions!
    Thank you!

    • Chuck says:

      How can you mention NJPW? They are still around!! In fact, they are I think doing better now than they have in the last ten years or so. MMA going downhill in Japan helped that a bit, but still.

  17. The Gaijin says:

    You guys seen this kid? Future mma superstar.

  18. Chromium says:

    The Showtime contract seems to be, at a minimum, through February 2012. I believe there are supposed to be something like 10 A-shows and 10 Challenger shows each year, although that could be out the window now, I don’t know.

    It actually makes a fair amount of sense that they wouldn’t swallow StrikeForce whole right now anyway for a number of reasons:

    -A number of top fighters are contracted to Showtime, not StrikeForce, and most of them have non-exclusive contracts. It would make a lot more sense for the UFC to ride out those contracts so they could sign exclusive Zuffa deals.

    -The UFC has a lot of ways that they can cross-promote StrikeForce, on their tv shows, on their free events, on PPV, or hell, Gina Carano is promotion one of their video games right now. The UFC can get these fighters exposure, build them up properly in their own brand, and when they do the merger a bit further down the line those fighters will mean more to casual fans, and they can then do a string of superfights.

    -Both the UFC and StrikeForce have too many fighters on their roster for the number of events they run. The UFC is still trimming down their roster from the WEC merger, and StrikeForce/Showtime somehow have close to 200 fighters under contract, even if they don’t use all of them. Zuffa needs to get that number down a lot before they merge their rosters. It also would help if they got rid of any people that might have grudges against Zuffa by then, especially if they don’t have a significant upside (Frank Shamrock, Matt Lindland). Not to mention the fact that they already have event dates planned through most of 2011 already. They will need to be planning well in advance to accommodate a newly enlarged roster.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      I wouldn’t be shocked if they put out 12 fight cards with decently stacked undercards for SF. They might lose a few bucks on each show that way, but it will save them long term by pruning that talent pool sooner and cutting the fighters who can’t cut it.

      The HW GP is already going to do that for them at HW. The winner is likely to get a nice contract with the UFC. Maybe even PPV percentages. The rest will be on the typical Zuffa contracts.

  19. TheJudge says:

    It doesn’t make any sense for UFC (eh, sorry, Zuffa) to run a money-losing product just to hurt Showtime. Especially since the scenario you outline suggests a significantly money-losing product and not just not trying too hard to run a profit. By the same token, it is unlikely that the Showtime-Strikeforce deal is set up so that Showtime is obligated to finance attempts to acquire any fighter Strikeforce wants and that the bottom line is solely on Showtime responsibility. There are usually precautions in every deal, and there probably were in Showtime-Strikeforce that would prevent the latter from running a horrible show and expecting to continue to get paid. Otherwise it would be easy to sign the deal with a cable network for millions and quickly. Showtime will probably finance any deals with top fighters now, and they should, the guys they sign now would still be bound to them for 3 years. Once it comes to 2014, of course they won’t agree to pay for multifight deals.

    • Nepal says:

      Actually they wouldn`t be losing money to hurt Showtime, they would be losing money in order to get all the best fighters lined up for the inevitable merger to UFC.

      The increase in costs to put better fighters on the undercard would amount to an increase of maybe $5K to $8K per fighter times 10 fighters (5 fights). Doing the math, that`s $50 to $80K per event in extra costs. Zuffa is paying millions for this acquisition, an extra million over the life of the contract is just the cost of doing business.

      Why would fighters align themselves with Showtime, would they really want themselves contracted to a non-Zuffa company

      Only the guys that the UFC don`t want would agree to that.

      It is in the interest of both Showtime and Zuffa to run good shows.

      • TheJudge says:

        If Zuffa gets the “best fighters” for Strikeforce, Showtime won’t lose money. They will do good for 3 years, and then the partnership will end.

        Out of the 22 people who fought on UFC 127 (last card for which I have info) 14 got paid 20 thousand or less. 9 got 10 k or less. But the entire undercard of New Year’s card got at least 30K, and that’s before the bonuses (average payout was 60K. The Hendersons-Machidas of this world are easily 100, pre-bonus, each. So it all depends on what you mean by better fighters. I doubt the card’s payroll is of no consideration.

        Fighters would not “align” themselves with Showtime, they would sign with Strikeforce, because it’s better exposure and pay than semi-main eventing somewhere in Oregon. And they would improve their relationship with White.

        If UFC wants you, Strikeforce won’t make an offer. I can’t imagine a serious bidding war for services between two branches of the same company. There might be some squibbling but not much, especially when one company will probably be favored by the upper boss.


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