Wow! This is like Vince buying WCW....except even bigger, because Strikeforce actually has TV contracts with Showtime (and presumably CBS) and by the time they get to "inter-promotional" dream matches, UFC probably won't bury the Strikeforce guys in their first go round. (Well, MOST of them, anyway. I could see some strategic matchmaking done...ah, no fantasy booking please)
Did ANYBODY see this coming? I haven't been up on my MMA media lately, but I didn't even hear a sniff of a rumour from the folks who follow this who I follow. If it was rumoured, maybe they couldn't take it seriously - I know I wouldn't have.
There were no hints of this coming as far as I knew (but this was probably a poor week to skip over the WON's MMA section)
Important tidbits from the video - Strikeforce will be operated as a separate entity. Dana was very definitive about this, though I don't think anyone can believe it to be staying that way over the long term. Scott Coker will continue to run Strikeforce without any influence from the UFC (Zuffa will own both) and no one at Strikeforce is losing their jobs - not people behind the scenes, not people in the ring who had past conflicts with Dana. There will be no more UFC vs Strikeforce match than there is now (none), though they might advertise on each other's events and Zuffa owns the Strikeforce video libary. All deals made with Strikeforce previously will be honored.
- Dana's goal is to be THE MMA promotion in not just the US, but in the World, and it sounds like StrikeForce is going to be used to go places UFC doesn't go - perhaps much more internationally - though they will still run the 'home' cities as much as they want. Neither side will lock each other out of buildings. It seems like UFC does this because they're concerned about the UFC brand being over extended, but this still allows Zuffa to establish a foothold in more locales by running more show with more top guys.
- Both sides will still compete for talent - Strikeforce will make moves on UFC guys, UFC will do the same - they're not looking to bleed Strikeforce dry. This is a brand extension, quite like RAW and SmackDown! if WWE took it as seriously as they pretend they do.
It's possibly very important for Dana to say this for anti-trust reasons, but it's hard to believe there won't eventually be collusion. There's no reason for Zuffa to be in a bidding war against Zuffa.
- Paul Daley's contract will be honored, though Dana says his UFC side will still not ever sign him. Fedor and M-1's deals with Strikeforce and Showtime will be honored and he won't be brought over to UFC unless they signed him later. Showtime owns the right to produce Stirkeforce shows, so they'll be still be done that way.
- Dana still doesn't think Women's MMA is deep enough to have divisions in a major promotion, but that remains Scott Coker and Strikeforce's call.
I watched the whole interview with Dana White, and it seemed like a... strange interview (especially for a 21 minute interview). He seemed fairly diplomatic, which I expected, but his repeated "business as usual" claims just seemed odd to me. I mean, clearly things have changed in a major way, and to downplay it in the manner he did was odd - especially considering some of the very negative things he has said about Strikeforce.
Originally posted by thecubsfanIt's possibly very important for Dana to say this for anti-trust reasons, but it's hard to believe there won't eventually be collusion. There's no reason for Zuffa to be in a bidding war against Zuffa.
I think he's saying this more to protect the UFC brand. He's was so vocally negative about Strikeforce that the last thing he wants to see, just as an example, is "losing streak" Fedor come over to UFC and get a fluke knock out on Cain Velasquez or even Brock Lesnar. He's not going to rush into anything that would jeopardize UFC. That's my take, at least.
The rumbling I am hearing--which would make Dana's unusually subdued demeanor make a lot of sense--have it that Strikeforce's contracts are still in effect, including a TV deal that lasts another two years or so, and Zuffa wants to let them run their course before making any big changes. It wouldn't surprise me if we saw another UFC/WEC-style situation, with cross-advertising at first, a bit of fighter crossover over time, followed by a marketing push for Strikeforce, concluded by the folding of the two groups together years down the line.
CRZ, this came out of absolutely nowhere. There had been jokes about it happening someday in the far future, but unless this all happened in the last forty-eight hours, they've done a masterful job of hiding the negotiations.
Nous ne nous pouvons pas sortir. I wonder if we have Jason Miller and the Caesar Gracie boys acting a fool and getting Strikeforce locked out of CBS for this, or if it was over (Fedor) spending that did this.
I think the other thing that helps SF remain autonomous (for now) is that UFC guys compete only in the UFC, and Strikeforce guys can compete overseas.
Speaking of which, both Dream and Sengoku have been on shaky legs for a while now (you think WWE has ratings woes? Look up the numbers for the Japanese MMA New Years Shows) combined with their mass talent exodus (Omigawa and Kid Yamamoto to the UFC/Marlon Sandro, Megumi Fujii and Satoshi Ishii to Bellator/Aoki, Zaromskis, and Kawajiri bolting to compete at Strikeforce whenever possible) I'd say the odds of one or both of the Japanese big two (and their tape libraries) becoming one with the UFC in the next year or two are very good.
And if the Arena Football League keeps the NFL from an antitrust suit, then King of the Cage is enough to keep the UFC safe... not to mention Bellator.
I am going to have to quote Jeremy Borash on this, "UFC buying Strike Force is huge news. Now let's see if Rick Martel and Tito Santana can get done in the Octagon!"
Petty humor aside, this does remind me of Vince buying WCW except it seems that the UFC has (or had) a stronger hold on the MMA world than the WWE did on the pro wrestling world. I also saw the clip where Dana White was interviewed for over 20 minutes and the stuff he said where Strike Force will be its seperate entity will last for the next couple years (or whenever the contracts expire) but after that, I am unsure if Dana White will keep Strike Force seperated as it is now.
Good interview by Dana but almost anyone can get the feeling that Strike Force will not remain standing on its own legs in the distant future.
Nice knowing ya, Strikeforce. If anyone seriously believes that UFC won't absorb them like they did with WEC, then I have some oceanfront property in Arizona that may be of interest. I heard the same thing with PRIDE, and we all know what happened there.
Was Strikeforce in bad financial form that the only way they could continue on would be by buyout?
Actually, I don't think Strikeforce was really in any sort of monetary limbo. At least according to Wikipedia their gate totals were usually bigger than those of the UFC's, they had a solid foothold on Showtime (stats on whether Spike or Showtime is in more households aren't on me), though as such they didn't make the PPV dollars at all. Granted, this is about 10 minutes worth of Google searching, but Strikeforce didn't seem like it was in any trouble whatsoever.
As far as other business savvy notions are concerned, Zuffa is now putting product on TV not only courtesy of Viacom but also CBS Corporation as well (a trick Jason Miller has already accomplished.) Granted, they're definitely not sitting on either company's most prestigious channel, but perhaps Dana White is extending his company and the sport by proxy for the sake of getting more outlets available for the Zuffa name to show up on.
Also, by the numbers, the UFC had record numbers in terms of PPV buyrates and revenue in 2010. No clue how that factors in, just food for thought.
And no, in 3 years there probably will be no such thing as Strikeforce.
"Laugh and the world laughs with you. Frown and the world laughs at you." -Me.
Strikeforce was owned by Coker and "San Jose Sports & Entertainment Enterprises", who own the HP Pavillion, the SJ Sharks, and may own other buildings. Meltzer's story is the San Jose group was happy owning the promotion when it was a regional promotion giving the Pavillion some extra dates, but not as interested when it aimed to be a worldwide competitor to the UFC. It's not phrased like they needed the money, but they weren't interested in the war. San Jose had been looking to sell for some months, had another bidder, Zuffa heard about it in December and since outbid. Coker didn't have the power to stop it.
Fedor losing and (probably more so) the post match cage fight led to this, both making the property less attractive and easier for Zuffa to pick it up. I'd argue this is still a ripple effect from Kimbo Slice getting beat on CBS, now very long ago, and Petruzzili telling people that he was told not to go to the ground. CBS was close to buying EliteXC, which would've made them the national competitor to UFC, and San Jose Sports would not have sold a still-regional Striekforce.
This makes tons of sense and it's about time for the merge. UFC is the largest MMA organization in the world and it was kind of crazy that they operated this weird little side brand that had the lighter weight classes.