T Nation

Strikeforce Changing for the Better or Worse?


#1

I am a little concerned abount strikeforce in this push for expansion. They seem to be fundamentally changing the company in a very short amount of time. This is completely contrary to how they have grown to this point.

Scott has been doing this for a long time and certainly knows what he is doing, but the changes made in the last 6 months or so are huge. I have worked for a couple of companies (not in fighting) that did this with very poor results.

Buying EliteXC - I have no idea what the business relationship is, but it appears to me that Showtime is exerting considerable control over the fights that they are involved in. Referense the fact that it has taken so long to get the undercard fights confirmed for Carano .vs Cyborg and the fact that Showtime released them.

CBS takes an interest and we will see even less of Scott Coker. Scott has put on good fights for a very long time, I hope he doesn't lose control over Strikeforce.

My guess it the purchase of EliteXC was a "now or never" opportunity. They may not have been looking to make that kind of move, but the opporunity may not have presented itself again. My guess is that this purchase has provided the pressure to grow rapidly and has fueled many of the business decisions made after.

Co-promotion with M1 - Again, no idea what the details are on the business relationship, but this does not make much sense to me. M-1 is putting on one of what it calls its "Premium" fight cards. This card is headlined by King Mo vs. Mark Kerr and co-headlined by an exibition (commercial) between Fedor and Mousasi.

It has also had to change the venue at the last minute. Not to a nearby event center, but from CA to KS. M-1 appears to have zero to offer in the way of co-promotion. One can only hope, for Strikeforce's sake, that this is merely thowing M-1 a bone to get Fedor, and that they don't actually participate in the promotion.

Co-promotion with Dream - Dream has a decent stable of fighters in a couple of weight classes. I can see fighter sharing being advantageous to both. They also know how to put on a show. My concern here is the financial rumors about Dream being true.

No money, not paying fighters, etc. Not the type of partner I would want if they truly were co-promoting events. Hopefully it doesn't evolve past fighter sharing. Strikeforce sharing responsibility for promotion (and all that goes with it) of an overseas card with M-1 and Dream seems to present some risk to me.

In my opinion, Strikeforce has been the best place for fighters not interested in going to the UFC, not able to go the UFC, or leaving the UFC to end up and get good quality fights. They have put on great fights between well matched apponenents.

My perception of them was that they were more interested in good fights than money fights or helping marketable fighters along with questionable match-ups. My concern is that they fall victim to pressure to do a few things:

Marketable fighters on every card no matter the quality of the match-up. Relying on a small number of fighters to fill bigger venues, sell PPV, or put on televised fights with big ratings is risky business. If you have a huge stable of big name fighters the risk is minimized, but banking on couple of fighters to ensure the success of a years worth of big fights seem risky to me.

Bringing marketable fighters along. Again, even with the quality of fighters in the UFC, it can be annoying to see them make an obvious attempt to protect a marketable or up and coming fighters record. This is what really turned me off to boxing, and I think we are seeing the beginning stages of this in the UFC.

With the talent they have, it's pretty tough to feed guys complete cream puffs which make it a bit more tolerable than when other promotions do it. Nobody wants to see talented newbies thrown to the wolves, but sometimes it can be a bit obvious that someone is being "saved" for a title run. Is anyone really that interested in King Mo or Lashley fights? How many people want to see them fight a little better competition? I do.

Planned title contention. This is pretty similar to the scenario above. I think it's a bit different because of what we saw with Lesnar. They could have certainly found easier apponents for him to fight, ala the scenario above, but he still got thrown into title contention much too fast for most fans. We also see this in Dream with tourney brackets not being set until they see who wins the fight before, always assuring there is a Japanese fighter in both brackets of the final.

Again, my perception of Strikeforce was that they didn't have a horse in the race so to speak. They were more interested in putting on good fights than who actually won the fight. Hell, they haven't seemed too concerned about regular title defenses. This could be far from the truth but it was always my perception.

You can't blame them for wanting to grow the organization and make some money. You also can't help selfish fans like myself being a little concerned about losing our small Strikeforce to corporate interests and big money fights/fighters.


#2

Good post. An affiliation with M1 is questionable, but has some obvious benefits.. their latest shennanigans: http://www.mmashare.com/m-1-ufc-update-ufc-says-m-1-mislead-mousasi-on-contract-t9156.html Apparently they lied to Mousasi with regards to the contract the UFC was offering him. There is no way to dress this up nicely and I suspect M1's shady practices will turn into a major thing sooner rather than later, as was the case with Pride.


#3

I believe that is the Affliction business "model". If Strikeforce really shift to this direction, they might as well start making tacky 200 $ t shirts too.


#4

I read about the Mousasis thing as well. Who knows what the whole story is. I wonder how many fights Mousasi has left on his contract with M-1. I wonder if he's hired a lawyer? The fact that there has been nothing else reported on this is interesting.

Alex doesn't have anything nice to say about M-1 either.

We haven't heard any recent complaints about Dream and their payroll issues. Hopefully that is behind them now.


#5

I also find it a little concerning how this next card is shaping up.

Overeem out
Thomson out
Riggs out
Diaz out