Strikeforce 6/27 Aftermath

June 28, 2008

The attendance for the show has to be looked at as a success. I felt that anything over and above the 6500 range would be a good draw, and announced attendance for the show was 7,448. That is a strong number, indicating they are doing a good job of retaining fans even when the bigger names aren’t on the card.

Building the company so that the brand is the draw is vitally important for Strikeforce. Frank Shamrock only has one fight left on his contract and Cung Le’s status for fighting is uncertain due to his burgeoning movie career. Mike Afromowitz of Strikeforce said he expects Le to fight again in 08, but it would seem that Le is going to be on a reduced schedule from here on due to his other opportunities. The success of this show at the gate has to bode well for the promotion’s ability to draw well in the absence of these two fighters.

Josh Thomson came away with the victory over Gilbert Melendez in the evening’s main event. Thomson entered the contest the lesser star of the two fighters, so Strikeforce has to hope this win will give him a credibility boost. Gilbert Melendez came into the fight the bigger name, and the question now is where he goes from here. There is a possible immediate rematch with Thomson, but the better idea may be a slow build to a rematch 2 or 3 fights down the line, giving Melendez a chance to re-establish momentum with audience. Losing two in a row to Thomson would have to hurt Melendez’s ability to draw. Delaying the rematch also gives Coker time to hype the fight. Pairing the two against differing fighters on the same card may be a way of building heat for a re-match by the end of the year or early next year.

Other efforts to build up younger fighters on the card were mixed. Much hype before the card centered on World Combat League veteran Raymond Daniels and his attempt to translate his excellent striking abilities to an MMA environment. Judging from the fight Daniels is lost in translation as he was barely able to establish any kind of offense in what was generally seen as a on-sided affair. While Cung Le has been successful in translating his talent from another discipline, Strikeforce’s moves to use strikers Brian Schwartz and Daniels have been failures by any objective measure. One bright spot may be Billy Evangelista extending his unbeaten streak on the card.

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