Strikeforce: Sarah Kaufman vs Roxanne Modafferi Build Up and Aftermath

July 28, 2010

MMAFighting and E. Casey Leydon from AllElbows collaborated on a three-part behind-the-scenes series featuring this past weekends title bout participants between Strikeforce 135 lbs champ Sarah Kaufman and #1 contender Roxanne Modafferri.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

ESPN Features Sarah Kaufman’s Slam as the #4 “Top 10 Play of the Weekend”:

MMAPayout Perspective:

As previously reported, the Strikeforce Challengers 9 event drew 197,000 Showtime viewers this past Friday night.  The peak audience of the show took place during the Kaufman vs Modafferi co-main event which drew 254,000 viewers.  In fact, the main event between Shane Del Rosario and Lolahea Mahe saw a drop of 28,000 viewers for the nights headliner.

A big storyline coming into and out of the event was the decision made by Strikeforce to relegate the women’s title bout as the co-main event on a Challenger’s card. Sarah Kaufman was outspoken about continuing to fight on Challenger cards as the Strikeforce champ, and felt it was time for her to start fighting on the bigger Strikeforce events.  It was a great storyline in hindsight considering how emphatically Kaufman was able to finish the fight and how fans have gathered around her and supported her, in the process becoming a flag bearer for women’s MMA in the North American scene.

What most likely prompted Strikeforce to make the decision was what occurred during the last Strikeforce Challengers card in San Jose which was headlined by Sarah Kaufman and Takayo Hashi.  Although the ratings peaked at 189K for that nights main event between Kaufman and Hashi, the audiance at the San Jose Civic Auditorium started to exit the venue half-way through the fight, and was nearly empty when the winner was declared at the end of the 5th round.  Some blame was given to Kaufman by median and fans after the event for not doing enough to finish her over-matched opponents, similar criticism that UFC MW champ Anderson Silva received for his previous performance against Demian Maia.

The good news to all parties involved here is that with all the buzz coming out of the event (ESPN featuring Kaufman’s slam in SportsCenter and also trending on Twitter), Strikeforce and Sarah Kaufman received some very valuable mainstream attention this weekend.  In fact, SportsCenter host Stuart Scott mentioned Strikeforce 145 lbs female champ Cristy Cyborg as someone he would want to see take on Kaufman:

“I want to see her fighting Cristy ‘Cyborg,’ though” said Scott, referring to Strikeforce’s women’s middleweight champ  Cristiane Santos. “I’m just saying.”

Strikeforce is picking up momentum for their women’s division, and whether you are an advocate of it or not, you can’t deny that what happened this weekend was good for Strikeforce, Kaufman, Modafferi, and women’s MMA.  Their upcoming August Challengers event in Phoenix will feature some other standouts in the 135 lbs division like Miesha Tate and Hitomi Akano.  The winner of the 1 night GP will be a contender for the belt after Kaufman makes her next title defense against Marloes Coenen (if she is able to cut the necessary weight) in the near future.  Keeping the division flowing with worthy contenders is a must for Strikeforce, which can now boast of having 3 female fighters that have recently surfaced in the mainstream: Gina Carano, Cris Cyborg, and Sarah Kaufman.

Using these behind the scenes videos not only builds up buzz leading up to the fight, but it’s another way for Strikeforce to communicate to their fan-base, the media, and to the general public.  Creating more of these videos helps improve the product and creates more awareness for their fighters, aspects that fans feel could be greatly improved by the promotion.

5 Responses to “Strikeforce: Sarah Kaufman vs Roxanne Modafferi Build Up and Aftermath”

  1. Tweets that mention Strikeforce: Sarah Kaufman vs Roxanne Modafferi Build Up and Aftermath : MMAPayout.com: The Business of MMA -- Topsy.com on July 28th, 2010 5:00 AM

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  2. Machiel Van on July 28th, 2010 8:41 AM

    Yes, yes, yes, more video content leading up to fight cards is one of the key elements that Strikeforce needs to implement in their promotion. While Strikeforce may not be able to afford an all out “countdown” type show (at least I hope they can’t because if they can they should already be producing them), these kind of video blogs at least give fans a look at the personality of the fighters, which can often have a polarizing effect and cause fans to get behind one of the fighters, giving them an investment in who wins. This is very important when it comes to drumming up interest in their fight cards, and there are so many times this type of ancillary programing could have been implemented. We don’t need a Coker video blog (God forbid), but any of this type of behind-the-scenes footage is great. Dana White’s video blogs are interesting because they give fans a small window through which they can see some of the things that happen behind the scenes at weigh-ins, press conferences, and even in the front rows of live events.

  3. Machiel Van on July 28th, 2010 9:01 AM

    Sometimes they focus too much on Dana White, such as the latest one that featured him hitting golf balls off of a rooftop (why the hell was that something anyone thought the fans would care about?). Content that focuses on the fighters themselves, like those videos above, are much more interesting and should be implemented more often by promotions and the fighters themselves. I’m sure some fighters will claim that filming segments like these interrupts training and is a distraction, but how much time does it really take to put together a few simple 8 minute video segments during the 6-8 weeks of training? If I were a fighter, I would try to get a lot of this stuff on the internet to let fans in and increase interest in my fights. When things like video blogs are so easy and inexpensive to make and post on the web, the onus can’t be entirely on the promotions to market the fighters, they should do some of it themselves.

  4. Machiel Van on July 28th, 2010 9:03 AM

    And yes Sarah, you did look ridiculous in that hat.

  5. shawn on July 29th, 2010 2:44 PM

    Way to go Sarah, The city of Victoria is producing alot of great fighters and you are at the top of the list! I hope the local press picks up on you………

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