11 for 11: No. 2 Zuffa buys Strikeforce

December 30, 2011

The second biggest business story of the year shook the state of MMA. In March, Zuffa purchased its biggest rival, Strikeforce.

It was reported that the purchase price was $40 million which included some debt repayment by Zuffa for Strikeforce. The deal occurred as Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment, main financial backer of Strikeforce, wanted to refocus its business on its NHL, the San Jose Sharks and other business. It is also believed that it may be trying to acquire an NBA team to San Jose.

Excellent coverage of the purchase is here and here is the text of the official Zuffa press release. Prior to Zuffa’s purchase, MMAPayout learned that there were other bidders for Strikeforce but Zuffa came up with the biggest monetary deal.

Prior to the purchase, Strikeforce was in the midst of its Heavyweight Grand Prix which was supposed to create interest in what was arguably the best divsion in the sport. Surely, Strikeforce execs were hoping for a Fedor-Overeem Final. Fedor’s upset loss to Bigfoot Silva made the GP less appealing. And, a futile effort to hold a card in Japan for its HW Grand Prix caused a delay in the tournament.

From the start, Zuffa stated that UFC and Strikeforce would operate separately although Zuffa execs (you know who) would provide input on its show starting with its April 9th show. The constant talking point was “Business as usual.”

But, that’s not the case as we’ve seen numerous Strikeforce fighters move over to the UFC. Notably, Strikeforce welterweight champ Nick Diaz. Other fighters such as UFC 141’s main eventer Alistair Overeem came over to the UFC after time fighting in Strikeforce. In addition, some Strikeforce staff were let go and replaced by Zuffa employees. Finally, Scott Coker has lost a lot of power in the new regime as it appears from interviews that he no longer has any say with the direction of Strikeforce.

Recently, Strikeforce and Showtime agreed to renew its television contract which was somewhat of a surprise considering the fact that many believed that Strikeforce would be consumed by the UFC.

It will be interesting to see the Strikeforce product in 2012. How will it compete, or complement the UFC product? Who is the face of Strikeforce? Certainly, a Gilbert Melendez and Mo Lawal would have fit in nicely with the UFC creating interesting fights. But, it appears that they will be in Strikeforce for at least the next year.

Links to MMAPayout coverage regarding the Zuffa-Strikeforce purchase can be found here:

Zuffa Purchases Strikeforce, Agrees to Blockbuster MMA Deal

Mystery Strikeforce Third Bidder, Early Signs Of Sale, & UFC Purchase Notes

Exploring Why SVSE Walked Away from Strikeforce & MMA

3 Responses to “11 for 11: No. 2 Zuffa buys Strikeforce”

  1. Chris on December 30th, 2011 8:07 AM

    Hoping for a Fedor/Reem final?

    They were on the same side of the bracket, they would have had to fight each other in the second round not the finals.

  2. Jason Cruz on December 30th, 2011 8:25 AM

    @Chris

    You are right Chris. Sorry guys. I meant Fedor/Overeem semis with one of them facing Barnett. Can’t imagine Arlovski, Rogers or Kharitonov would be a draw against Fedor or Reem.

  3. Blade on December 31st, 2011 9:31 AM

    Does anyone else think that, in an effort to make Strikeforce an alternative to UFC moving forward, they should start using a ring instead of a cage? That change alone would go a long way to giving Strikeforce its own identity.

    Not to mention the fact that the idea of woman fighting in a cage is very off-putting for many people. I think them fighting in a ring would suprisely create a different mentality. There are women that compete in pro wrestling and boxing in rings, however, beautiful women fighting in a cage just seems wrong.

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