Top 10 of 2012: No. 2 The end of Strikeforce

December 31, 2012

MMA Payout’s No. 2 business story of 2012 is the demise of Strikeforce.  January 12th will be the end of the organization after 27 years of existence and 7 as an MMA promotion.

The purchase of Strikeforce by Zuffa was for a reported $40 million and repayment of debt.  Dana White has denied Zuffa trying to dissolve the company once it was acquired but the acquisition saw fighters moving over to the UFC.  With the purchase, management changed (although Scott Coker was still in “charge,” White oversaw the operations) and with that change it included an end to Strikeforce Challengers.  With two canceled events in September and November and the UFC signing of Ronda Rousey, the writing was on the wall.

250px-StrikeforceLogo

When White eliminated himself from talks with Showtime to extend the Strikeforc e contract due to the adverse relationship he had with its execs, it was apparent that this would be a detriment to the existence of the company.   And then the last straw may have been Showtime nixing changes White wanted for Strikeforce: Columbus.

According to MMA Junkie, Showtime and Zuffa each have rights to the Strikeforce library.  White was vague as to the duration of Showtime’s rights.  Showtime may gain some ratings with reruns of Ronda Rousey and Alistair Overeem fights but we will have to wait and see as to what Showtime will do with the library rights.

It was unlikely that Strikeforce could compete in the long run with the UFC prior to the purchase.   The concept that Strikeforce could operate as a separate entity but still owned by Zuffa was not likely either.  The best that could have happened was that it be a minor league to the UFC.  But, with the number of UFC events increasing, the Strikeforce niche became smaller and smaller.  It also became a losing proposition.  For Zuffa, it was a smart business decision to close the promotion and move over fighters it thought talented enough to bring to the UFC.

5 Responses to “Top 10 of 2012: No. 2 The end of Strikeforce”

  1. codemaster on January 1st, 2013 1:08 AM

    All I can say is–finally it is done.

    Showtime penny-pinched its way out of the MMA market. Showtime thought they could produce shows better than the UFC model–which was poor judgement on their part. This was a huge failure by Showtime. Love or hate Dana White–he knows how to build a promotion and produce a show. Showtime executive egos clashed with Dana’s legendary ego–and the result was Showitme lost out.

    On the other hand, yet another MMA promotion is folded into the UFC making it stronger. The UFC had already been raiding Strikeforce talent once it became apparent Showtime was not ready to do business, but now that Strikeforce is to be closed down, a number of high profile–and a few lower profile fighters have been acquired for the UFC.

    The UFC now has a lock on the very best MMA fighters in the world. No competitor currently exists for the UFC–not even Bellator. The UFC’s competitive position is dominant globally, and is likely to remain dominant for the forseeable future. This dominance allows the UFC to keep a cap on salaries/payouts to fighters–preventing a sport-killing inflation in salary/payout demands.

    Fortunately for the UFC fighters, the promotion pays fairly well–and this is a wise practice by Zuffa–UFC. If the UFC were to become too greedy, and underpay their fighters–a competitive space would be available for a new, well-heeled promotion to raid some top fighters to seed their fledgling MMA business. Paying their fighters well is insurance against serious competition.

  2. Sampson Simpson on January 1st, 2013 4:40 PM

    If Strikeforce never built up anything of value then WHY IN THE HELL WOULD UFC PAY over $30 million for it?

    Your argument is garbage.

    Now this opens up another network to build another competitor to UFC just like Strikeforce did over the years… stupid move from UFC. Should have left them as a place holder to block competitors.

  3. CodeMaster on January 2nd, 2013 4:27 PM

    The value of Strikeforce, as with Pride, and WEC were the fighter contracts.

    Strikeforce had built a HW tournament roster which rivaled or exceeded the talent in the UFC. The HW’s in combat sports are the marquee weight class–and the UFC could not allow another promotion to beat them in this crucial area.

    To a lesser extent, the library and rights to the strikeforce fighter’s was also of value.

    Finally, 30 million is peanuts for eliminating your only viable competitor for a billion dollar plus promotion.

    Sampson–you must have gotten a haircut at Delilah’s boutique–your arguments are so weak.

    ‘ )

  4. Sampson Simpson on January 2nd, 2013 5:43 PM

    And your arguments were asinine from the get go… Showtime penny pinching its way out of the MMA market?

    Ridiculous.

    They built up their brand and fighters to a level that UFC perceived them as a threat. Zuffa bought them and raided their stable of top talent.

    Why do I waste my time with idiots…?

  5. codemaster on January 7th, 2013 5:13 PM

    Now Simpson, you know if you didn’t waste time with idiots you couldn’t live with yourself.

    ‘ )

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