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.
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.