It’ll be the culmination of a relationship that began in March 2008 when the “Strikeforce: Le vs. Shamrock” event aired on Showtime. Since then Strikeforce has had its moments from signing heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko to Dan Henderson leaving the UFC and becoming the Strikeforce light heavyweight champion.
Ironically, Henderson is now back in the UFC and Emelianenko is now retired from the sport.
It’s sad to watch a promotion like Strikeforce come to an end. It was clear that Strikeforce was not going move forward after being acquired by Zuffa in March 2011. Fighters began jumping from Strikeforce to the UFC and the rest is history according to Showtime Sports VP Stephen Espinoza.
However, it’s probably the best thing that could happen for most people in the industry and here’s why:
- Some deserving Strikeforce fighters will have the opportunity to compete in the UFC
- Other Strikeforce fighters will be able to move on to other promotions
- Showtime will be able to sign and work with a MMA promotion(s) that want to grow their brand
There are elite fighters under the Strikeforce banner that have been fighting inferior competition. There are fighters like Gilbert Melendez, Luke Rockhold, Jacare Souza, and Nate Marquardt who deserve to fight against the Anderson Silva’s and Ben Henderson’s of the world.
The fighters that need more seasoning will not be stuck in limbo with a promotion that clearly isn’t going anywhere and only holding events five times a year. That’s potentially more money in their pockets and the opportunity to gain much needed MMA experience.
The best part about Strikeforce bowing out is that Showtime will have the opportunity to work with an organization that wants to put on great shows and grow their brand. There are several legitimate promotions out there vying for a TV deal that will help get them more exposure which helps both the promotion and the fighters themselves. Promotions like Invicta FC, XFC, and the RFA are all potential suitors for Showtime. It’s clear that Showtime wants to stay in the MMA business as well so it’ll be interesting to see which promotion(s) they decide to sign.
The Strikeforce era will end on Saturday night, but that door closing will become an opportunity for a new era to begin.
Be sure to make ProMMAnow (www.prommanow.com) your home for Strikeforce coverage on Saturday night.