The big news this weekend, if you've been living under a rock, was Zuffa's (parent company of the UFC) purchase of Strikeforce. While some writers/sites decided to write 17 columns about it, contradicting themselves every step of the way, and even worse, comparing this, a real sports league acquisition to that of pre wrasslin, I decided to read , research, and take it all in before dissecting this huge announcement.
This is by far the biggest news to come out of the MMA world in a long time. Strikeforce is the number two organization, and has rapidly been growing over the last few years. When push comes to shove though, their talent pool isn't deep, they don't have many events (compared to the UFC), and most of the big name heavyweights probably won't ever fight in the UFC. So why exactly did Dana White go out and purchase Strikeforce?
As of right now, aside from heavyweight (where Strikeforce has four of the top 10 fighters), Strikefore has six fighters in the top 10 spread out over six weight classes. Out of those six, three are former UFC fighters. One is Paul Daley (#10 welterweight) who according to Dana White will never fight in the UFC again, and another is Dan Henderson (#10 middleweight, and current Strikeforce light heavyweight champion), who currently makes 250k per fight for Strikeforce. The UFC made it clear that they aren't willing to pay Henderson this kind of money when they essentially let Strikeforce have him after his last UFC contract had expired.
Melendez is ranked the highest (currently the #3 lightweight). He also has no fights left on his current Strikeforce contract and has been very vocal about proving himself against the best. Melendez has always been loyal to Strikeforce, presumably because he and Strikeforce are both products of the bay area.
Nick Diaz, the current Strikeforce welterweight champion, and arguably Strikeforce's biggest star (and currently ranked #8 welterweight), just signed an extension with Strikeforce that pays him very well (he made 250k his last fight), and is currently slated to face Paul Daley on April 9.
Strikeforce currently has four of the top 10 heavyweights, and seven of the top 15. With this statistic, and the success of the first event of the heavyweight grand prix and the buzz it created in the MMA world, some would argue that Zuffa bought Strikeforce for the heavyweight division.
I personally beg to differ for a multitude of reasons. Alistair Overeem (currently ranked #7), likes to compete in K-1 and also likes to fight for Dream. Co-promotion and/or fighting for another promotion is not allowed by Zuffa. Also, most UFC stars fight 2-4 times a year. Overeem has fought thirteen times over the last two years, and admittedly likes to stay active.
Fedor Emelianenko and Josh Barnett (#9 and #11 respectively) both either dislike Dana White, or are disliked by White. Either way, overcoming that hurdle will be a difficult one to overcome. Not only that. Fedor is controlled by M-1, and also is rumored to have more a contract with Showtime than with Strikeforce.
There is the video library and the Showtime deal. Thing is, Dana White has burned the Showtime bridge, and something tells me that the video library isn't worth forty million dollars (what the rumored cost of the acquisition was).
Do you guys want my opinion as to why Dana White (Zuffa) bought Strikeforce? Ego, and I see nothing wrong with that! Sure we will get some great match ups, but more importantly, Zuffa expands their roster, moving one step closer to putting on 52 shows per year (what White has always said he wants, an event every week).
I've seen some people saying this deal is a bad thing for MMA. How? Because it's a monopoly? Ever heard of the NFL, NBA, or MLB? I for one am very excited t the possibility of having all the top fighters under one banner, fighting for world titles that actually mean something (boxing titles mean absolutely zero).
What do you guys think about the deal and what it potentially means for the fighters, but more importantly for us the fans?