UFC purchase of Strikeforce conference call updates and live blog

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) today (March 14, 2011) will hold a special media conference call at 1 p.m. ET to outline the Zuffa purchase of Strikeforce and all the details behind this past weekend's surprise acquisition.

MMAmania.com will provide live updates of all the breaking news as it develops.

UFC President Dana White made the shocking announcement on Saturday morning (March 12) after nearly three months of closed door negotiating. At this time, no changes to either promotion are expected and Strikeforce will continue to operate as a separate entity from its new parent company.

We'll see what else the promotion has to say during today's presser.

UFC purchase of Strikeforce conference call live updates after the jump.

Nostradumbass here. Call begins. Refresh every minute or so to see new updates.

1:05pm -- Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta and Scott Coker on the call.

1:06pm -- Scott, what prompted you to make the deal? Coker: It was a long and hard decision but investors (SVSE) wanted to get back to their hockey business so we looked at new offers/investors.

1:08pm -- Dana, will you merge brands down the road? White: Anything is possible, but as of now the plan is to run Strikeforce on Showtime like it has been. Showtime runs the production including choice of announcers.

1:09pm -- Coker: Approximately 140 fighters under contract with Strikeforce.

1:10pm -- Dana, is no competition a bad thing? White: There will always be competition, this is about growing the sport. It's a great day for fans and fighters. Lorenzo: We have vast financial resources and it's good for fighters to be with a big, healthy promotion. There are literally thousands of promotions worldwide so fighters still have plenty of options.

1:11pm -- Lorenzo says acquisition is in "early stages" and he hasn't talked to Showtime yet. If they want to pursue a new deal after current Strikeforce contract expires (in 2014) he would be willing to talk.

1:12pm -- UFC will implement unified rules of MMA in Strikeforce shows (including elbows on the ground) effective immediately.

1:13pm -- Dana says "superfights" are possible but it's too early to forecast fantasy match-ups. It's a work in progress.

1:15pm -- Fertitta: How quickly the UFC expands may dictate how they use newly acquired fighters.

1:17pm -- White: UFC anticipates no fallout from Canadian outcry against head injuries (RE: NHL).

1:20pm -- Will Strikeforce come to Canada? Coker: There was dialog with a casino and arena in Canada but we're still a few weeks away from any kind of announcement.

1:21pm -- White: There is a demand for MMA and it does not compete with other major sports like NFL and MLB. UFC has its own demand.

1:22pm -- What about comments from Paul Daley and Josh Barnett who have past issues with UFC? White: This is a business, if you don't like me you can always deal with Lorenzo but as of now we will honor all contracts.

1:23pm -- Another fantasy match-up question. Same answer: Work in progress and brands will run separately for now. Lorenzo: There is still unfinished business in Strikeforce (RE: Grand Prix, other upcoming events).

1:25pm -- Will the UFC open themselves up to anti-trust suits with new acquisition? Fertitta: Doubtful, plenty of promotions already exist and there are no barriers to new promotions starting and signing fighters. White: All you need is big balls and big money.

1:26pm -- White: No plans to do Strikeforce "Ultimate Fighter" but you never know.

1:27pm -- Does the Strikeforce purchase help the UFC get into Japan? Lorenzo: Too early to tell but Coker has good relationship there and it warrants future consideration.

1:28pm -- Coker: UFC purchase had no effect on delay of heavyweight tournament.

1:29pm -- White: UFC will not counter-program Strikeforce events moving forward but will continue to air old UFC pay-per-views on Spike TV.

1:30pm -- Dana White has not changed his opinion of female fighting (not a fan) and calls it "Scott's deal."

1:31pm -- How much closer does this acquisition put you to a Zuffa "On Demand" channel? Lorenzo: Nothing to report on that but we will use the Strikeforce library like we have for PRIDE and WEC. UFC has 4000+ library of fights.

1:33pm -- Coker: Strikeforce still interested in Hispanic market and can now use Zuffa backing to help capitalize on that demand.

1:34pm -- White: It's up to the fighters if they want to do a union but the problem is MMA isn't a team sport and top paying guys may not want to kick some of that money to guys coming up or who might not make it -- but that is entirely up to the fighters.

1:35pm -- Another fantasy match-up question and (surprise) same answer: "Business as usual." Coker cannot comment on specific contracts but reiterates that Fedor Emelianenko fights for Strikeforce on Showtime.

1:36pm -- Was Strikeforce purchase a defensive move to keep it from other investors? White and Fertitta: No, and they hadn't heard the rumor of other interested parties until today.

1:39pm -- White: This will be the biggest sport in the world because everyone likes fighting and we have big International plans. We need more fighters as we continue to grow the sport worldwide. We're in half a billion homes so we're doing a pretty good job.

1:40pm -- How does the UFC keep the championship picture from getting messy like boxing now that UFC owns two promotions with two sets of champs? White: Nothing has changed. Two separate brands and each has its own set of champions to represent it.

1:41pm -- Fertitta: We're growing our brand through increased presence like new "Prelim" specials on TV and Facebook and want to introduce new fighters and build talent overseas and in different markets through more content like "Fight Nights" and related programming. White: There is a ton of demand worldwide and we're trying to keep up.

1:42pm -- Fertitta: We don't feel like we have a year-round presence overseas and now it's just a "special event" type of approach. Goal is to make it a full-time presence.

1:45pm -- Call ends.

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You can also get up to speed on the UFC's purchase of Strikeforce in our existing news archive by clicking here.

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