Of course, the main thing we all wanted was to see the best fighters from StrikeForce fight top UFC talent and settle the question indisputably of who really is the best in the world in each weight class, but will we really get that? Let's take a closer look at what we, the fans, realistically stand to gain and lose from this buyout.
Forgive me if these points have already been made, I've been out-of-touch for a while and just found out today about the buyout. Here were my initial thoughts. Please feel free to add to or dispute them.
WHat WE HOPED FOR BUT PROBABLY WON'T GET:
lets look at some of the top fighters we might've hoped to see against UFC talent.
Alistair Overeem....will never sign an exclusive contract with the UFC that prevents him from fighting in K-1, Dream, or countless other Japanese organizations of which he is the current champion. So unless the UFC rewrites THEIR fighters contracts to allow their top guys to fight in SF, we'll never get to see Overeem vs UFC HWs.
Fedor...Since his SF contract stipulates that he only fights in M-1 copromoted events, and Zuffa won't copromote with M-1, it looks like Fedor is either headed for retirment or back to fighting in Japanese freak shows.
Juice Barnett....Zuffa wants no part of Barnett since he was stripped of the UFC belt for steroids and still having trouble getting licensed in the US. They're not gonna bend over backward trying to set up fights in a place where he can get a license and I'm sure the Zuffa legal team is already hard at work looking for a loophole in his SF contract that allows them to dismiss him if he can't get licensed in NV or CA.
Diaz and Daley ....the two most interesting challengers left for GSPs belt are a couple of whack-jobs and PR nightmares that Zuffa has many times said they want nothing to do with. Don't expect these guys to be getting UFC contract offers when SF is dissolved or their SF contracts expire.
WHAT WE ACTUALLY MIGHT GAIN:
Melendez, Jacare, King Mo, Del Rosario, Bigfoot, Karitonov...and a few other lesser known but promising guys.
Hendo might finally get his rematch with Anderson. There's potential for another "unification bout" now that he's the SF champ. Funny how history repeats itself. (First time he fought Silva was to unify the PRIDE and UFC belts). And I'd still love to see Hendo against a lot of UFC guys like Rich Franklin, Vitor Belfort, Rashad, and Thiago Silva.
The end of M-1 in N.America.
The end of Frank Shamrock and Gus Johnson. Frank was one of the greatest fighters of all time, but he's also one of the most ridiculously biased commentators of all time (and has been in a decade-long blood feud with Zuffa) and Gus Johnson thinks an Omo Plata is a combo meal at Bombay Garden.
Armed Forces PR....the UFC loves the US Military and I'm sure they're thrilled to have active-duty armed forces heroes like Tim Kennedy on the payroll.
UFC Japan...Without SF to partner with DREAM, Japanese MMA suffers another HUGE blow, especially as SF fighters begin melding into the UFC and come under exclusive contracts. Couple this with the UFC's disaster-relief efforts and Dana might finally get a second chance with the most respectful and educated fight fans in the world and one of MMA's oldest and biggest markets.
WHAT WE WILL PROBABLY LOSE:
Women's MMA: Zuffa has repeatedly made it clear that they have no interest in promoting female MMA, and this could leave Gina, Cyborg, Coenen, and our other favorite femme fatales scrounging for work in penny-ante shows with no TV deals. It breaks my heart to think I may never get to see Gina Carano on CBS again!
CBS Fights: Unless CBS relents and gives Zuffa complete control over it's own programming, we may have seen the last of major-league talent on free broadcast television. If the UFC and CBS can't come to terms, the best we can hope for is that CBS will partner with Bellator and try to buy up the few remaining top guys on the outs with Zuffa.
Mauro Renallo and Jimmy Lennon Jr. I know a lot of people hate Mauro, but I'll take him over Mike Goldberg any day. My dream-team for commentary would be Mauro, Rogan, and Couture.
The Strikeforce Heavyweight Tournament....the greatest tournament devised since Zuffa killed the PRIDE GRAND PRIXs
and lastly, but probably most tragically, what we will lose is a single, credible, gathering place for top fighters who won't or can't work for Zuffa. Now these guys will be scattered about in smaller shows and may never fight top talent again. This also gives Zuffa even more power over its fighters because they have no credible way to make a living outside of Zuffa.