Photo via Strikeforce.com
Last Saturday night (Sept. 10, 2011), Strikeforce put on quite possibly its finest event in the history of the organization with the Strikeforce: "Barnett vs. Kharitonov" event. The fight card proved to be one of the better lineups that mixed martial arts (MMA) fans have privileged to see this entire year.
A champion was dethroned. One "king" reigned supreme. A giant was slain and several prospects made names for themselves.
"Ronaldo Souza vs. Luke Rockhold" may go down as one of the best fights of the year. If you missed it, you owe it to yourself to do whatever you have to do to catch a replay of the bout somewhere.
As fight fans, we should all be amped about what we were treated to. The show provided just about every possible element for success. Almost every one of the fights was incredibly exciting.
Was it all for naught?
If this were any other organization, the reaction would be vastly different. We would be speculating about the long term and how this "other promotion" may affect Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
The problem is that this organization is essentially owned by the UFC. We're now at a point where you'd be hard pressed to find anyone in the MMA community to argue with the idea that Strikeforce will soon be dissolved and its elite fighters will be absorbed by the UFC.
Strangely enough, to add to the drama, Kenny Rice had some interesting commentary during the preliminary fights on HDNet. Several times during the broadcast, Rice said that the Strikeforce fighters were "auditioning for the UFC."
What he said isn't that interesting (it usually isn't). Everyone knows he's right. It's the fact that he said it. He said it out loud. Out loud on (quasi) national television. That's kind of a big deal.
Before you know it, Scott Coker will have to start putting the word "temporary" on his business cards. The Strikeforce champions won't get belts. They'll get certificates. You get the point.
I'd be bummed about all this. You might be too. But almost as soon as I get down in the dumps over the situation, I immediately perk back up.
Strikeforce will die. It's sad, but it is what it is. Their champions will lose their belts. Things will change drastically.
Instead of lamenting the fact that Luke Rockhold will no longer have a belt, be excited about the fact that he will soon get to face the likes of Jason Miller, Vitor Belfort and maybe even Anderson Silva, eventually.
Rather than shedding a tear over the fact that "King Mo" Muhammed Lawal will no longer be contending for a Strikeforce light heavyweight title, you can sit on cloud nine due to the fact that we could potentially get to see him go toe-to-toe with Quinton Jackson and then possibly have a battle of who can produce the least coherent sentence at a press conference.
The point is that the possibilities are endless and that's a good thing. Every division gets stronger. Everyone wins. The "leftover" fighters will get contracts with other organizations somewhere. Life will move on.
What do you think, Maniacs? Are you sad about the imminent demise of Strikeforce or are you hopeful about the future options that the "absorption" will bring?