If there was ever a person that was truly invested with Strikeforce, other than CEO Scott Coker, of course, it has to be none other than former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion, Frank Shamrock.
Shamrock competed at the very first show put on by the San Jose-based promotion, defeating Cesar Gracie 20 seconds into their fight back in 2006.
One fight later, "The Legend" was crowned the promotion's middleweight champion when he defeated Phil Baroni in 2007. Following two consecutive defeats at the hands of Cung Le and Nick Diaz, Frank decided to hang up his mixed martial arts (MMA) gloves for good and try his hand at a career in broadcasting.
Currently serving as a commentator for Strikeforce events, Frank recently stated on his appearance on "The MMA Hour" that, 'sadly,' he doesn't see a bright future for the promotion he helped put on the map nearly six years ago.
"In a perfect world, they (Strikeforce) should live on and all the sweat and tears and the soul we put into it should give value somewhere else. In the world of big business, it's probably going to get wrapped up, rolled up and disappear. You know, like many of the other brands in this industry that were used to consolidate and build another brand. Sadly, it's just business. I don't think it's going to live on. At one point, Strikeforce was competing, it was number two. We did it in such a quick period of time and the intention was right . The sport came together to create Strikeforce and Scott (Coker) had the opportunity, and I had a few years left in the cage. But, it will never happen again. That moment is gone. I think that's the toughest thing for me to accept, is that moment is gone."
Shamrock says that though currently Strikeforce is alive and well, the fact that it's talent has migrated over to the greener pastures of the UFC, hasn't helped increase the lifespan of the promotion.
"Strikeforce is alive and it has a great soul. It's just that they've been picking the soul out of it and taking the talent away from it and now it's a shell. It can definitely be rebuilt. Strikeforce was amazing. The idea of it is still, it still has value. But the way it is being treated, they are plucking all the value out of it."
By "they" it is safe to assume Shamrock means the UFC, who have systematically picked out the top draws out of the San Jose-based promotion such as Alistair Overeem, Nick Diaz, Cung Le as well as the entire heavyweight roster.
"The hardest part for me is that I started working and I didn't get to finish. But, its big business. Showtime, they are in the business of ratings and growing a product and growing their network and the UFC hasn't been supporting that. They've put out some demands that are just, you know, they haven't been amenable. But the relationship is frayed. I don't know who loses out except for the fans when they cancel a show like this. I think it's a telling example of what's going to happen in our future. You know, Gilbert's the star and if we can't have the star, then Showtime doesn't want to play."
Anyone surprised at "The Legend's" comments?
Do any of you see a small glimmer of hope that Strikeforce may be able to live on despite its thin roster? Or will ZUFFA go ahead and absorb the rest of the remaining talent into the UFC once the Showtime deal expires?