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Did Scott Coker help Dana White and the UFC create an MMA monopoly?


Go directly to Las Vegas. Do not pass San Jose, do not collect $200.

After nearly three months of closed door negotiations, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker was able to find a suitable buyer for his San Jose-based fight promotion after his investors expressed an interest in getting out of the fight game and back to the business of ice hockey.

UFC President Dana White shocked the MMA world back on March 12 when he revealed that Zuffa, parent company of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), was the proud new owner of what was widely considered the world's number two fight promotion.

If you're a fighter looking to make a career out of MMA, that leaves you very few choices when it comes to earning a living. Sure, you can compete at any one of the dozens of regional promotions across the country, but be prepared to hold a second (or third) job to support yourself.

Call it unfortunate, call it good business by the UFC, call it anything you want. But as Coker tells Heavy MMA, don't call it a monopoly.

"No, not at all. Two years ago, Strikeforce was a regional show. I promoted the Frank Shamrock and Cung Le fight in 2007, but it took us awhile to get our TV contract. But from 2009, when we got our Showtime fights, it took us two years to this point. It took a lot of hard work, but it can be recreated. Somebody out there has to step up and put the money behind it, and they can create the business just like I did and move from a regional promotion to a national promotion."

While both Strikeforce and UFC continue to operate as separate entities, most of the MMA community expects Zuffa to merge the brands much like it did with World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) earlier this year.

Zuffa maintains the acquisition was not made as a "defensive maneuver" against rival investors like ProElite, but to grow the current roster and improve their position as they enter a global expansion.

With approximately 140 fighters under contract to Strikeforce, most fans wanted to know how quickly they can expect to see the best from both promotions get inside the cage and settle a couple of longstanding disputes, namely, who is the world's best fighter in each weight class.

That debate may not end anytime soon.

But when it does, how long before Zuffa begins to thin the herd? And will fighters be able to land on their feet? Anyone think an investor with deep pockets and a love for MMA would be willing to start a new promotion? And how do you convince the casual fan to care about it?


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