Strikeforce: Is the end nigh?
In one of my previous blogs about Strikeforce, I was far more optimistic about its fate. Now I truly question how much time remains for this once respected institute. The doubt emerged in everyone’s heart when Strikeforce cancelled its last two major events. The major question was how long before it becomes a distant memory? Now I believe a more appropriate question is why should we even bother keeping it alive?
At one point Strikeforce had all the marketing potential the UFC knows and loves today. Strikeforce had a legion of talented fighters and a women’s league. It looks great on paper, but reality is a harsh mistress.
Strikeforce’s talent has been caught through a career limbo. In 2011, when UFC bought out Strikeforce, they snatched away its top tier fighter’s and incidentally their top earners. Naturally, Showtime acted. Showtime had the UFC promise not to touch any of Strikeforce’s talent, despite the status of their contracts. Any hope for Strikeforce fighter’s looking to change leagues had dwindled since.
Fighters who are with Strikeforce are having trouble as it is getting fights. Be it a lack of organization or just bad luck, events and cards are getting cancelled. In some cases, fighters weren’t even aware that their fights were cancelled until the last minute. This lack of organization not only hurts the fighters but toys with the fans expectations.
At the end of the day it’s the fans that sustain the institution. Why keep the shows running if no one is watching? Why should the fans of Strikeforce keep watching if they keep cancelling? All of Strikeforce’s star attractions are going to an even bigger and popular institute. The fans are losing interest, especially now because it seems Strikeforce isn’t capable of producing an event.
Strikeforce’s ace in the whole is its women’s league. It’s what distinguished it from the UFC, but even now this point is becoming invalid. Dana White has already publicly expressed interest in a UFC woman’s league.
Strikeforce sadly is at the end of its rope. It’s a dying league and even if it delivers its anticipated January event, it may not be enough to undo a lot of damage. Strikeforce’s contract with Showtime will expire by the end of the year, by then hopefully we will know if it will survive.