Strikeforce is just days away before it completely flat lines. Strikeforce closes its curtains after January 12th, with the welterweight headlining fight between Nate Marquardt and Tarec Saffiedine. As the lights grew dimmer and dimmer on the fate of Strikeforce, many speculated that it was never meant to last, after the UFC became involved. Did the UFC purchase Strikeforce just to sink it?
Let’s face it, a majority of MMA fans immediately believe the answer is yes. UFC has done it in the past with other MMA promotions. History has a nasty habit of repeating itself. There is one person who strongly denies that it was never the UFC’s intention to sink Strikeforce, not surprisingly, Dana White. According to MMAjunkie, White contended the accusations of UFC intending to shut out Strikeforce.
“I see a lot of this s— on the Internet, people saying, ‘Oh, I knew this is exactly what we knew was going to happen. They bought (Strikeforce) to bury it. Any of you guys who were around me at the time know that was absolutely not the plan. I was pumped up about it and looking forward to getting into it.”
When the UFC purchased Strikeforce, White said he had lots of plans to change its direction. White also said he planned to be involved with a lot of the behind the scenes work with promotion, as he is very much involved with UFC promotion. Yet, that never really played out. White never fully got behind changing Strikeforce. It got so, that he claimed to have nothing to do with it.
“I don’t run that promotion.” White would usually respond this, to Strikeforce’s escalating decline, with cancelled fights.
As I mentioned, history repeats itself. Some time ago, when UFC was not the undisputed MMA promotion it is today, there was Pride. Pride at the time, was the UFC’s only known serious competition. On March 27th, 2007, UFC’s CEO’s, Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, purchased Pride. At the time, it was generally perceived, that the purchase meant both companies would mutually benefit the other, for the sake of changing the sport of MMA. Lorenzo Fertitta said:
“This is really going to change the face of MMA. Literally creating a sport that could be as big around the world as football. I liken it somewhat to when the NFC and AFC came together to create the NFL.”
The original plan was to run each organization separately, but united together through cross promoting. White did not believe Pride’s business model would endure and many of Pride’s top fighters were being integrated into the UFC. Eventually, that same year of 2007, Pride closed its doors.
Is it fair to say that the UFC only purchased Strikeforce to sink it? The UFC is a corporation. It is a corporation’s best interest to look out for themselves before anything else, otherwise they wouldn’t be successful. I believe when the UFC did purchase Strikeforce, it was not just to eliminate it, so that the UFC would be the only show in town. I think when they did purchase it at first; they initially wanted to keep it around, hoping they could take it another direction. But the UFC never really did that. Strikeforce was neglected and it failed, with cancelled promotion after cancelled promotion. When the UFC saw that financially it was not worth saving, they did what was most logical, from a business stand point.
At the end of the day it’s never personal, it’s just business.