Strikeforce: A Bittersweet Demise for the MMA League

By Ben Leven

There comes a time where all things must come to an end. Even if such things were not the greatest of experiences, there is sadness in all things ending. I don’t know what it is. Perhaps the feeling of melancholy stems from some form of emotional attachment. Or perhaps, the reality of the fact; ‘it’s actually over’ creates fear and anxiety that human beings have trouble handling.

Last Saturday night, Strikeforce closed her doors and marked the end of a twenty eight year run. Strikeforce began as a kickboxing league, founded by Scott Coker that stayed under the radar for some time, until they reformed as an MMA league in 2006.  No one in the right mind ever considered Strikeforce as being a worthy MMA league, to compete against the UFC, but never underestimate an underdog.

Strikeforce shocked the world when she premiered in March of 2006. What was so shocking you may ask? Strikeforce’s premier event, Shamrock VS Gracie, broke the record for the largest attendance for an MMA event, in North America. For the next several years, Strikeforce flourished, nurturing the finest MMA fighters the world has ever seen. It was a good time for Strikeforce.

In March of 2011, Dana White announced Zuffa, UFC’s parent company, purchased Strikeforce. Strikeforce was still run independently, although Zuffa made a few minor changes. The biggest significance was; Zuffa signed some of Strikeforce’s top fighters to the UFC and this would continue for some time, until the initial collapse of Strikeforce.

By 2012, Strikeforce’s time was coming to an end. Lacking an abundance of star power, the UFC had, low attendance and cancelled events were a clear enough sign of the times. Showtime decided not to be the network home for Strikeforce. In the end, it seems the best thing to do, was to pull the plug in January.

January 12, 2013; Strikeforce: Marquardt VS Saffiedine, was the last hurrah. It was a night of one-sided fights, controversial decisions and great entertainment. All in all, it was a solid event, a good way to end an era. When it was all said and done, Coker gave his best to the fighters and Showtime and you couldn’t help but catch a glimpse of haze in his eyes.

It was bittersweet. It was an overall good event to watch, but it was painful to, knowing it would be the last. As I said, there is sadness to all things ending, regardless of how you felt it about it. But we can smile knowing, Strikeforce did so much for the world of MMA and its legacy of champs will live on forever.



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