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Friday, Nov 09, 2012

Full Contact Fighter’s “The Daily Takedown:” Shark Sports & Entertainment Killed A Bit of MMA When It Gave Up on Strikeforce

By Joshua Molina

TMZ broke the story last night that Strikeforce is folding after January and that Ronda Rousey will automatically become the new UFC women’s bantamweight champion.

Not exactly big news.

The truth is that Strikeforce died in 2011, the day the UFC bought it, after the Silicon Valley investors who owned the company haphazardly sold Strikeforce to the UFC.

The UFC bought Strikeforce for one reason: to KILL its competition. Strikeforce was gaining momentum and presenting a threat to the UFC’s dominance.

After a-death-by-a-thousand-cuts approach, it appears that Strikeforce’s last show will be Jan. 12.

The people who managed Strikeforce really failed the fans in allowing this company’s rapid demise.

And for all of the criticism Dana White gets for his bombastic, over-the-top attitude, he comes across as way more of an advocate for his company than Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker ever did.

Coker is one of the founders of the Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment Group, which eventually became the Sharks Sports & Entertainment Group, which owns the NHL’s San Jose Sharks.

The Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment group also was a majority owner of Strikeforce at the time of its sale to the UFC.

Few knew in 2011 that Strikeforce was in negotiations with the UFC. After the sale, White and Coker promised “business as usual,” which of course was a flat-out lie.

Coker has been mostly invisible since Zuffa took over. Every few months he promises that Strikeforce isn’t going away, but we know now that simply isn’t true.

Coker apparently in 2011 tried to avoid a sale to Zuffa, UFC’s parent company, but was unable to convince his partners to avoid selling to the UFC.

Even though Stikeforce was making $30 million in revenue annually, the company was struggling to find the capital to grow the company. A deal with M-1 Global, Fedor Emelianenko’s management company, also apparently put tremendous financial strain on the company.

It’s sad that the Silicon Valley investors who owned Strikeforce didn’t believe in Strikeforce or mixed martial arts.

We may have seen an entirely different MMA landscape today.

It was Strikeforce, not the UFC, that believed in Ronda Rousey, at a time when Dana White could barely put “women” and “mma” in the same sentence.

No one outside of harcore judo fans would know who Ronda Rousey is if it weren’t for the old Strikeforce giving her and othere women opportunities.

So what do we have left? UFC is king of MMA. Strikeforce is dead. MMA’s biggest star is Strikeforce’s Rousey, who is now the UFC’s biggest star.

And we have the Sharks Sports & Entertanment Silicon Valley investors to blame for it.



posted by JoshuaM @ 6:11 pm
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