Caros Fodor, Jordan Mein’s Father See Strikeforce’s Future As UFC Feeder League
By Kelsey Mowatt
In a busy week that’s been filled with various storylines, tied to Saturday’s UFC 140 card or not, Dana White’s comments yesterday about the future of Strikeforce might have been the most compelling for many fans and fighters.
While attending a pre-fight presser to promote Saturday’s event, the UFC President confirmed that a new broadcasting deal between the Showtime network and Strikeforce is nearing completion, and that the Zuffa promotion will in fact remain in business.
“That’s awesome; it’s great news,” said Caros Fodor, when FCF reached the Strikeforce lightweight to get his reaction. “It’s a little bit of job security I guess. I feel great about it.”
The news came after months of speculation as to what the future held for Strikeforce, following its purchase by Zuffa earlier this year, the departure of several of the promotion’s top stars for the UFC, and while the company’s ownership tried to iron out a new deal with Showtime.
“Well it’s great if they’re going to put the effort in to promote it,” said Lee Mein, the father and manager of Strikeforce welterweight prospect Jordan. “If they’re going to try to make it the best show possible then we’re all for it. Hopefully they’re going to put some real effort into it, some marketing, so the guys there can get the most exposure.”
It remains to be seen how and in what fashion Strikeforce will continue, in terms of whether the promotion will serve as a feeder league for the UFC and what format it will maintain. White reportedly did not want to get into details regarding how Strikeforce will move forward, other than to relay that he’s confident the promotion can work alongside the UFC.
“I think that’s the best avenue for it,” said Mein, while discussing the possibility that Strikeforce will serve more as a development league for the UFC. “We’re okay with that. If they’re showcasing you and you’re getting better we’re okay with that. As long as they put some of their marketing power behind it. The UFC brand is so strong that you can put it towards something and it will sell out, but if you put the Strikeforce name out there it might be a poorly attended show in comparison.”
“Coming from the Challengers, which obviously led me onto the main card with Strikeforce, it was really great for my career because it gave me the ability to get some fights on some pretty big stages, with the cameras and lights, and get used to it.,” Fodor noted, who is scheduled to fight Justin Wilcox December 17th. “So I think if they do use it as a feeder for the UFC they’ll get a really great class of fighters who have a lot of great experience and good exposure…if you just go from fighting in an old casino with a few hundred people to the UFC, I could see it being a little nerve-wracking. I think that’s a great idea.”
Following Strikeforce’s poorly attended “Barnett vs. Kharitonov” in September, and the exodus of top names like Nick Diaz, Alistair Overeem, and Dan Henderson to the UFC, the writing appeared to be on the wall for Strikeforce. More recently, however, reports surfaced that negotiations between Zuffa and Showtime were progressing, reversing some people’s doubts as to whether the parent company wanted to keep Strikeforce afloat.
“If they weren’t sure whether a deal with Showtime was going to happen then why put any effort into it?” said Mein. “If it’s just going to fade away anyways and you’re going to consume it. But now that there’s deal in place and it’s going to be a big deal for both parties, well of course they’re probably going to put a full effort into it.”
“I certainly hope so; that would be great,” Fodor said, while discussing what the possibilities could be for Strikeforce, if it has the full weight of Zuffa’s marketing machine behind it. “Strikeforce has a lot of great fighters but a lot of basic UFC fans haven’t really heard about them. So I hope that if they’re letting Strikeforce have a run for it, then Zuffa will devote that money to it and get some new publicity.”