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Sunday, Dec 23, 2012

Full Contact Fighter’s “The Daily Takedown:” Too Bad Strikeforce No Longer Knows the Way to San Jose

By Joshua Molina

Strikeforce is dead.

What a shame. But who really cares, anymore?

The company confirmed the news last week in the form of a press release.

Everybody in the MMA world already knew that Strikeforce’s days were numbered, no thanks to Strikeforce, which ignored its fans for weeks until the press release.

It’s hard to imagine that there will be much interest in the show outside of the hardest of hard-cores.

All of the sport’s main stars have bolted for the UFC or suffered injuries that kicked them off the show.

The reality is that the January 12 will mark the end of the company – thankfully, but not mercifully after nearly two years of Zuffa ownership.

Strikeforce died a death from 1,000 cuts.

Since Zuffa took over, Strikeforce suffered the following losses to UFC:

• Heavyweight champion, Alistair Overeem
• The heavyweight championship and the entire division
• Welterweight champion Nick Diaz
• Light Heavyweight Champion Dan Henderson and the Championship
• Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey
• Several top fighters, including Cung Le and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva

In addition to those losses, Zuffa killed the Strikeforce Challengers show, which served a good developmental forum for younger fighters or older ones looking to revive their careers. Zuffa also famously fired Fedor Emelianenko, largely for personal and political reasons.

It’s unclear what led to the demise of Strikeforce. UFC President Dana White is on good terms with Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker and White said he would continue to promote and develop Strikeforce even after the purchase. White also once wore a Strikeforce T-Shirt while attending a live Strikeforce show.

Perhaps Zuffa decided that there wasn’t room to have a second brand within the UFC brand because it watered down the overall UFC branding. Maybe Zuffa couldn’t work with Showtime, which led to the demise long before Jan. 12.

What’s clear is that the Strikeforce investors in Silicon Valley gave up far too early on the Strikeforce product. They could have sold the company to Viacom had they held out longer, and the company would have thrived as a strong separate brand, far surpassing the current level of Bellator’s popularity.

In the end, none of it really matters because UFC remains the undisputed king of MMA. Several of the Strikeforce fighters are better off financially in the UFC.

It’s just too bad that Strikeforce will end its run in Oklahoma City, rather than San Jose, California, the birthplace of the company. Strikeforce held 62 events since it formed it 2006 – 19 of them in San Jose.

The company still holds the record for the largest live attendance in California history for an MMA event – headlined by Frank Shamrock vs. Cesar Grace, with 18,265 people on March 10, 2006. At least six other times, the company packed the HP Pavilion with more than 10,000 people.

Oddly, for its last show, Strikeforce couldn’t find a way to hold the event in San Jose. San Jose has long been a hotbed for MMA, and there’s no doubt that if any interest remains in Strikeforce, it exists in San Jose.

posted by JoshuaM @ 9:12 pm
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