Report: Showtime Exec Stephen Espinoza Says ZUFFA Changed “Trajectory” of Strikeforce, Network to Pursue More MMA Content
By FCF Staff
Just days before Strikeforce will hold its final event on January 12th in Oklahoma City, Showtime executive vice president Stephen Espinoza has been making the media rounds to discuss the network’s decision to end its partnership with the promotion. Prior to the recent announcement that the Showtime-Strikeforce marriage was ending, representatives from both companies remained silent about the situation, amidst rampant speculation that the promotion was shuttering its doors.
While appearing on today’s MMA Hour, however, Espinoza relayed that although the relationship between ZUFFA and Showtime “was actually fine,” he believes Strikeforce’s “trajectory wasn’t the same” after the UFC parent company acquired the promotion. The executive cited a “problem with the talent pool”, in addition to “bad luck” via injuries, as reasons why Showtime could not move forward with Strikeforce.
Espinoza also added that UFC President Dana White’s fiery and public criticisms of Showtime in the past, did not play a factor in the network’s decision.
After ZUFFA acquired Strikeforce last March, many of its top stars including Nick Diaz, Alistair Overeem, Cung Le, and Ronda Rousey, among others, were moved to the UFC. Since it was recently confirmed that Strikeforce will cease to exist after Saturday, many more of the promotion’s vets have inked UFC deals.
Espinoza also confirmed that Showtime is looking to secure new MMA content for the network, but did not offer any details as to which organizations the network may be considering.