With “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers” on the horizon, it’s time for all of you to have your reality checked once again.
The biggest myth I see in regards to this fight is the effect of a loss by Fedor Emelianenko will have on Strikeforce as a company.
Of course, many have said that a loss by Emelianenko would be a catastrophic disaster for Strikeforce, and would cause the financial ruin of the up and coming promotion, however I could not disagree more, and let me tell you why….
From Strikeforce’s position, this fight is certainly a win/win, regardless of outcome.
The powers that be at Showtime and CBS have finally arrived at the party. Fedor vs. Rogers commercials are now standard issue on primetime and this past weekend’s crossover promotion with NFL football could prove priceless.
While it would be naive to attempt to water down the roll “The Last Emperor” and his legacy of greatness have played in forcing the ball to begin rolling, Brett Rogers and his mohawk are there for the ride as well, and don’t you ever discredit the draw power of a massive heavyweight with a mohawk. Just look at the box office draw for Rocky III as a quick point of reference.
While most people agree Fedor should win this fight, the benefits of a Rogers victory should not go unnoticed. Let’s forget for a minute all we know about MMA. On the surface, Brett Rogers is going to be a pretty easy sell. Big, intimidating, and most importantly from a marketing standpoint undefeated. The reality is this weekend’s Strikeforce event could easily be the most watched mixed martial arts event in history. To have 6-10 million viewers ( a majority of which who will know as much about MMA as Frank Shamrock tells them) watch an undefeated Brett Rogers defeat the man widely recognized as the best heavyweight ever is not a bad thing for Strikeforce. They will have a homegrown superstar at a bargain price.
So much is made about the finances of signing Fedor, the real question for me is how much would it cost to build a homegrown superstar, a household name that a new generation of MMA fans will know and recognize?
Forget us as hardcore fans, we can complain and make a case against Rogers until we are blue in the face. If we are honest with ourselves, we know we will be watching. Furthermore, we will watch next time as well, and the time after that.
Strikeforce has to have a goal set to create new fans, those who up until now have not purchased pay per view or given the sport a chance. New fans are going to be the life blood for Strikeforce, the group of new fans that will listen to the company line and buy it. Zuffa has their fans, we all know them, those who go to bed at night believing “ if the guy isn’t fighting in the UFC he can’t be very good.”
As hard as it may be to believe, Strikeforce can grow a heard of their own. An army of MMA “noobs” who will happily tell you on a Friday night at your local speak-easy that Brett Rogers would smash Brock Lesnar into oblivion. They will know this is true because they watched with their own eyes as Rogers laid waste to “the baddest man on the planet.”
I’m sure many of you remember the finale of TUF 1, a fight that is regarded by most as the most important fight in the history of the UFC. Depending on when you started following the sport, that fight meant different things to different people. While some viewed it as an all out war, others viewed it as a sloppy fight between two reality show fighters with no future.
Perception is reality, the UFC introduced their product on the biggest stage possible ( at the time) , the fight was exciting, and the entire company did their jobs and a whole generation of “Tuf noobs” were born.
Regardless of outcome, Strikeforce will have a similar opportunity with each passing CBS Primetime show.
Two men will fight in this weekend’s main event , and the story that plays out in the cage can only end one of two ways: Either….
A) Strikeforce has the number one heavyweight in the world and they have brought him to you for free on primetime broadcast television.
B) Strikeforce has the hottest up and coming superstar in the mixed martial arts world, Brett Rogers, a man who has defeated Andrei Arlovski, and now the consensus number 1 heavyweight on the planet Fedor Emelianenko. A superstar that speaks English, lives in the USA and is available for comment 24/7.
Not bad for a worse case scenario.