Strikeforce reportedly on brink of being dropped by Showtime

Eighteen months ago Mixed Martial Arts fans jumped for joy when it was revealed that Zuffa had purchased Strikeforce. The move appeared to give the organization new direction, backing from a group viewed as experts in the field, and a strategic partnership with the sport’s biggest brand. The notion of super-fights was thrown around where Strikeforce stars would collide with those calling the Octagon home and, in general, the future looked bright for a company that once held the North American attendance record for a MMA event.

Sadly, things have gone in a downward spiral ever since. The UFC plucked a number of Strikeforce’s biggest names to add to their own roster and absorbed the heavyweight division. Shows have been under-promoted, attendance has steadily declined, and last month Strikeforce decided to cancel a card after Showtime refused to air a lineup lacking a legitimate headliner when lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez was forced out with an injury.

Now, with Strikeforce’s November 3 show in serious jeopardy due to withdrawals from Frank Mir, Luke Rockhold, and Sara McMann, it looks like Strikeforce may be on life support rather than the thriving promotion many felt it would become back in March 2011. According to a report on Inside MMA, Showtime is contemplating the axing of the November event and, if such comes to pass, it will likely spell the end of the broadcaster’s relationship with Strikeforce.

“I think in this particular case, if this happens it’s like two strikes and out,” added co-host Bas Rutten on the matter. “I don’t think you can cancel a show three times. Fans are not gonna take it. They’re not gonna buy tickets anymore. The fans are gonna go, ‘Ahhh, the show’s not gonna happen anyways.’”

Conversely, UFC correspondant Ariel Helwani went on Twitter to dispute the report, saying he’d spoken to a high-ranking Showtime official who said (as of right now) the show is still scheduled and their relationship with Strikeforce hasn’t changed.

If Strikeforce does indeed disintegrate with the loss of Showtime it seems likely the remaining fighters will be folded into the UFC.

Check out the segment from Inside MMA below:

PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE

6 COMMENTS
  • Creature says:

    I think this is for the best, most of the fighters will be absorbed into the UFC, they will get better pay and more exposure, and more quality fighters means more quality fights which is something the UFC could use due to all the injuries. Plus the possibility of some “super fights” with Gil, and possibly Marquardt and Rockhold against the UFC boys. And even finally seeing some WMMA in the Octagon. Win/Win as i see it

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  • Rece Rock says:

    BUT doesn’t Showtime have the choice to hold on to the contracts of the fighters they are linked to? Like Gilbert? In other words he can’t just go fight for Zuffa if they still have a mma promotion they are producing shows for? Like M-1 or if they decide to just to a showtime MMA fight night??

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • MCM says:

    That’s what I’ve read too Rece. But I don’t think those contract would actually hold up in court and I think Dana and Co would love to take it to Showtime.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • Lord Faust says:

    If Zuffa is going to get out of this with clean hands, Showtime has to pull the plug. I am pretty sure if Zuffa just folds Strikeforce, they can be sued for the remaining fight events that have not been staged as yet.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • Mad_Hatter_XX says:

    Melendez and Cormier are really only SF fighters who I would expect to really make a name for themselves in UFC

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  • JBAR says:

    It would save me some money every month because I could drop showtime. Strikeforce is the only reason I have it to start with.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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