Many fans of MMA have been asking the question of Strikeforce’s ultimate destination since it was purchased by Zuffa in March of 2011. Let’s take a look at some quick facts and go from there.
First, let’s go over a few things to get a good start.
In March of 2011, Zuffa (read: the UFC) purchased Strikeforce. Many fans at that point took a deep breath and said their goodbyes to Strikeforce fully expecting the franchise to be canned all together in a similar fashion to the WEC series.
UFC head honcho Dana White was quick to dismiss these thoughts with a few speeches and interviews where he stated that it would be “business as usual.”
Fast forward to today’s Strikeforce. The top fighters that once ruled the promotion have all transfered to the UFC. Nick Diaz, Dan Henderson, Bigfoot Silva, and Alistair Overeem have all made the switch.
The heavyweight division was completely scrapped in December of 2011 with all but two fighters left. Those two fighters, Cormier and Barnett will face each other this Saturday night to finish off the utterly confusing Grand Prix.
Strikeforce still has good fighters. Luke Rockhold (9-1) or Gilbert Melendez (20-2) or Ronda Rousey (5-0) for example. The main issue that these fighters are facing is a lack of competition in their divisions.
Strikeforce still has a television contract with Showtime for the remainder of 2012, that much is certain. How many fight nights will we see? That much is not so certain. With a lack of big-draw fighters to make big fight cards, and a slow ratings decline, the future of this fight league doesn’t look so good. Most people in the MMA world are already viewing Strikeforce as the unofficial farm-league for the UFC.
Maybe that’s not such a bad idea. Here’s what I would love to see as a fan. Zuffa owns the rights to both the Strikeforce banner and the WEC rights as well. Re-vamp Strikefoce and bring back the WEC as official farm-leagues for the UFC. Strikeforce gets the west, WEC gets the east. Set it up in a tournament style like the good old Pride days, East vs. West. Winner of each weight class gets a shot at making it in the UFC.
Now, what to do with Ronda Rousey…