Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Dana White on keeping Strikeforce as a separate promotion from the UFC - "We'll see how it goes"

By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

The UFC's purchase of Strikeforce in March led to a widespread belief that Strikeforce's days as an organization are numbered. Though UFC President Dana White preached "business as usual" from the outset, there hasn't been much to suggest that Strikeforce will survive for a lengthy period of time.

The organization's deal with Showtime has the UFC hesitant to appear like they're poaching talent and bringing a collapse to Strikeforce, but a UFC deal with the network would be a potential way alleviate the need to keep appearances up. Along with that, the apparent imminence of a fight between Georges St. Pierre and Strikeforce's biggest name outside of Fedor Emelianenko in Nick Diaz could be the potential sign of the floodgates being open to crossovers into the UFC.

Add in to that comments from White in one of his most recent interviews, and I don't know that optimism on Strikeforce's future is in order.

Speaking with the Forbes Sports Money program, White discussed the organization's purchase of Strikeforce in March.

"The reality is that we continue to expand and grow. We do need more fighters," he said. "And, we love the content. The one thing that these guys have that do it right, and the ones that we usually end up buying, they have a great library, they have a stable of fighters, and if they have a name and a television deal like Strikeforce did, not a bad thing either."

While the acquisition made sense for them, keeping the smaller organization alive as a separate entity may only be a short term necessity, and White's comments on the matter don't inspire confidence that the smaller organization will be kept around for the long haul.

"The thing with Strikeforce is, when we acquired them they have a deal with Showtime," White explained. "We're working with Showtime now, which I've had a very rocky relationship with (laughs). Lorenzo is working with them right now. We're going to try to run this thing separately, and we'll see how it goes. We'll see if we can pull it off, if we can make it happen. If it didn't happen the worst case scenario that happens if we own Strikeforce is these guys roll over into the UFC."

That's about how things wound up working out after the purchase of Pride, and eventually with World Extreme Cagefighting. Whether it happens with Strikeforce sooner or later remains to be seen, but there were no sureties in White's statements in this interview. Check out the full piece below:

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Penick's Analysis: I'm in the camp that believes the UFC will absorb Strikeforce as soon as they're able. If that means they can work with Showtime to bring UFC events to the network in place of Strikeforce, that would be one big way to skirt the major issue they have in absorbing the organization right now. After already cleaning out the front office, and looking to begin the crossover fights with GSP-Diaz, it's just going to be a matter of time before Strikeforce is no longer an MMA promotion. It's an inevitability at this point.

[Dana White art by Travis Beaven (c) MMATorch.com]

Source: http://www.mmatorch.com/artman2/publish/UFC_2/article_9383.shtml

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