There was a big honkin’ teleconference yesterday to announce the big UFC / Strikeforce sale (or if you want the specific corp-names, Explosion Entertainment, LLC’s sale to Forza, LLC, a subsidiary of Zuffa, LLC) and Cage Writer was kind enough to upload the whole thing to Youtube. If you don’t wanna listen to 40 minutes of crackly audio, I’ve included some paraphrased notes on the Q&A. Let’s get it on!
What prompted the sale? Scott Coker talks about how Silicon Valley Sports had ‘a lot of fun’ with MMA, but basically they got sick of being in the MMA business.
Is the UFC gonna put some resources into improving the production of the show? Showtime runs the production side of things but the UFC will help improve how things are run at the live shows to improve stuff for the fighters and fans.
Isn’t the swallowing of the only other major promotion bad for fighters? According to Zuffa, “Fighters have more options then ever!” [bullshit detector explodes] This little nugget is repeated over and over.
Any interest in getting the UFC on Showtime or CBS? “We haven’t even talked to Showtime yet, but we’ve got a deal for 16 shows and we’re gonna give that to them.”
Will the octagon appear in Strikeforce? Nope, the hexagon cage stays, but elbows will be added. This is nice, because no elbows was always a stupid fanboy hat tip to the one aspect of Japanese rules no one ever liked.
What about superfights? “Maaaaybe”
How long is the Showtime deal? Through to 2014, although some non-conference sources have noted this may include extensions that Showtime doesn’t have to make.
The other 3 parts after the jump…
Were there any other potential buyers? Scott says he doesn’t wanna say but there was that ProElite offer everyone knows about now.
Any chance of champs fighting champs? “Right now we think things will stay seperate but maaaaaybe…”
More about the UFC saying they ‘need more fighters’: They want to do a lot more events and there are many regions we feel are being under-developed, especially the UK.
Any plans for Strikeforce in Canada? Maaaaybe
Now that the UFC has crushed all the competition, is the NHL, NFL etc the competition? “Our big thing is just getting enough MMA to all the markets that are clamoring for it.”
What about Paul Daley, Josh Barnett, and all the other guys on the UFC blacklist? “If you don’t like me, we can still do business.” Dana’s being very civil about all this, I guess he doesn’t want to appear like the cunt-fucking motherfucker we all know exists under the surface if you cross him.
How long til Strikeforce vs UFC fights? They haven’t talked about it yet. “I’m sure everyone will still enjoy what Strikeforce is gonna present.” Basically it sounds like they can’t start promising anything until they sort out some stuff with Showtime.
Worried about anti-trust? The “there’s tons of other tiny promotions out there and anyone who wants to throw an event can come in and do it.” Line is used again. Dana adds “Anyone with big balls and money can get into this thing.” Fair enough. If they like having their balls crushed by the UFC, that is.
Any chance of using Strikeforce to go into Japan? “We don’t know yet.”
Was the Heavyweight GP fucked up because you were wanking around with this deal? Nope, just venue and region issues.
What about Women’s MMA? “That’s Scott’s thing, not mine.” How reassuring…
Any chance of the SF HW GP being on PPV: Yeah, possibly.
Now that you won’t be counter-programming Strikeforce, are we still gonna see old PPVs rebroadcast on Spike? Yeah that may still happen since Spike likes UFC content on Saturday nights, although it won’t be done out of malice anymore.
Are you going to use Showtime for PPVs? Strikeforce has a deal with Showtime to distribute PPVs, but UFC basically does their own PPV thing already. (Re: this question, I’ve heard some people say Showtime has a better PPV split deal than the UFC does, but can’t get any confirmation on that.)
Does Scott have equity in Zuffa? Nope
Is Scott happy with the deal? “I’m proud of Strikeforce’s accomplishments and think this will be good for MMA fans.”
Does getting all this video content push you closer to a Zuffa / UFC / On Demand channel? “Nah, we got a general plan we’re gonna keep moving towards. But yes, our collection is massive, thank you very much.”
Any chance of using Strikeforce to promote to Hispanics? “Uuuuh … yes, hopefully.”
Now that you guys are the last promotion standing, thoughts on a union? “If the fighters want it”, but Dana don’t see the big boys giving up a chunk of their cheese for the rest. Translation: we aren’t about to help set one up, so good luck with that, guys.
Will Strikeforce contracts still allow out of league competition etc? “All current contracts will be honored.” If there was a secondary line to ‘Business as Usual, it was ‘All contracts will be honored.’
How does Fedor’s contract work? Scott sez “Blah blah confidentiality keeps me from talking specifics but Fedor fights for Strikeforce on Showtime.”
Did you buy Strikeforce to stop ProElite from buying it? The UFC claims they didn’t know about that deal at all.
When did talks begin? Mid-December.
Don’t all those other 1000s of promotions suck? Yeah, the UFC can’t guarantee anyone else will make money, but past that anyone can totally promote MMA!
Would you consider going into new regions by buying regional promotions? We do pretty good on our own and keep doing it like that.
Are you worried about alphabet soup belts now that you’ve got two leagues with their own belts? “Not really.”
Where are these new shows going to go? PPV? Network TV? The internet? All of the above. “We think foreign markets could definitely support events with up and comers that would have their own regional deals. And anywhere it can’t reach, it can go on the net.”