It’s official! Strikeforce and Showtime had a press conference this afternoon confirming the continuation of their strange relationship through 2012. Let’s break down all the nitty gritty:
The deal is for 6-8 shows, which will set it on the exact same schedule the WEC used to be on. Who knows why there’s two events worth of wiggle room, but whatevs.
The heavyweight division is toast. Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier will fight to wrap up the HWGP and then whoever wins that will fight ‘a top ranked heavyweight’ in an attempt to make the tournament seem less pointless. After that the UFC will cherrypick the division and shut it down.
Women’s 135 & 145 divisions will stay, which is really good because Cris Cyborg dying of kidney failure trying to cut to 135 would have made for some bad headlines.
Scott Coker will run the day to day operations (at least the ones that have been left to him by Zuffa)
The current broadcast team will stay the same because we love them all SO MUCH and there is no room for improvement there at all.
Undercard fights will now air on Showtime Extreme, a channel I never knew existed that I’m sure no one really gets. But hey, that’s neat. Maybe Strikeforce will stop outsourcing their prelims to local promotions now.
Strikeforce Challengers is dead, and thank baby Jesus for that. The whole concept of a B-league for the B-league was always pretty stupid, and now it is no more.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Showtime is willing to admit Strikeforce is a defacto B-league. Keep that delusion strong, new ShoSports dude:
“Let’s be real clear: Strikeforce is not a secondary brand,” Espinoza said. “Luke Rockhold is not a secondary fighter, Cris Cyborg is not a secondary fighter, GIna [Carano] is not a secondary fighter, Gilbert [Melendez] is not a secondary fighter. This is a top-tier organization. It was a top-tier organization as a brand when Scott [Coker] was running it independently of Zuffa, and it will continue to be now that they’re in partnership with Zuffa.”
Dana White also chimed in on that note:
“There’s nothing wrong with being a feeder league, but that’s not what this thing’s going to be.”
Which is kinda too bad, because whatever the fuck Luke Rockhold vs Keith Jardine is, it doesn’t do much for me.