Strikeforce: Is Strikeforce the Most Pointless Promotion in MMA?

Matt SaccaroContributor IIIMay 19, 2012

Photo courtesy Jeff Cain|
Photo courtesy Jeff Cain|

After tonight's battle between Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier, Strikeforce will cease to have a point in the MMA world. 

No, really, it'll be the most pointless promotion in all of MMA. Can anyone honestly say what important role the organization will occupy after tonight? It's quite sad because Strikeforce used to be great.

Originally, it was just a large regional promotion that put on exciting, intriguing fights and just happened to be on Showtime, so it was more visible than other promotions. 

It was an example of viability and cunning to all those promotions who sought to operate outside the UFC and be successful. Strikeforce wasn't trying to compete with the UFC. They were just trying to be themselves.

But then things changed. 

Strikeforce signed the free-agent, then-number one heavyweight in the world, Fedor Emelianenko. In addition, Strikeforce grabbed the contracts of numerous name fighters that were working for EliteXC, a pretender to the MMA throne that collapsed once their cash cow, Kimbo Slice, was proven to be a farce.

These moves made Strikeforce a perceived threat to the UFC. They were no longer just a minor league promotion with exposure. They were trying to succeed in the major leagues; that was their new purpose.

Unfortunately, they failed.

Emelianenko lost to Fabricio Werdum. Instead of doing a rematch, Strikeforce took on a noble endeavour, creating the greatest heavyweight tournament the world had ever seen. Instead, it was a spectacular train wreck. 

The fighter fans were most interested in—Emelianenko—was destroyed in the first round (as I predicted would happen in my very first article on Bleacher Report). The next-most popular fighter—Strikeforce heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem—turned in a lackluster decision win against Fabricio Werdum and then wound up in the UFC.

Meanwhile, Zuffa purchased Strikeforce, and things were never quite the same after that.

Now, over a year after the heavyweight grand prix started, it's finally about to be finished (although one of the entrants, Daniel Cormier, wasn't even in the original tournament).

What will Strikeforce's point be once the fight is over?

It won't have one. 

Can it really go back to being a regional promotion now that it's been in the limelight for so long? Will Showtime really want to decrease their product's importance? And how can they be considered only regional when they have some of the world's best like Gilbert Melendez and Tim Kennedy?

But at the same time, it's obviously not going to compete with the UFC since Zuffa owns it. 

Now, some would say that Zuffa will use Strikeforce as a minor league, but they've shown no indications of doing this save for signing Nate Marquardt to Strikeforce.

Thus, Strikeforce really has no place in MMA anymore—it's pointless! 

All the promotions of the MMA world occupy a role, no matter how small. MFC and Tachi Palace Fights allow new stars to develop their skills and UFC cast-outs to resurrect their careers. Bellator keeps the UFC on its toes by providing competition. After all, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney makes a strong case for the viability and future of his promotion.

Can Strikeforce boast of filling any of these important roles?


It's not a proper feeder league like Shark Fights or Ring of Combat, and it's not a competitor like Dream or Bellator. Strikeforce is simply nothing but a jumbled mess of contractual obligations that's keeping some of the world's best fighters from competing where they belong: the UFC.