Strikeforce Buys EliteXC, Hopefully Didn't Buy Love Affair with Kimbo
With Strikeforce buying the assets, video library, and some of the fighter contracts from the now extinct EliteXC, the question is what to do with all the new toys. The obvious focus will be on which fighters will compete under the Strikeforce banner, especially Robbie Lawler, Gina Carano, and of course Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson.
I would hope that Strikeforce watched the mess that EliteXC made by resting all hopes on a cult figure rather than around the best representation of mixed martial artists on the roster. With guys like Lawler, Scott Smith, Yves Edwards, and Nick Diaz under contract, the promotion has many familiar names to bring in hardcore fans. You add in a good mix of young up-and-comers and you have the recipe for good fight cards.
Strikeforce can use Gina Carano as the focal point to bring female MMA fighters into the mainstream. With proper marketing, good matchmaking, and the recognizable face of the former "American Gladiator" to draw ratings, the women's division can be that something different needed to compete against the likes of Affliction and the UFC.
The production needs to be better as well. They need their announcers build up the credentials of each fighter, not tell us how badly they failed in the UFC. They need put together fighters that make for an exciting matches based on their styles, rather than put all the top guys against tomato cans to build a false reputation. They need to promote the fighters that deserve to be headliners, and let the less experienced guys and girls learn the ropes on the undercard.
And that brings us to Mr. Ferguson. If Strikeforce wants to make a quick buck, then featuring Kimbo is the way to go. The general MMA fan will tune in to see if he can bounce back from the embarrassment at the hands of Seth Petruzelli, hoping the previous hype was justified and the loss was a fluke. True MMA followers may watch to if Slice is still the fraud that hardcore fans always thought he was, wishing for another brutal beating by another underachiever. That is, of course, if they tune in at all.
I hope that Strikeforce paid attention to the mistakes made by the previous owners of its latest acquisitions. Because building your franchise around a guy with very little experience, a decent cult following, and virtually nothing to offer other than a Youtube built reputation works great. Just look at what that did for EliteXC.
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