After a fairly successful Saturday night for Strikeforce's first card on a major television network, the organization might find themselves in a bit of a conundrum.
Strikeforce's acquisition of highly coveted heavy weight Fedor Emelianenko was without question part of a plan to turn itself into a big promotion capable of going toe to toe with the UFC.
Prior to acquiring the services of Fedor, Strikeforce was a small local American promotion. Strikeforce hosted events for free on Showtime and never threatened the UFC with pay per view or major television network cards.
In fact Dana White who is very quick to berate and tear down the competition, never really had anything mean to say about Strikeforce as an organization.
Unlike Affliction and other promotions that have either been gobbled up or destroyed by the UFC, Strikeforce has never been subject to the aggressive and systematic counter programming the UFC is notorious for when the competition is broadcasting their fights. That is until now.
Dana White has been taking his shots at Strikeforce and is probably rather bitter with the fact that Strikeforce ended up with Fedor.
This past weekend we saw UFC programming on Spike TV on both Friday night, during Strikeforce's ShoMMA 4: Gurgel vs Evangelista on Showtime and Saturday night for Strikeforce: Fedor vs Rogers on CBS.
Make no mistake Strikeforce is now on the UFC hit list.
That being said, Strikeforce's Saturday night fights on CBS were all entertaining bouts and the preliminary numbers are showing that it was a successful campaign despite the UFC counter programming.
You know what they say, “Too much of a good thing can be bad”, so Strikeforce should definitely take their time with the Russian phenom and use his contract wisely.
Of course, any organization is going to want to ride the momentum of their last event into the next one and you can't space out your money makers too much.
A fighter that gets a good draw for your company should realistically be fighting at the very least twice a year and at the most four times a year.
This is where Strikeforce finds themselves a bit tied up with Fedor Emelianenko.
After his fight with Rogers, it was revealed that Rogers' jab to open the first round did in fact break Fedor's nose and on a heavier note Fedor damaged his left hand at some point in the fight.
The damage to the left hand is going to take a good 4-6 months to be at full strength, which means the soonest we'll see Fedor in the cage is May of 2010. That is a long time.
Strikeforce is certainly not going to be very comfortable having one of the faces of the organization on the shelf for so long.
Strikeforce picked Fedor up to challenge the MMA world as a top promotion and now they will have to go a six month stretch without him.
Things like this happen to the UFC, but unlike Strikeforce the UFC has multiple fighters in each division that can save a fight card and bide them some extra time while their stars heal up.
Strikeforce is going to have to handle their upcoming cards carefully and they are going to have to put a lot of effort into promoting them.
Of course Strikeforce has some more talent behind Fedor, guys like Mousasi, Jake Shields, Alistair Overeem (if he ever comes back to defend his belt), Brett Rogers, possibly Dan Henderson, possibly Arlovski and maybe Barnett if he can get a licence to fight.
The problem with the guys on Strikeforce's roster is they aren't the kind of draws that the top fighters in the UFC are.
Fedor Emelianenko is integral to Strikeforce's development and he can't do much for the organization while he is on injured reserve.
There are somethings working in Strikeforce's favour and they might be able to weather the storm without Fedor.
The UFC's biggest draw Brock Lesnar is out for 3-6 months with mono. Anderson Silva is out due to required elbow surgery. Lyoto Machida is on a 60 day suspension due to the injuries sustained in his last fight. Georges St. Pierre has been hampered by a groin injury since his last fight in UFC 100.
Clearly a lot of the UFC's big draws are out with injury as well and this bodes well for Strikeforce.
On top of that, Fedor injuries aside, from the fight quality and viewer statistics standpoint Strikeforce's first major card on CBS did well for itself.
Not having Fedor is like a thorn in Strikeforce's side, but with proper scheduling and promoting they could get through the next six months without Fedor in the cage, only time will tell.