At the beginning of every Strikeforce event, the rules are explained. One Strikeforce rule has always stood out to hardcore MMA fans: the prohibition of elbow strikes on the ground.
According to the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, which are used by the UFC and many other MMA organizations, elbow strikes on the ground are legal. Upon the announcement of Zuffa's purchase of Strikeforce, many began to wonder if the UFC would permit Strikeforce to continue enforcing conflicting sets of rules.
During the UFC Media Conference Call regarding the purchase of Strikeforce, Zuffa CEO Lorenzo Fertitta announced that Strikeforce would adopt the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, including elbow strikes on the ground.
Despite this change, Fertitta said that the UFC would remain unique from Strikeforce in one respect, the shape of the cage. While the UFC uses the trademarked Octagon, Strikeforce will continue to use its hexagon-shaped cage.
Time shall tell, but perhaps this first step in Strikeforce becoming more like the UFC will actually become the first step in the two organizations becoming one.
Sean Smith is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. For the latest insight and updates on everything MMA, you can follow Sean on Twitter @BR_Sean_Smith