With the recent purchase of Strikeforce by the UFC, the MMA world has been a buzz as of late about the future of the sport. Mixed Martial Arts is the fastest-growing sport in our country. It has taken the model of promoting fighters and pay-per-views like wrestling or boxing, which has been very successful for Zuffa.
Now that one company owns the two largest leagues in the fight game, many aspects of the sport could look to change.
The WWE has SmackDown and Raw, which play off of each other; will the UFC look to do the same?
From a company that was going under the bus just a decade ago, to a powerhouse in the entertainment business, they have showed that ambition and the willingness to gamble on a product can pay off if everything lines up. Now they have the power to actually buy out other companies. Just remember that Strikeforce had just as much talent as the UFC and many argue they have an even better Heavyweight class.
Now, the fans on the forums and blogs might actually have some their wildest dreams come true.
When Affliction folded, many fighters immigrated to their respected leagues; it really was down to Strikeforce and the UFC. Like boxing, there are multiple belts in the same weight classes. This creates debates over who is the best of the best. That creates discussion that keeps the sport in the news, but now these debates can actually come into fruition.
Even though Dana White has stated that Strikeforce will keep its name, some fighters will face each other.
How should the UFC market the sport?
This merger breeds hypothetical matchups.
In the heavyweight class, you have so much talent on both sides. In the UFC, you have Cain Velasquez, Brock Lesnar, Junior Dos Santos and Shane Carwin to name a few. In Strikeforce, you have Alistair Overeem, Fedor Emilianenko, Antonio Silva, Fabricio Werdum and other rising talent.
While Cain and Alistair hold their respected belts, many people want to see Brock Lesnar fight Fedor just because they have the star power and so much debate has been over those two fighters. Many times, matchups and talent take a back seat to star power in the fight game.
In all honesty, Alistair Overeem is probably the best heavyweight in both leagues, but that can’t be fact until he goes toe-to-toe with the fighters in the UFC.
That is just a taste of the potential of what this merger can do for MMA. Without the leagues joining, this talk would be just talk. Now that these matchups are viable, it might take MMA to another level.
With the marketing of the sport coming from all sides like clothing, DVDs, video games and training gear, the grassroots movement has taken a back seat to the marketing juggernauts. When your sport has made its way to Walmart shelves, it says a lot about how far it has come.
If the UFC wants to move away from the pay-per-view market and mix a cocktail of WWE, NFL and ESPN, this sport will shadow everything in the country but football.
If the UFC plans a well thought-out network deal, you could have your fight fix on Saturday night and the pigskin on Sunday!