5 Reasons Strikeforce Will Be Consumed by the UFC Sooner Than Expected
It has been a few months now since Zuffa, the parent company that owns the UFC, purchased the Strikeforce promotion. Dana White, president of the UFC, has stated numerous times that the two organizations would remain separate, with only minor changes behind the scenes affecting Strikeforce.
But how long will this separation last?
As fighters and fans alike clamor for superfights between champions like Dan Henderson and Jon Jones or Gilbert Melendez and Frankie Edgar, it seems that cross promotion is already on the horizon.
But if history has taught us anything, a merger may come sooner than most people will expect.
5.Women in the UFC
In the past, Dana White has been adamant against women entering the Octagon. When asked in January by a camera reporter about the possibility of stars like "Cyborg" Santos and Gina Carano fighting in the UFC, White responded simply, "Never."
But with the acquisition of Strikeforce, sanctioned women's MMA bouts now occur under the Zuffa umbrella. As MMA gains fans across the globe, appealing to both genders seems like the next logical step.
White and his partners know when things make business sense, and I doubt White would hold this embargo when millions of dollars are at stake.
Although a merger would not occur for the sole purpose of adding women to the UFC's roster, it would be the easiest way to introduce women's MMA to the casual fan.
And as Dana White has shown before, never usually just means not right now.
4. Global Marketing
One of the driving forces behind the purchase of Strikeforce was the accessibility that CEO Scott Coker had to the Japanese fighters and promotions. Admitting that he's had trouble in the past communicating with Japanese MMA brass, Dana White has said that Coker is the guy to get these deals done.
As Dream and Strikeforce have been sharing fighters for some time now, it seems like only a matter of time until we see even more internationally known fighters compete in the UFC.
Last October, the UFC acquired three big Japanese stars in Riki Fukuda, Michihiro Omigawa and "Kid" Yamamato, giving the organization seven current Japanese fighters.
With aspirations to market globally, adding even more names, such as Dream champion Shinya Aoki would give the UFC even more global appeal if a merger were to occur.
3. Strikeforce's Big Names
It started with the acquisition of Jake Shields. The UFC took one of Strikeforce's most highly touted champions and added him to their already stacked roster.
Housing a ton of talented fighters, Strikeforce still retains many big names in the sport, including Fedor Emelianenko, Cung Le, Fabricio Werdum and "Bigfoot" Silva, merging the two organizations would add some great fighters, especially to the UFC's heavyweight division.
The UFC is already adding some of Strikeforce's stars to their roster, including Jason "Mayhem" Miller, signing the "Bully Beatdown" host to a multi-fight deal. Although not the organization's best fighter, he is by far one of their biggest names and has a wide fan base due to his reality show on MTV.
As the UFC seeks out the most talented warriors, merging with Strikeforce would certainly add even more depth to the organization.
2. Champion vs. Champion
What has really accelerated talk about a merger is the notion of the superfight, pitting champion against champion to see who truly is the best in the world.
After an unimpressive victory over Jake Shields, both fighters and fans are asking to see Georges St. Pierre to face Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz. A teammate of Shields, Diaz has been on a tear of late.
For logistical purposes, a superfight will most likely occur only if the organizations merge. When the UFC purchased Pride in 2007, Pride middleweight and welterweight champion Dan Henderson fought to unify the belts with UFC champions "Rampage" Jackson and Anderson Silva only after the two promotions merged.
Although fights like Henderson vs. Jones, Melendez vs. Edgar, and Diaz vs. GSP could definitely occur without a merger, I think that the UFC brass would rather house all of the fighters under one roof before getting these match ups set up.
To see why people are thinking merger already, one only has to look to the UFC's past dealings with other organizations.
When Zuffa purchased Pride Fighting Championships in 2007, UFC brass said that the two organizations would be separate but would have cross promotional fights on occasion. Sound familiar?
But as months past, Dana White cast doubt on Pride staying viable, saying that many of the promotion's biggest names would fight exclusively in the UFC and that Zuffa would be unable to resurrect Pride in Japan.
Although Strikeforce has been putting on shows after the purchase with White in attendance, similar to the WEC after their purchase, the calling out between champions and the new influx of former Strikeforce warriors fighting in the UFC makes it more likely that a merger is coming.
They may be putting on shows for now, but I doubt that Strikeforce will last as long as the WEC did before their merger.
Whether it's next week or next year, Pride and the WEC have shown that merging with the UFC is inevitable.