|Written by Michael|
Bet on the UFCAfter months of negotiations, it looks like Zuffa LLC, the owner and operator of Ultimate Fighting Championship, will be buying its last real competitor, Strikeforce, which began MMA promotions in 2006. With this purchase, UFC will be the only big-name mixed martial arts operation, although Strikeforce never became nearly as popular as the monthly UFC fights.
Numerous sources have indicated that Zuffa has agreed to the purchase, and the deal could be announced officially as early as Monday. San Jose-based Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment is a partner with Strikeforce's parent company, West Coast Entertainment. Scott Coker created WCE in 1985, and is also currently the Strikeforce CEO.
In the past, the UFC has chosen to buy out competitors, rather than allow them to gain too much popularity in the MMA community. UFC has also absorbed Pride Fighting Championships and World Extreme Cagefighting. The difference with the Strikeforce deal is that the plan right now is to keep UFC and Strikeforce operating separately as two promotions.
So for the time being, expect the April 9 Strikeforce event to continue as planned, with Coker continuing as CEO. Fighters for one will not fight for the other, as well. UFC president Dana White has long been an opponent of cross promoting events, even going so far as to state that it is unlikely that he will appear at any Strikeforce events in the near future.
This will obviously mean big changes for both UFC and Strikeforce, but it is too early to tell what exactly is planned for the two, together or separately. But the official UFC twitter account is already promoting tickets on sale for the Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley event, and the Wikipedia page for Strikeforce has already been changed to indicate the change in ownership. Things obviously move very fast in the world of MMA fighting, and that is not likely to change.