(“OK, if we didn’t call your name, it means we had no idea you even worked here. Anyway, you’re fired too.”)
Kind of like the husband who assures his loving wife he’s only going to have “a couple of beers” with the boys after work, we suspect when Dana White told us back in March that Zuffa, LLC was “not planning any changes” inside Strikeforce he probably really believed it at the very moment the words came out of his mouth. But just as that husband somehow ends his night trying to explain there was no way he could’ve known that 14-year-old prostitute was actually an undercover policewoman, so too does it turn out White’s definition of “business as usual” actually means, “in two months we’re going to lay off 85 percent of you guys.”
And like the wife stranded at home with the baby and the bottle and the bail money, we kinda knew all along this night wasn’t going to end well, didn’t we? That’s why it comes as a shock to absolutely no one this week that reports say of the 12 employees who worked in the Strikeforce front office at the time of the Zuffa sale, just two full-timers now remain. It was clear weeks ago that the UFC had effectively taken over Strikeforce’s media relations and this week that Scott Coker had been quietly demoted to Executive VP of Something-Or-Other, so these new revelations just feel like another incidental step toward a sad divorce. Unless you used to work for Strikeforce, in which case – if you’ll excuse our language – these new revelations probably feel like a huge dick in the ass.
According to MMA Fighting’s Mike Chiappetta: “The highest-profile of the layoffs was matchmaker Rich Chou, who Coker once said was the man most likely to replace him and run the organization some day. Chou was replaced by former WEC matchmaker Sean Shelby.”
And look, that’s just business. At the time of the purchase maybe the UFC had actually convinced itself that Strikeforce could continue to run as a separate entity – that’s sort of what it says every time, after all – but the truth is that’s just not practical. If there’s one thing we know for sure about the honchos at Zuffa, it’s that they like to run things a certain way. Their way. They also don’t seem like the type of dudes who are going to be amenable to changes or outside ideas. Fact is, Strikeforce peeps weren’t part of Dana’s crew and if you’re not part of the crew, well …
As if we needed one sad detail to act as a microcosm here, there’s this: According to the report, even as Zuffa continues to tighten its grip on Strikeforce from its Las Vegas-based offices Coker – who now appears to hold the same rank in the company as Chuck Liddell – continues to work out of San Jose.
Put your glasses on, Scott. See that stuff on the wall? That’s the writing. It’s been there for awhile now.