Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta, and Scott Coker held a media conference call earlier today to respond to questions about Zuffa’s purchase of Strikeforce, and despite DW’s previous claims that Strikeforce will operate the way it always has, at least one notable change is already in the works. Elbows to the head of a grounded opponent — a somewhat controversial staple of the Unified Rules of MMA followed by the UFC, but not utilized in Strikeforce — will now be legal in Strikeforce matches, effective immediately. Said Lorenzo Fertitta: “The one change we’re going to do as a promoter of the show is the unified rules that you see in the UFC.”
The move should reduce confusion among fans who might not understand why two MMA promotions that now share an owner would adhere to different rule-sets — though it was also announced that Strikeforce would still use its six-sided cage, and not the Octagon. A few more notable updates from the conference call are after the jump (via MMAFighting and Sherdog).
- According to Scott Coker, his partners in Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment wanted to re-focus on their “core business” of hockey, which led to the sale; Coker wanted to stay in the MMA business. SVSE, the former co-owner of Strikeforce, also owns and operates the NHL’s San Jose Sharks.
- Another change of tune: Dana and Lorenzo now say they’d be open to cross-promotional superfights.
- Strikeforce’s deal with Showtime runs until 2014. “If Showtime is interested in something beyond that, we’re interested,” said Fertitta.
- The UFC will no longer counter-program Strikeforce events.
- Zuffa has nearly 4,000 fights in its library after acquiring Strikeforce’s library.
- Dana White on unions: “A union is up to the fighters. But this really isn’t a team sport. Will guys making big money want to kick money down to others?”
- Dana on a future Strikeforce PPV show: “We’re open to the idea of the heavyweight grand prix final being on pay-per-view.”