Over the past few weeks, we’ve referred to Strikeforce’s final event as a lot of things: “a series of pathetic mismatches on the level of Pros vs. Joes,” “an injury-riddled metaphor for MMA in 2012,” “a once great promotion, now, a study in moppishness,” but no matter how hard we try, words often fail to accurately depict Strikeforce’s drawn out fall from grace.
But where words fail, numbers often succeed. And ladies and gentlemen, the numbers that were just released for Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine say so, so much more than we ever could. According to MMAFighting’s Dave Meltzer, the promotion’s final event brought in less viewers than your average Tuesday afternoon rerun of a Law and Order: Special Victims Unit episode. No, I am not currently watching a rerun of a Law and Order: Special Victims Unit episode. Meltzer writes:
Saturday night’s show was headlined by Nate Marquardt vs. Tarec Saffiedine for the Strikeforce welterweight title, but was really promoted around being the end of an era. However, there was little fan interest in that nostalgia and the event did a 0.82 rating and 310,000 viewers among Showtime subscribers.
From a rating standpoint, the only major Saturday night show on the network that did a number in that ballpark was the September 10, 2011, show from Cincinnati…did an identical 0.82 rating, with 274,000 viewers.
Ouch. While there’s no doubt that the removal of guys like Luke Rockhold and Gil Melendez from the card — and the subsequent cancelling of their title fights — is at least partly responsible for these abysmal ratings, we’re not sure anyone could have seen the former #2 promotion in MMA ending its career on lamer terms than, say, Ice-T in Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.
The rating was only slightly better than most of the Challengers shows, low-budget Friday night shows with little or no name talent – and with very little promotion – that usually ranged from 0.5 to 0.75 ratings, and once hit the 1.0 barrier.
The ratings were down 43 percent and total viewing audience down 41 percent from the previous Strikeforce card on Aug. 18, which featured no name fighters outside of a Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah Kaufman main event.
As much as we should probably be surprised by that last bit of information, the fact that Strikeforce cancelled their two previous fight cards, then failed to put together even a few remotely hype-worthy fights for their final event likely drove more than a fair share of potential viewers away before all was said and done.
But if I can speak candidly, I would just like to say that Strikeforce deserved better than this. So, so much better than this. Over the past two years, the promotion has been abused, ridiculed, and purged from within, to the point that not even Detective Elliot Stabler could bring it comfort, let alone justice, in a two hour season finale of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. And for that, we will forever be in your debt, Strikeforce. You fought the good fight, and never once asked for anything but our undying viewership in return. Now let these ominous tones carry you into that good night.