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MMA Game Changer: UFC Purchases Strikeforce

“Who has two thumbs and rules the entire MMA universe? This guy!”

The landscape of MMA has once again changed forever. Just like the UFC’s purchase of Pride, the UFC has enveloped another key competitor and solidified their stronghold on the MMA marketplace beyond what was previously thought possible. In his exclusive twenty-one minute interview with star reporter Ariel Helwani , Dana White sticks to the mantra “business as usual”, insisting that Strikeforce will continue to operate as its own entity. Sound familiar?  Fortunately, running Strikeforce won’t entail dealing with the Yakuza. In fact, Dana casually likens the deal to purchasing a house. A house full of dudes that beat the shit out of each other for a living on national television.

Excerpts and notes from the interview are after the jump, but do yourself a favor and watch the whole thing.

On what led to the purchase:

“Well, as we continue to grow and expand into all these other countries one of the things that I keep telling you every time we talk is that we need more fights. We need more fights, more fights, and Let’s face the facts. Strikeforce is a brand that fans have come to like. They do have a following. People enjoy the fights that they’re putting on And it made sense to us.

White was reluctant to disclose details of the purchase, including how long the deal took to negotiate and what those negotiations entailed.

On merging the two organizations into one:

“Strikeforce is going to continue to run business as usual. There’s contracts in place. These guys are on Showtime. Strikeforce pulls good ratings for Showtime. I think Showtime is happy with them. And all of those contracts will be honored. These guys are going to remain Strikeforce fighters. Could guys from the UFC leave and end up over in Strikeforce? Yeah, absolutely.”

On his rocky relationship with Showtime and Ken Hershman:

“The beauty in a business like this is that there’s three partners in the UFC. It’s me, Frank, Lorenzo, and actually Abu Dhabi. So these guys, Lorenzo can go deal with Showtime. I think the last thing Showtime wants to see is me show up at the door and start having conversations. And that’s no big deal. Lorenzo can go deal with Showtime.”

Regarding a Super Bowl style event, pitting fighters from the two organizations against one another:

“There won’t be any super fights. When I say business as usual, we don’t co-promote. We don’t co-promote, period.”

Scott Coker will continue to run Strikeforce autonomously. Dana says repeatedly that he will honor all contracts, including those with M1, Fedor, and UFC lepers Josh Barnett and Paul Daley. On whether that means he’ll be renewing those contracts, that’s a different story.

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jeanclaudetransam- March 13, 2011 at 10:49 pm
I compare this to the NFL's acquisition of the USFL. Strikeforce were hemorrhaging money and were really never going to be competition with their bungling and incompetency and I'm the kinda guy who roots for the underdog. Now the Baldfather will just bide his time and absorb the best stars. Overall, this will be beneficial to the sport I think.

I think there's already a sort of loose union in place when it comes to fighters being grouped into camps. It gives them a sort of interesting collective bargaining power. Remember the Jon Fitch videogame incident?

But people salivating over getting to see names like Fedor or Overeem in the heavyweight division are sadly mistaken. Fedor will retire because Dana won't deal with M-1. 'Reem would have to actually fight more than twice a year, piss clean AND give up any kickboxing ventures. I seriously can't see him doing that once his Strikeforce contract is up.
Mir please break Brocks neck- March 13, 2011 at 8:36 pm
Lorenzo Fer-tit-ta is a man-gyna. Like how he flex's his bi-ceps at the weigh-ins? Back stage? Every chance he gets....that pecker pokes his little ass-face in the camera. Piece of shit.

What sucks more is that he knows me... Too well....

What your back sir. Or YOU'LL be fired next! That would be awesome.

Stations sucks.

Chuck Norris for Strikeforce President position!
Endless Soldier- March 13, 2011 at 7:25 pm
@Dagnut Well I'm not trying to be biased. Yes he hates sites like these and he has a lot of other opinions that differ from the majority, but he and his company, as businessmen, are smart enough to turn those detracting statements around. I'm not saying this is a sure thing, as we're all human. Personally, he's an ass, but in the business side of MMA, he's the one to go to. Remember that without him and Zuffa, UFC would have gone down almost absolutely.
Anzus- March 13, 2011 at 5:52 pm
The NBA is the perfect example of an organization that is reliant on healthy competition. They use a draft system to even the level playing field and foster healthy competition between clubs. It doesn't matter how the fuck you word it, competition is vital for churning out a quality product. The UFC now has no major competitors. If you can't see what this means for the future of MMA you need to turn off the fucking blinkers and get with reality. A monopoly has the same impact regardless of the industry.
PERPATRAITOR- March 13, 2011 at 2:31 pm
You know who hates their life right now? Jay Heiron lol sucks for you bud.
PERPATRAITOR- March 13, 2011 at 2:12 pm
You guys! Diaz vs Sanchez!!!!!! YES CARTWHEELS!!! This would lead into the perfect fight for gsp either way it goes.
Waxedpants- March 13, 2011 at 1:52 pm
@waxedpants

wrong website asshole
Waxedpants- March 13, 2011 at 1:52 pm
I can't believe piprocks hasn't commented yet --- he may have gone and hung himself.
Waxedpants- March 13, 2011 at 1:51 pm
@ccman
Not painful at all buddy .... have I disagreed with you before ?
I don't remember due to my lifestyle choices but if we did disagree I am sure I was right.
I Work At Initech- March 13, 2011 at 12:52 pm
I have to agree with a lot of the comments here, I think this is a major step down for the sport! As we've seen with Pride, and what has happened since (Sengoku) the merger of the UFC/WEC and now Strikeforce will mean less MMA for fans, and based on the way the UFC runs its events it is likely we'll have to channel surf between 12 different channels and visit some social network to watch 7 of the 8-9 fights on a given card.
ccman- March 13, 2011 at 10:07 am
Was that painful waxed?
And since when is stern not a meglomaniac dictator?
Waxedpants- March 13, 2011 at 9:47 am
@ccman

ccman is correct.
Dagnut- March 13, 2011 at 8:44 am
Stop comparing it to the NBA, the NBA has independent elected commissioner who is to sever the interests of all the clubs and players alike..not a megalomaniac at the helm...an idiot who has managed to alienate lots of TV executives, lot of states blah blah blah I could go on but whats the point...you seen the guys reaction to this site and you still defend him? I despair I really do
Peppered 2 Death- March 13, 2011 at 8:43 am
Well atleast if they get rid of Gus Johnson, we get to listen to him announce NFL games still come fall. Shit.... wait.
Endless Soldier- March 13, 2011 at 7:23 am
@KingAtRock there is no basis for what you've said. "Horrible" PPVs? MMA "dead?" WEC still performed well even after Zuffa Ltd purchased it, and the merger will help athletes in lower weight divisions to have their time in the limelight. Besides, Dana White claims it's just business as usual for now. Now if ever the SF roster merges with the UFC, it'll be good exposure for them to the "casual" fans who think UFC = MMA. Besides, SF does put on good shows once in a while, it's just the terrible managing done by Coker and Co. that makes it suck. So no, I wouldn't hastily say "HORRIBLE" PPV's for UFC. From a business perspective, Dana White and his corporate fellows know their stuff and he'll have more of a chance to handle things better than Coke. And lastly, it's not a monopoly. The "minor leagues" are still there to stay and I'm pretty sure Zuffa would be smart enough not to purchase them. It's like how Basketball has NBA, but alongside with it your local basketball circuits. Both are needed in the respective sport.
KingAtRock- March 13, 2011 at 1:18 am
Welcome to the Walmart of MMA. Just like wec, strikeforce will get swallowed and HORRIBLE HORRIBLE ufc pay per views will follow.

"unified mma" lol.

It's called a monopoly.


MMA is dead.
ccman- March 13, 2011 at 12:29 am
Ya know. When the ufc bought pride half the world rejoiced. Half mourned. Turns out it was either sold or folding. When the ufc bought wec? Same thing. Rejoice was hope cross promo fights, half screamed monopoly. You can hate the ufc and dana white all day, they did grow the sport. All other promotions are benifiting from their hard work (look at small promotions flocking to toronto, the ufc greased all those wheels) and fighter salaries. And sponsor money is going up because the ufc has grown the sport.
Know history, preferably because you watched it, and know math\business before you whine. Please. Sf was going under. Belive it. The math on their shows has not worked for years.
Endless Soldier- March 12, 2011 at 11:59 pm
@Dagnut So true. It's not good how people think UFC is the sport and not MMA but it's sort of forgivable. Anyway, @DranoKills, wtf. What the hell is a sport without athletes? I'm saying it's just a little of both. A good analogy is the relationship between Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach. Without Roach, Manny would just be some speedy puncher with a mean left hook. Now, he's developed an all-around game. However, without Pacquiao, Roach wouldn't have been popular enough to have earned Coach of the Year awards 4 or so times. The sport refines the athlete through competition, and in turn the athlete makes known the sport. Who would want to watch a bunch of no-name bore-ass Mixed Martial Artists dance around for 15 minutes? That said, who would want to pay 50 smackers to watch a fight card in a no-name organization?
Dagnut- March 12, 2011 at 11:03 pm
@ DranoKills
Thats bollox people could tell you who Jordan was and not have a clue about the bulls..about basketball and not know the NBA..because you live in the states you take it for granted that everyone knows ..they don't..people know who Tyson is couldn't tell anyone he fought or any of the belt names he held.
People wouldn't know who the fighters where without Zuffa?Theres a world outside the US..remember pride? fighters were on tv doing commercials in japan...I don't live in a fantasy world fighters are NOT ALLOWED promote themselves.
People outside the US know who your sports stars are, but have no clue what NFL or NBA stands for or what sports it relates it...UFC is not a sport..MMA is the sport
dranokills- March 12, 2011 at 10:39 pm
Dagnut Says:

Sat, 03/12/11 - 06:52

@RwilsonR
Shouldn’t Arlovski and Hendo have a choice?? your missing my point here
As far as raising the profile Of the sport, yeah White has done that but he’s pissed of so many people I think he’s polarized opinion against the sport…shouldn’t it be the fighters and MMA as a skill and art form that raise the profile and not a couple of billionaire casino owners and a loud mouth boxerise coach?
You think it’s acceptable that he can demean fighters who won’t sign for him or play his game? Fedor for example?
Fighters deserve the fame not the brand… the average joe would Know who tiger woods was but could the tell you the name of the tour he plays on? Do you know what belts Ali held?
--------------------------------------------------------------
allow me to answer your questions:
1:fuck no it is NEVER about the athlete, it is always about the team he or she is on. without those so called billionaire casino owners and that loud mouth boxerise coach ( is that a word?) none of these fighters would be known to anyone outside 5 miles of their home. fighters don't promote themselves, nor do they do TV deals. You live in a fantasy world dude, if you think otherwise.
2:Yeah I think when you piss off the most important person in MMA today you deserve everything you get, period. Fedor is a fine example, him and his crazy bitchass russian mob croonies blew their chance at big money while he was still this mythical unbeatable machine. now he has been exposed for the fat can beating nobody he is, I think its great fucking karma that Dana can rub it in. fuck the fedor's of the world, learn to recognize.
3:fighters and all sports athletes have fame dude, but they got it from being part of a brand name, not the other way around, again you live in a rose colored fucking world to think otherwise.
anyone not know who won the superbowl? anyone have a clue who won the grey cup? who was the quarterback? running back?
uh huh thats right WITHOUT googling that shit you have NO clue, but you know the brand when you hear it. how important is the athlete now again.......thats what I thought!
RwilsonR- March 12, 2011 at 10:05 pm
I also want to address something that I'm sure a lot of people will disagree with regarding fighter pay, but that Spicymeatball's comment inadvertantly got me sidetracked on.
 
Spicymeatball said: "Look at the MLB, NFL, NBA, NASCAR, and the NHL. All work because it is the best 1 percent of the athletes in each sport."
 
He is right. They do represent the top one percent of the sport when you consider all of the athletes who play for fun, in high school, in college, at gyms, in minor leagues, etc. And I would argue that for all the complaining about MMA pay not being comparable to these other pro sports, it actually is closer than you think. If you consider the pay for the top 1 percent of MMA fighters, they are being well compensated. And at this point, only the champions and very top challengers in this sport represent the top 1 percent in relative numbers to sports like baseball and football. So a guy like Ben Askren, or even Evan Dunham, might seem criminally underpaid, but his relative position to another sport might be comparable to say a farm team in baseball in terms of their relative place in the sport.
Obviously even the top 1 percent in this sport don't make what some other athletes make in other sports, but considering the relative youth of this sport, they still do pretty well.
Most times the easy thing to do is to stick up for the little guy. The poor struggling athlete who is giving it his all. Still, it is a choice that person made. Sometimes it is the big guy who deserves some credit, as they are the one who took the risk to create something where they could provide jobs to the little guy. And when you reflexively ask for arbitrary pay levels because you emotionally want to help the poor fighter without regard to business decisions, often times you can end up leaving those fighters without jobs (see EliteXC/Affliction).
LET IT RAIN- March 12, 2011 at 9:48 pm
@ dranokills
Good call. I could see SF being used like the minors for a bit. He can drop some peeps off of SF's roster, integrate promising new comers all before moving them into the UFC. Also, he can move some fighters from the UFC down to the "minors" if they dont cut the mustard. They might handle it a little bit like the WEC also where they start absorbing a couple of weight classes into the UFC first, or perhaps just certain fighters.

@ ballkick
Yes, I think a fighters union will be needed to keep the better interest of the fightes in perspective.
jkdchef- March 12, 2011 at 9:33 pm
Given the apparent demise of top tier MMA promotions in Japan (read:rest of the world), Dana saw the opportunity to realize his dream of making the UFC bigger than the NFL.With the sport gaining main stream traction and his brand hosting events around the world, bottle necking the top talent was the missing key.I agree with the two year merger window. Strikeforce may continue to exist afterwards as a UFC-d league and host the development of prospects or the dawn days of former standouts as well as providing a venue for the occasional freakshow, James Toney v Herschel Walker anyone, all this on premium cable/network TV and building up to the (real) UFC PPV buzz. However one of the key things in the interview that is really going overlooked is Danas admission of the other partners i.e. Abu Dhabi as having decision making/promoting abilities.... Hmm Interesting. Regardless good or bad the deal is done now just hurry up and wait.
Ballkick- March 12, 2011 at 9:06 pm
Luffa made a business decision,....I doubt anyone in the same shoes would have done different.
I will reserve judgement on the pro''s and con's till we see what comes down the pipe.
I am an optimist and think this will all play out for the best.
However,I believe a fighters union is sorely needed to keep the Kings on there toes and honest. These guys put there bodies and health in more jeopardy than any other Pro sports.
AussieJosh- March 12, 2011 at 8:40 pm
Dana "Fucking" White!
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