“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.