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Strikeforce Chopping Block: Who’s Getting Cut When The Dust Settles?

“Konichiwa, bitches!”

There are a lot of things we’ve come to know about Dana White over the years. He loves his Pink Berry. He relieves stress by pulling mediocre pranks on his subordinates.  He’s an astute, cut throat businessman. And he holds a grudge like a mother fucker.  It’s these last two traits that we’ll be examining at this time. With the UFC’s latest acquisition, Dana is in the position of working directly with many of the folks he’s either banned from the UFC or burned bridges with when attempts to work with them didn’t pan out. Aside from the recent legal quandary surrounding Roy Nelson‘s employment, Zuffa has proven through aggressive litigation and hard ball negotiation that they know their way around a contract. This makes it very likely that Dana will do just as he says in honoring all current Strikeforce related contracts.

But virtually all contracts come to an end at some point, and when Strikeforce’s agreements reach their expiration date it’s a whole new ballgame. Some Strikeforce staples, such as open, non-exclusive contracts and event co-promotion are sure to disappear. The same is certain for many of the organization’s familiar faces, both in front of the camera and in the cage. Despite Dana’s vindictive nature, he didn’t get where he is today by letting hard feelings get in the way of good business. Let’s take a closer look at who’s on the chopping block when the legal obligations dissolve and Dana is wielding the axe.


Frank Shamrock: When egos collide, take cover. It’s hard to say where this relationship started to go south. At one time Shamrock was the UFC’s most dominant champion, now he’s all but stricken from their record books. Hateful words and disses are commonplace on Twitter, Facebook, and in interviews, but it takes a special kind of hate to launch a non-profit organization. Look for Shamrock to be gone the moment his contract expires, if not sooner. It’s a shame, too, as those braces were just about to come off.

Josh Barnett: White’s relationship with Barnett is as vile as any. Barnett physically threatening a bitter rival? That’s to be expected. Dana mocking Barnett for his numerous failed drug tests? Par for the course. But this rivalry recently took a trip to bizzaro world when Barnett accused Dana of steroid abuse. The most interesting scenario would be if Barnett takes the Grand Prix title and goes on to win the belt from Overeem. Could a championship clause keep him in the mix? If not, would Dana cut a champion? He’s threatened to do so before. The war of words between this fighter and promoter would put anything the WWE has come up with to shame.

Matt Lindland: Lindland was cast out from the UFC under the pretense of having violated their sponsorship policies by wearing a banned t-shirt bearing the logo of an online casino at event weigh-ins. Yeah, that makes sense because Zuffa co-owners, the Fertitas, own Station Casinos in Vegas. What we also know is that Lindland seems like an insufferable SOB and that Dana was probably eager to have the more photogenic and all-around-pleasant Rich Franklin wearing the belt. Either way, time has not healed these wounds, and even if Lindland can get his hand raised in his next few bouts, there’s little chance he’d be invited back once his contract is up. At least he’ll be able to relieve the stress of being unemployed.

M-1 Global: We can expect this Cold War to start heating up. While the rest of the players in the Strikeforce saga likely have pretty standard contracts, M-1 Global seems firmly entrenched. It’s tough to say how far Strikeforce has bent over in an attempt to secure the services of Fedor Emelianenko. We kind of, sort of know what M-1 has demanded in the past, and we saw how all of that played out. M-1 definitely has some co-promotion rights, and we know they’ve struck a separate deal with Showtime. Considering how often they like to renegotiate their business dealings, perhaps their contract is not as iron-clad as they would hope.


Paul Daley: Daley was canned after his post-fight cheap shot on Koscheck. The glancing blow, while certainly in poor taste, was not the most egregious sin perpetrated inside or outside of the Octagon, but fresh off the heels of the Strikeforce brawl it proved a perfect opportunity to make an example of someone. That, in a nutshell, is it. Now Dana has a chance to stand by the exile and still keep “Semtex” on his roster if that’s what both guys want. Surprisingly, Daley’s already rocking the boat and risking his chance to make a living in one of the few major organizations around. We’ve seen Dana extend the olive branch before, let’s see if Daley is foolish enough to push it away if he does so again.

Nick Diaz: There’s no beef here between Dana and Diaz, it just comes down to business. There are a few things that the UFC expects from their fighters: they want them to help promote fights, appreciate their paycheck, pass their drug tests, and keep out of trouble when the cameras are rolling. None of those things are really Diaz’s strong suit. Dana has repeatedly stated that he’d love to have Diaz back in his stable of fighters, but that Diaz needs to learn to ‘play the game’. That, unfortunately, is not likely to happen.

Gus Johnson: Dana was not a big fan of his infamous post-brawl commentary, but is that enough to cut him from the roster?  Probably not. For now Showtime will continue to run events with their production crew and talent, but this has historically been a sticking point for Zuffa, who prefers to steer their own ship. It’s not hard to imagine a small struggle for control of who we see in the announcer’s booth down the road.

- Chris Colemon

Cagepotato Comments

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Edith Christ- March 14, 2011 at 5:16 pm
I'll never forgive him for being such a grudge-holder.
Fedor vs. Bas- March 14, 2011 at 1:17 pm
What about Hendo?
dim mak- March 14, 2011 at 9:40 am
That is, unless strikeforce
is such a depreciated asset
that it doesn't meet the
50 million reporting
dim mak- March 14, 2011 at 9:05 am
As an antitrust lawyer, I
have serious doubts as to
whether the feds will allow
this deal to go forward.
ccman- March 13, 2011 at 7:41 pm
Actually I was prouder of danas horns being visable from space
CungwantsCookies- March 13, 2011 at 6:49 pm
nero who?
edhedicus- March 13, 2011 at 5:50 pm

I wonder how many people got the fiddle reference?????
ccman- March 13, 2011 at 5:09 pm
Ok, for all the dw is satan conspiracy types.
There has to be some kind of performance clause in the purchase agreement for coker and company. From that I think we all agree coker overextended and sold his soul to mother russia trying to be a player in the game, has 5 maybe 6 headliners all of which are way over market value, and showtime pays him less than a sitcom actor gets per 1\2 hour episode. But he has showtime and prolly didn't wanna sell and walk. So by not touching contracts and "letting him run the show" coker has basically predug his own grave. Ufc makes nice with showtime until coker is no longer a factor and dw goes without thursdays ferrari for a year, toss coker for losing money. Pull showtime into changing up broadcast, while offering a couple of ufc events to sweeten the pot.... sf now goes ufc developemental league in name as well as current reality and people with a clue come in. Karma still never fights there so grumpy kids stay happy, ben and mike are sued so they can only write about bellator and butterbean, and dw's horns become visable from space.
I'm playing the fiddle.
CrushCo- March 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm
@NinjaNerd8: If Zuffa and Showtime start working together under new contracts down the road, you don't think Dana will try to exhibit some influence? You think he'll just say, "Oh, sure, you guys do whatever you want! You're the experts, I just put the fights together. Don't mind me."
d-vex- March 13, 2011 at 3:28 pm
hopefully mario ronallo will be cut hes the most annoying worst fucking commentator ever
newdeal- March 13, 2011 at 2:24 pm
Also good riddance to frank shamrock that guy is king douche
newdeal- March 13, 2011 at 2:24 pm
What about hen do, think Dana will be more willing to pay him big cash under the strike force banner
Waxedpants- March 13, 2011 at 1:58 pm
Frye should start doing his own live podcast or something ... the guy is comic gold.

I prolly mentioned this before but I met him in 1994-5 , we competed in the same grappling tourney ..... he was such an arrogant obnoxious prick that we all fell in love with him immediately.
Waxedpants- March 13, 2011 at 1:56 pm

That would be the best broadcast team in the history of mma.

I do love me some joe rogan though. Ever since I saw him enthusiastically cheering a stripper on while she was gagging down a boiled donkey dick I can't get enough of the guy.
Chri534.- March 13, 2011 at 1:33 pm
Nice article. The braces comment gave me a good laugh.
CungwantsCookies- March 13, 2011 at 1:32 pm
miletich is the only good thing about that broadcast team. agree with the previous poster, but with a modification, bas-bonnar-miletich. now THAT is an announce team
Kimbos Bread- March 13, 2011 at 12:54 pm
Kimbos Bread- March 13, 2011 at 12:49 pm
@ newotnek

Yes. Yes it is.
newotnek- March 13, 2011 at 12:38 pm
Is it too early for a WAR DIAZ???
NinjaNerd8- March 13, 2011 at 12:33 pm
Is this a news site? The commentary team is under contract with Showtime, not SF.
cecils_pupils- March 13, 2011 at 12:30 pm
Fire Frank Shamrock, then Gus Johnson, then Paul Daley, then Pat Milletich.
Y'all need to diversify y'all bonds, nigga.
Kimbos Bread- March 13, 2011 at 12:27 pm
I want to see Don Frye commentate some more, but I know they won't let him near the camera again.
LET IT RAIN- March 13, 2011 at 12:27 pm
on another note, has anyone checked out Fedor's twitter?

I think him and DW may have a Pink Berry date.
mt59801- March 13, 2011 at 12:23 pm
Thank fucking god for this merger! One thing that has always kept me from watching non-diaz SF events is the broadcast team. I hope Dana will keep his promise of "not letting Pride die" by canning shamrock and that pretty african-american woman who does the interviews, and replacing them with Bas and Trigg.
LET IT RAIN- March 13, 2011 at 11:34 am
I think DW likes Paul Daley fighting style, but the whole punch on the face of Kos aside from being cheap, was also bad for business. When you are trying to get mma legalized where it is not, and political figures keep making these senseless accusations about it, Daley's cheap shot does nothing but give them more ammo for being gruesome, unpredictable and unsportsman like. Daley is an idiot for doing that, but i could see DW giving him a reprieve a bit down th road i he stays out of trouble. For Daly to have such an issue with DW and Zuffa is fucking retarded. Aside from him being dumb, I would love to see him stand and bang with Diaz. Don't be scared homie!