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Strikeforce Improves Showtime Ratings, Probably Thanks to Hardcore Wes Sims Fans

(Talk that shit now, "Nurse Jackie."  Photo courtesy of

Strikeforce: Miami drew 517,000 viewers on Showtime this past Saturday night, proving that there are some benefits to putting well-known but largely untested fighters in against outmatched opponents. The numbers may not have been quite as good as the 576,000 viewers who tuned in to see Gina Carano and “Cyborg” Santos go at it back in August, but it was still a marked improvement from the 341,000 that watched the last Strikeforce offering on Showtime in December.

So what made the big difference this time? Was it Herschel Walker’s appeal to the common sports fan? Bobby Lashley’s drawing power among pro wrestling fanboys? The mere presence of Wes Sims, one of MMA’s tallest fighters? There’s no way to know for sure, but we’re going to go ahead and speculate that it was some combination of all three, plus all the people who have sold Nick Diaz weed at some point in the past.

The one somber note to all this is that once again the replay of a UFC event – this time UFC 107 – beat Strikeforce in terms of sheer numbers. Spike TV pulled in 2.2 million viewers with B.J. Penn and Diego Sanchez, though of course they did have the advantage of being available in roughly eight times as many homes. Still, over half-a-million people on a premium cable network in lean economic times is nothing to be ashamed of.  Now if they could only work in some kind of vampire-related storyline they might really draw huge audiences.  Your time to shine, Stephen Quadros.

Cagepotato Comments

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J-Dog- February 3, 2010 at 8:42 am
You hit the nail on the head with the fact that the UFC replay was available to 8x as many households. That's the problem here... how many people have Showtime? Had this been on Spike, Versus, or HDNet like a lot of other fights are, you bet your ass I would have watched it. I don't have Showtime and neither do any of my friends, and I didn't know of any bars playing the fight.

I'm not paying $10 or $12 per month for a premium cable channel that I'll only watch for the very rare MMA fight that they show. Strikeforce needs to keep all their events on free TV or basic cable if they want to really have a chance at getting big. At least with the UFC you can go to any number of bars to see the events. I bet less establishments showed the free Srikeforce fight than the number of establisments that buy the UFC fights. I can pick one of 14, count 'em FOURTEEN, places to go to watch UFC 109 this weekend within 30 minutes of my house, most for free, and all of those are legally purchased and LISTED ON THE UFC WEBSITE! For me that's more accessible than a free event on Showtime. (I'm a sad SOB who doesn't have the internet at home so no free streaming for me either).

robthom- February 3, 2010 at 8:10 am
And Heartbeeps was more entertaining than terminator.
Terminator- February 3, 2010 at 6:37 am
Strikeforce put on more entertaining fights than the UFC.
rlh61- February 3, 2010 at 5:33 am
@ robocop didnt tap

Great comment on the block button being broken. That sounds like something Tito would say after a fight.
CheckHisPee- February 3, 2010 at 3:35 am
I like Strikeforce.
robthom- February 3, 2010 at 2:37 am
"Was it Herschel Walker’s appeal to the common sports fan? Bobby Lashley’s drawing power among pro wrestling fanboys?"

That gave me a tiny puke burp.
cagefightmon- February 2, 2010 at 11:02 pm
keep the fights coming Coker!
bbbcswr- February 2, 2010 at 10:40 pm
is that baby huey coker in the background?
steampunk22- February 2, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Definitely agree that the momentum is building and that if Strikeforce can put together a decent card, organized properly, with a little less novelty, they'll gain a bit more of a footing and a lot more respect. I watch their events, but its sort of painful sometimes. For every two steps forward they take one step back by doing something dumb like having an obvious squash match, or sucking up to their own promotion, or having terrible commentary, or scheduling their event in a retarded way (Hieron bumped for Walker) etc.

Still a long way to go, hopefully they can get it together before they go the way of all the other promotions....
Goog- February 2, 2010 at 7:24 pm
@ Robocop

"If Melvin comes out and fights like he does, win or lose, the average North American MMA fan will love him.... "

Amen to that.
Gogo Platypus- February 2, 2010 at 6:54 pm
Strikeforce has some decent momentum going into their CBS show. We may not be crazy about novelty fights with a Herschel Walker or Bobby Lashley, but it helped give the promotion a lot of mainstream ink. I expect they'll do very well on the next CBS broadcast. And if they can get that Aoki-Melendez fight, I'll lose my shit.
Robocop Didnt Tap- February 2, 2010 at 6:40 pm
If they do a Walker/Canseco fight, please, PLEASE do it under the DREAM banner.

The Zaromskis and Manhoef losses are two different stories to me. If Melvin comes out and fights like he does, win or lose, the average North American MMA fan will love him. Zaromskis however looked pretty bad. Was the block button broke on his controller? I know he's never been known for his striking defense, but that looked like something straight out of UFC Undisputed '09.
NateGetsIrate- February 2, 2010 at 3:52 pm
Well... maybe not. I could do without another Herschel Walker fight actually.
NateGetsIrate- February 2, 2010 at 3:50 pm
If CBS doesn't pick up the ball and run with it after hearing about these numbers, i'm seriously going to drive up to their corporate office, find whichever room has the majority of execs in it and blow myself up for the good of MMA.
mma samurai- February 2, 2010 at 3:40 pm
Until people get to know alot of these well known fighters from overseas (Manhoef, Coenen, Zaromskis) the numbers will still struggle. Everyone has heard of the UFC but not as many casual or new fans have heard of Dream, Rings, Pride and so on. It's a shame because they do have some great fighters under contract in Strikeforce. I also believe they will continue to draw a smaller crowd with these cheesy freakshow fights. If you have to bank off of Lashley, Walker and Sims as fighters on your main card then yeah you have problems. I think they might do better with their next card which I believe should be featuring Fedor, Werdum, Shields, Hendo and a few other more well known fighters. Time will tell I suppose.