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No, You Geniuses: Strikeforce Should Counter-Program UFC 105


(He thought that the throne would give him pleasure; the salesgirl at Pier 1 Imports specifically told him it would. But as he sunk deeper into the red velvet and began to watch the America’s Got Talent semi-finals, a tremendous ennui overtook him. Photo courtesy of Esther Lin/Showtime.)

Here we are, one month after Carano vs. Cyborg, and we still don’t know when Strikeforce is going to put on its next big event. October 10 has been floated as a tentative date for Fedor vs. Rogers, but it hasn’t been made official yet, and it would only give Strikeforce a month to promote the card. (Assuming Strikeforce starts promoting it today, hypothetically.) The hesitation is an unfortunate momentum-killer for Scott Coker & Co., but the reason for the delay is obvious: The longer Strikeforce waits, the more difficult it would be for the UFC to counter-program them with an impromptu live event. When you consider that Anderson Silva may not really be having elbow surgery and could potentially be unleashed at any time to headline a card on Spike TV, this is a very legitimate concern.

So yesterday, Michael Rome at Bloody Elbow had an eyebrow-raising solution: Strikeforce should schedule Fedor vs. Rogers on November 21st, the same night as UFC 106, which will of course feature Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin and Tito Ortiz vs. Mark Coleman. Why wait for the UFC to be the aggressor? After all:

Showtime can easily advertise the fact that you have a simple choice that night: you can pay $50 to see a WWE superstar who doesn’t even know how to fight, or you can see the greatest fighter in MMA history on Showtime…If they do that, there will be a mountain of press covering the entire Fedor vs. Brock situation, and who is the more legitimate champion. And whose side do you think most reporters are going to come down on?…Dana can’t help himself, he’ll go berserk if they do this, and it will drive a ton of publicity for their event. Further, even though UFC 106 has the potential to do over a million buys, that’s still just a million households. That’s far less than would watch some big Spike TV show, and you’re offering a cheap alternative to their expensive product. The success barometer for Fedor’s first fight is probably the 400,000 viewer mark, a level that a press avalanche could push them across.



Shawn at Fightlinker was forced to be the voice of reason:

Strikeforce holding such a landmark show the same night as one of the UFC’s biggest shows of the year is absolutely, positively not a good idea. Drinking a half gallon of whiskey and playing $100 high card for hours on end would probably be a better financial decision. Spending the night roasting marshmallows and money would probably be a better financial decision…The fact is that the vast majority of MMA fans in this country are essentially UFC fans. On top of that, Lesnar and Ortiz are two of the biggest draws in the history of the organization and the sport. Strikeforce would essentially be cutting out a major portion of their audience by putting the show against UFC 106 as most fans are going to tune in to see the latter. In short, any potential increase in buzz from the counterprogramming situation will be heavily outweighed by the loss. There are other ways for Strikeforce to market this show — and Fedor specifically — without putting it head-to-head with the big giant that is the UFC.

Well, you had me up until that last sentence. Michael and Shawn are both right, and they’re both wrong. Here’s the deal: Strikeforce needs to schedule Fedor vs. Grim right now so they can begin doing their job as promoters, with a date that gives them enough time to sufficiently build up the event. Slotting the card against Brock Lesnar and Tito Ortiz is a sure-fire way to get blown out of the water, and trying to find an unclaimed date on the calendar will only invite counter-programming from the UFC. However, competing with an already-scheduled UFC event is not a terrible idea in itself. Strikeforce just needs to find where and when the UFC is weakest.

That date is obviously November 14th, when the UFC will be in Manchester, England for UFC 105. Right now, it looks like the show will be broadcast live on pay-per-view at 3 p.m. ET/noon PT, followed by a tape-delayed version on Spike that night. And right now, the card is very weak, with a lot of TUF 9 talent to appease the British fans, and not much else. Dan Henderson vs. Lil’ Nog is possible. Swick vs. Hughes is an option. Anderson Silva vs. Nobody On His Level can always be sprung on us. The bottom line is, there are no megafights in sight.

This is the moment that Strikeforce should pounce on. They already have Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brett Rogers. If they can quickly set up Jason Miller vs. Jake Shields, Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza vs. Matt Lindland (or Robbie Lawler), Nick Diaz vs. Jay Hieron, and perhaps Cris Cyborg vs. Erin Toughill, they’ll have a card that’s far more compelling than UFC 105 — which, by the way, hardcore fans will have already seen that afternoon, leaving their Saturday evening free for even more fight-watching on premium cable. If you can’t capture the attention of MMA fans in that scenario, you have no business running a promotion. Listen to me, Scott Coker: It’s November 14th or bust. Lock it in. Final answer.

(BG)

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Ed M- September 10, 2009 at 7:48 pm
Anyone know how much exposure, if any, Strikeforce/Showtime gets in the UK?
WuTangClan- September 10, 2009 at 4:47 pm
Just by reading that picture caption advertising Americas Got Talent and Pier 1 Imports, I knew it was the Jew Ben who wrote it
peanutbuttter- September 10, 2009 at 3:13 pm
I heard Fedore never wears clothes
One Two- September 10, 2009 at 2:27 pm
You are a fucking genius ben! get it done strikeforce.
Sneaky Pete- September 10, 2009 at 2:18 pm
OBI, you make a good point about the programming, and especially when you mentioned Cyborg blowing a testicle (can I just say that the mental image in that one wasn't pleasant, but I laughed anyways).

Agentsmith: I'm with you on the day before or after idea. The UFC would be really hard-pressed to counter program that. They'd essentially have to undercut their own pre-fight promotions. And Coker, if he plays to the press well can piggy back on the UFC promotion by tapping into the general sense of hype, and with a few well placed interviews. A little controversy never hurt either.

Titos Head- September 10, 2009 at 2:04 pm
In soviet Russia...Red Velvet Chair sits on u
Sneaky Pete- September 10, 2009 at 1:50 pm
Mongol Chieftain: You won again! This is good. But what is best in life?

Josh Barnett: The open steppe, a fleet horse, and falcons at your breast.

Mongolian Chieftain: Wrong! Fedor, What is best in life?

Fedor: To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

Mongolian Chieftain: That is good!
just some dong- September 10, 2009 at 1:48 pm
Viva Hate: "So if liter makes a native American cry, what makes a Russian cry?"

A: Brock Fucking Lesnar
virpz- September 10, 2009 at 1:30 pm
Dana can just make a free event
Markdog- September 10, 2009 at 1:22 pm
You guyz are smart.
Justin- September 10, 2009 at 1:20 pm
That's actually a really good way to look at it, and we (the fans) get a very solid day of fights. I like it..... Somebody give BG a real job!
agentsmith- September 10, 2009 at 1:17 pm
I say put it on a Friday or Sunday night, just before/after an already-scheduled UFC event. Then the only way they can be counter-programmed is with a rerun of an old event, which will probably happen regardless.
Viva Hate- September 10, 2009 at 1:17 pm
@agentsmith, thanks for the mental image that will have me laughing the rest of the day.
Viva Hate- September 10, 2009 at 1:16 pm
@Old_Bald_and_Irish, Ya, I checked out the wiki page of Iron Eyes Cody. He was also in one of the greatest movies ever, Earnest Goes to Camp and he appeared in an episode of the A-Team.
omunto- September 10, 2009 at 1:15 pm
I think it depends on the timeslot of the tape delay reair. It they air it at 6 or 7 pm then I dont know anyone who will order the mediocre ppv when they can just plug their ears and sing "la la la la" for 3 hours then watch it as if its live for free. If the tape delay is like the next day or something rediculous like midnight start time then yeah I'll bet the hardcore fans will order it.
agentsmith- September 10, 2009 at 1:15 pm
Viva Hate: "So if liter makes a native American cry, what makes a Russian cry?"


A: At the end of summer, when the amusement park closes... no more rollercoasters, no more ice cream. Single tear.
Old_Bald_and_Irish- September 10, 2009 at 1:14 pm
@ Viva Hate

"So if liter makes a native American cry, what makes a Russian cry?"

Two things:

A 'closed' sign on the roller coaster line.

An ice cream cone that's fallen in the dirt.

Everything else, vodka solves.
Old_Bald_and_Irish- September 10, 2009 at 1:13 pm
@ Viva Hate

Your not entirely off the mark. the PSAs were so successful that they kept running them well into the 80's. I think they first showed up around '74.

"Iron Eyes Cody (April 3, 1904 – January 4, 1999) was an American actor born in Kaplan, Louisiana. However, he is most famous for his "Crying Indian" role in the Keep America Beautiful public service announcement in the early 1970s. It was an ecology commercial in which an Indian (Cody) sheds a tear after some trash is thrown from a speeding car and lands at his feet. The announcer-- William Conrad, of "Bullwinkle" and "Cannon" fame-- sternly and memorably declares: "People start pollution; people can stop it."

Bullwinkle? SWEET!

"Iron Eyes Cody"? Wasn't Carwin lookin' for a nickname? Iron Eyes Carwin?...it could work.
phaderlanx- September 10, 2009 at 1:06 pm
high five for CP, get this blog out to Coker stat. .... I mean someone. else. . duh. not me....
Viva Hate- September 10, 2009 at 1:05 pm
@Old_Bald_and_Irish, damn I thought those were 80s, I am an early 80s kid and remembered em just assumed they were 80s.


Correction: Fedor should have a single tear running down his cheek like the native American in the 1970s PSA.

So if liter makes a native American cry, what makes a Russian cry?
NateGetsIrate- September 10, 2009 at 1:03 pm
I agree. That is all.
Old_Bald_and_Irish- September 10, 2009 at 12:55 pm
@ Viva Hate

"Fedor should have a single tear running down his cheek like the native American in the 1980s PSA. "

Dude, those PSAs were from the 70's.

Trust me. I'm old. Just ask Perdew.
Viva Hate- September 10, 2009 at 12:47 pm
Fedor should have a single tear running down his cheek like the native American in the 1980s PSA. Fedor sad face :-(


I agree with the idea, it is better for them to go up against the UFC and fail this way they have anexcuse ripe for the picking.
Old_Bald_and_Irish- September 10, 2009 at 12:47 pm
Hmmmmm....

While I like the agressive in-your-face-ism of counter programing the UFC, I agree that UFC 106 is not the date. Personally, I'd like to see the October 10th slot get filled and then, regardless of a win or not, bring back Fedor in November/December. If Fedor gets past Rogers (no offensive, Grimm...he probably will) then set up Fedor vs Overeem right away. This would still buy Coker some time to round up some more heavy weight talent.

Keeping fedor on ice is a bad idea. They need to get him front and center right now.

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brett Rogers
Jason Miller vs. Jake Shields
Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza vs. Matt Lindland (or Robbie Lawler)
Nick Diaz vs. Jay Hieron
Cris Cyborg vs. Erin Toughill

This would be a DREAM CARD for me! no way they could make this happen in October, but I'd wait for November 14th for this.

...that is if Strikeforce can get past it's injured fighter jinx.

I can see it now: Rogers gets a tire dropped on him at work, Miller gets hep from a recent shoddy tattoo, Lindland loses his balance going to the bathroom and breaks his hip, Diaz tests positive for Machida's pee and Cyborg blows a testicle.
greenseed- September 10, 2009 at 12:34 pm
*shakes head at jugger*

but ya randy v anderson = foolish

sure lets put a 46 year old who's slowed down a bit against NEO

that will end reeaaaally well
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