After purchasing “select assets” including fighter contracts from Pro Elite last week, Strikeforce quickly went from a surprisingly successful regional promotion to a major player in the MMA scene almost overnight. In this exclusive interview CEO Scott Coker talks about the deal and the acquisitions, as well as what his organization has planned for its new talent.
CagePotato.com: Thanks for talking with me, Scott. Since you purchased the fighter contracts, how has the transition been going? Do you find that the fighters are eager to fight for Strikeforce now?
I’ll tell you, we’ve had about twenty or so, or about half of the roster, that we’ve reached out to as of this morning and had good conversations about scheduling and match-ups. I think that, at the end of the day, a lot of these guys just want to get back to work and get back to fighting so they can continue their careers. So I’d say the transition has been going well.
What about any fighters who might have been hoping to get free of their Pro Elite contracts and sign with the UFC?
I’ve only had that conversation with one fighter. And we’ve had two or three conversations with that fighter since, and now I think they may be feeling a different way than they were before. And I can understand the frustration that a lot of these fighters are feeling, because they’ve been out of work for a while. Not everybody fought on the last show in October. Some of them haven’t fought since June or July of last year.
We dealt with that frustration at the very beginning and we understood where it was coming from, but a lot of these guys I’ve known for a long time, their managers are friends of mine, so I think the ice has all been broken. And the fighter who was originally looking to go to the UFC is now saying, ‘Do you think I could fight by May?’ So I think they see what we’re doing and it’s going to be okay.