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The Unsupportable Opinion: Fedor’s Loss Was the Best Thing to Happen to Strikeforce


(In hindsight, perhaps we shouldn’t have thought this guy was invincible. Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

By Cage Potato Contributor Seth “Too Cool for Graduate School” Falvo

My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of tournaments. Ruined lipstick. This wasted cage. But most of all, I remember The Last Emperor. The man we called “Fedor“. Yes, it’s a clichéd way to start off an article in this Post-Fedor Apocalyptic Wasteland where betting on a doughy Russian guy to do something athletic all of a sudden seems illogical, but it’s too appropriate to pass up. After all, this is clearly the beginning of the end for Strikeforce. When you spend so much time and effort hyping a guy who loses in the first round of your tournament, you might as well quit while you still have something resembling your dignity. Didn’t you learn anything when the UFC hyped up Brock Lesnar as MMA’s next big thing, only to watch him get submitted by Frank Mir in his first fight with the organization? The UFC went bankrupt and Dana White was too embarrassed to ever leave his house again.

Oh wait…that didn’t happen.

Yes, everyone following an MMA pundit on Twitter knows how incredibly awesome Fedor has been. Yes, most of you who’ve followed Fedor’s career are probably done caring about the tournament now that Fedor vs. Overeem won’t happen any time soon. There’s only one problem: The fact that you’re even reading this means that you’re a member of a very small minority.

No, those aren’t typos in that study I linked to. That study conducted by Siena College found that “avid fans”, i.e. fans that include sports in their daily lives, make up only 16% of sports fans. The second most dedicated category of fans, “involved fans”, pretty much never surf the web for sports news. And before you even bring it up, it’s estimated that as much as 60% of a sporting event’s live gate comes from casual fans.

To put this into perspective: The average college basketball fan living in Lafayette knows that their Ragin’ Cajuns are riding a seven game win streak and might even know who their starting center is. Ask them if Kemba Walker should forgo his senior season for the NBA draft, or if the Long Island Blackbirds are going to be contenders or pretenders come March, you’ll get a blank stare. Just because they like college basketball doesn’t mean they’re going to rummage YouTube for videos of some obscure New York university playing basketball. Those trying to sell tickets to Cajuns games realize that these are the fans that they have to cater to.

It’s no different for MMA. We see this as the beginning of the end for Strikeforce because we were huddled around our computers, debating every minute detail during Saturday’s broadcast. We wouldn’t dare admit to not knowing how Igor is related to Rickson, and we can’t even begin to comprehend why anyone would care if Fedor wasn’t involved. But the majority of MMA fans don’t think like this. To them, being a fan means going to Dix “Almost Famous” Daiquiris with some friends to watch that Spider guy Charlie Murphy that jacked dude. Most of them didn’t know or care about Fedor’s pre-Strikeforce career, so his elimination from the tournament means next to nothing to them.

“That’s great, but how does this even remotely prove that Fedor’s loss was the best thing to happen to Strikeforce?” you’re probably asking. If Fedor won last night, Strikeforce would continue to try to sell the casual MMA fans on Fedor. And while Strikeforce may very well be a doomed promotion without Fedor, they would definitely be a doomed promotion with him.

We’ve vented on this before, but let’s say it again: Strikeforce doesn’t know how to tell a fighter you can sell the fans on from an unmarketable one, let alone know how to actually market its fighters. If Fedor did what we expected and ran through Antonio Silva, Strikeforce would have undoubtedly spent all of its time promoting Fedor and ignoring everyone else. Eventually, Strikeforce would then try to sell a PPV featuring Fedor vs. Overeem. To us, the types of people who check at least one MMA website on a daily basis, Fedor vs. Overeem sells itself. We’ve been watching these two on YouTube for years. Some of us even stayed up until 3 A.M. in order to watch live footage of them crushing cans in Japan. To everyone else, Strikeforce would be asking them to care about some chubby, stoic Russian guy who can’t even speak English fight some Dutchman who eats horses. It it’s free on Showtime, you might get a good turnout. If you’re asking casual fans to pay for it, good luck.

Now that Fedor is moving out of the picture, Strikeforce can maybe find out if Chad Griggs has some type of personality that the fans can like as much as his facial hair. Maybe Overeem’s brother has more than tattoos and neck cranks going for him. For that matter, since casual fans aren’t watching The Reem, maybe you can tell them how awesome your heavyweight champion (aka “that guy you were hoping Fedor would eventually disembowel”) is. Maybe, just maybe, Antonio Silva has some hobbies worth caring about outside of MMA. We’ll never know until Strikeforce shows us.

To most fans, Saturday provided a night of exciting, action-packed fights. That’s what most fans care about: fun fights with interesting fighters. Now that Strikeforce doesn’t have to make sure M-1 and Fedor are getting their props, they can sell us the idea that Saturday was an indication of things to come. And it will be here, in this blighted place, that we will learn to live again.

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Reemlovesjuice- February 16, 2011 at 7:12 am
Fedor took a beatdown, I for one am ready to see if he can comeback or if he is headed down the Arlovski/Silvia path.
foolio- February 16, 2011 at 7:12 am
fedor lost to a fighter who outweighed him by about 50 pounds so what hes still the king. did you see how long he took that punishment for? not many people would of made it to the end of the round once silva passed guard like that.
RearNakedSpoon- February 16, 2011 at 4:22 am
Could you imagine if Fedor now went on to do a 30+ losing streak, a man of great consistency haha
karmas.a douche- February 16, 2011 at 12:57 am
kaRma is a wanna be. .......
bill_pharoni- February 15, 2011 at 10:40 pm
i stopped reading after "too cool...."
stopdrinkingpee- February 15, 2011 at 10:12 pm
Sorry to hate on the new guy, but... what the fuck was the point of this post? I agree with RSparrow, it was boring and rambling with nothing to say, and much too self-referential. What a fucking waste of time.
Ron The Don- February 15, 2011 at 8:04 pm
I saw the 1st round of the heavyweight tournament, and I can tell that Fedor's name, let alone his lost, gave Strikeforce plenty of press. So, this may turn out better than expected. The one thing the author of this article didn't address a few issues. Will those who saw the 1st round of the Strikeforce Heavweight Grand Prix stick around if The Reem is out of the tournament? Another issue is will this be the opportunity for SF to separate themselves from M1 when this tournament is all said and done. There are still good fights left in this tournament. I'm wondering can this momentum they gain last long.
Hank Mardukis- February 15, 2011 at 7:48 pm
Really enjoyed the article mang, really well written
Not enjoying the lack of a login
CP, you're fuckin up
Boneproper- February 15, 2011 at 6:35 pm
Awesome article. Regardless whether people are loving it or bashing it they still are reacting to it so they are in some way affected by it. Great angle, keep up the good work!
HabitualLineStepper- February 15, 2011 at 6:01 pm
Photographer: OK guys, on the count of 3, everyone say "I used to be a top heavyweight!". 1...2... Josh knock it off, there you go Andrei, you got it.
calmdownbitches- February 15, 2011 at 5:28 pm
fedor hadn't been knocked out lol that other gay article comparing him to tyson after his loss or whatever. Look queer baits fedor was kicking mighty ass up till he had close to 300 lbs on top of him. He was still able to fight, except for not being able to see from eye injury(just like his first loss) kinda) . and he probably would've won seeing how badly fatigued antonio was.
RSparrow- February 15, 2011 at 4:56 pm
I never once claimed to disagree with points made in the article. I just found the writing to be a bit loopy.
youenjoyzedella- February 15, 2011 at 4:55 pm
well done
caps minus harry- February 15, 2011 at 4:46 pm
@RSparrow

You made the exact same points as the article while claiming to disagree with it
Myballsisharry- February 15, 2011 at 4:34 pm
Is it just me or is AA's beard trying to hide his glass chin? Don't he know that you're supposed to pimp your Kangol backwards?
Get Off Me- February 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm
"It’s no different for MMA. We see this as the beginning of the end for Strikeforce because we were huddled around our computers, debating every minute detail during Saturday’s broadcast."

Buddy CP has been predicting the beginning of the end for Strikeforce for over a year now.
Like I said before, upsets make great tournaments.

I like your take on most casual fans not caring much about Fedor's per Strikeforce career and it is well supported everytime I would bring up his name at a UFC PPV get together.

How can you be too cool for school if you are in school?
A- on this assignment.
RSparrow- February 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm
Wasn't a big fan of the article either. I found it to be incredibly condescending without concentrating on one single point in focus. It seemed like a lot of typing, without that much solid information. Ok, so I know how many avid fans are in attendance etc... and people know that I'm the first to discount Strikeforce as a legitimate organization because of who who is spearheading it all... but to say that the tournament is over now for casual fans makes no sense.

Most "casual" fans, (not the die-hard ones like most of us) probably barely even knew the importance of Fedor, Barnett, Reem, etc. What they see is a huge tournament with a bunch of jacked guys, some white, some brown, and some black. Strikeforce is targeted more towards casual viewers, as you can tell with the over the top productions, drag queens, and WWE announcers. Whatever, I'm a huge Fedor fan, and had him to take the entire tourney, but the tournament is FAR from over. Let's see if Reem is all he's cracked up to be.
bonerisanidiot- February 15, 2011 at 4:01 pm
ya, it was Brock's first fight
SpecialJay- February 15, 2011 at 4:00 pm
@hugz

Are you sure you are commenting on the right article? I'm looking for all the "Fedor and Strikeforce suck UFC rulezzz" digs, but I'm not finding them...
GI Jew- February 15, 2011 at 3:58 pm
WAR GRAD SCHOOL!
Dynamo- February 15, 2011 at 3:56 pm
@boner

Yes it was, his first fight in the UFC was a loss to Mir.
hugz- February 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm
I dont like this article. So what is Strikeforce is fringe, it me is is hot and raw and i like it :P I would ssay the UFC is too mainstream and polished, apart from the shitty metal music. Strikeforce's goddamn starting credits bury the UFC's dated gladiator and " BRING THE PAIN " annoyance.

I would watch Fedor again, i hope Strikeforce can still make something happen with Fedor. He may not be the unbeatable legend he once was, but he is still the man himself. He will sort his camp and return, whilst the UFC keeps feeding GSP cans to eat for your 20 million PPV buys. At least the Strikeforce fights are more down to earth and the guys are still hungry, fucking fighters like Forrest Griffin dont care if the sky falls down anymore, fighters like Tito just take the UFC for a ride, or the UFC lets him take us for a ride. Either way, if you watch NON UFC product, there is lots of fun without Rogan and Goldie.
Towelie- February 15, 2011 at 3:46 pm
this was a good read. well done, Seth.
RwilsonR- February 15, 2011 at 3:39 pm
@ Fah Q - nah, I'm not counting pro wrestling/worked Japanese matches. My argument hinges on the idea that it has to be legitimate MMA matches.
RwilsonR- February 15, 2011 at 3:38 pm
I love pre-TUF MMA fans who yell 'Pride was the first/best/only' because they think it makes them seem authentic.
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