At least we’ll probably get this in the next UFC videogame…
There is zero need for sarcasm here. No reason at all for me to act like you haven’t already heard that Strikeforce has been purchased by the UFC. Mac Danzig is a fan of the acquisition. Paul Daley, not so much. While most of the implications of this merger are still up in the air at this point, let’s make one thing clear: There will NOT be any UFC vs. Strikeforce cards. If Dana White says it, which he did, then he’ll never, ever reconsider. Just ask Karo Parisyan.
Are we really to believe that Strikeforce will be the UFC’s version of the D-League? Dana White purchased his biggest rival in the hopes of harvesting a small time promotion that occasionally produces a Chris Andersen, but usually produces a bunch of journeymen? Or maybe he plans on giving his new acquisition the Bamboo Lounge treatment. Well…
The Case For a UFC vs. Strikeforce card:
Let’s look at The UFC’s title situations, division by division:
Light Heavyweight: No comment.
Middleweight: When your champion takes fights at a heavier weight class because he’s sick of the chumps he’s already beaten, you’ve officially reached a stalemate.
Welterweight: See above.
Lightweight: The winner of Edgar vs. Maynard lll gets the winner of Pettis vs. Guida, assuming that neither fight ends in a controversy and/or a draw. Stranger things have happened.
See a pattern here? Now is the perfect time to shake things up, and Strikeforce’s champions are a perfect way to do this. Even if Dana White doesn’t want to risk putting all of his champions on the same card, he doesn’t have to. Strikeforce doesn’t have featherweights or bantamweights, for one. More importantly, there’s plenty of intriguing non-title bouts that this merger can give us. Think of what the UFC can do with Shinya Aoki, Tim Kennedy and Gegard Mousasi. Or how about a rematch of the notoriously awesome Ray Sefo vs. Mark Hunt fight? How many years now have we been dreaming about Fedor vs. Couture? You get the idea.
The Case Against a UFC vs. Strikeforce card:
The best fighters fight in the UFC, and their champions are the only champions that matter in the world of MMA. Go ahead and ask Dana White for his opinion. But wait until after Shields vs. GSP, though. We know that there’s a lot riding on GSP winning this fight, but just imagine how crazy it’ll look of one of those D-League champions walks in and defeats the UFC’s untouchable icon.
If you’re going to make a card like this work, you’ll need to put at least one of your league’s champions up against the other league’s champion. Now look at Strikeforce’s champions: Alistair Overeem, Gilbert Melendez and Nick Diaz wouldn’t exactly be easy fights for the UFC’s champions. For that matter, after Dan Henderson left the UFC as the organization’s number two middleweight, Chael Sonnen demonstrated that a good wrestler can give Anderson Silva problems. Now imagine if one of the Strikeforce champions actually wins. What do you do, give him a call up to the big leagues for an immediate title shot against the guy he just beat? Send him back to the minors after he beat the best fighter in his weight class? Instantly announce opponents for both fighters and act like the fight never happened? Or does Zuffa create a trophy for the organization whose fighters win the most fights, so that the interns at each company’s respective offices have something to motivate them? I think I just answered my own question.