Promoted To Frontpage From Fanposts By Kelvin Hunt
In light of the recent speculation that UFC could headline an event in Nashville, TN on the same date that Strikeforce: Nashville will take place (April 17), I couldn’t help but be critical of the glaring similarities and differences between the two promotions.
Dana White constantly insists that the level of talent in the UFC is far beyond anything Strikeforce has to offer, with the exception of Fedor. "Strikeforce is a lower-level promotion where young, up-and-coming talent, not in the UFC, goes to make some money." But if that is the case, then why does he continue to pick up lower-level tier opponents that don’t cut it for the ranks of Strikeforce (i.e. Phil Baroni, Frank Trigg, and Dennis Hallman). The same interview showed the UFC boss telling the media "the last thing on my mind when I go to bed…is Strikeforce." Oh really, Mr. White? Then why torture your own fans and try to counter program an event the same night, and city, as "Strikefarce."
In its young life-span, Strikeforce has amassed world class talent (albeit a handful), promoted nationally televised cards on cable television, and even managed to crack the top ten for most watched MMA fights of all time ( Fedor vs. Rogers 5.46 million viewers). Despite UFC’s growing popularity since it was acquired by Zuffa, it’s no secret that their talent base was vastly inferior to the likes of Pride FC before the Japan-based promotion folded. At one point in time, the top-tier fighters were actually leaving to fight better competition (i.e. BJ Penn, Jens Pulver). And let’s not forget Dana White’s ill-fated attempt of sending his "best" fighter, Chuck Liddell, to Pride in an effort for him to become the true "world champion" of two different organizations.
As far as champion talent, the upper division is similar, but the depth of fighters the UFC possesses is far deeper than that of Strikeforce.
A look at the breakdown of their top fighters per weight class (provided by fightmagazine.com as of 3/9/10):
While he is not the current Strikeforce champion, Fedor Emelianenko chose to sign with San Jose based organization instead of the UFC in light of issues his management team, Global M-1, had with Dana White and company. Fedor is not the only top heavyweight out there, but it’s no secret that Mr. White had long coveted the Russian fighter’s services. A long, drawn-out potential marriage between the fighter and the UFC has undoubtedly left a bitter taste in DW’s mouth after the Russian basically told him "Dasvidaniya."
Regardless of that, UFC has managed to put out great fights on its cards on a consistent basis. It’s such a joy that a fight promoter like Dana White would save us from the side show acts that Strikeforce and Dream put on (i.e. Herschel Walker, Bob Sapp, and Jose Canseco), and privilege us with such world class talent such as Kimbo Slice, James Toney, Roli Delgado, Junie Browning, Kalib Starnes and Wes Sims. (Wait, they’re both guilty of that last one.)
Perhaps Dana White is right. Strikeforce may never rival the UFC in head-to-head buys or viewings but it’s apparent that other promotions are needed to ensure healthy competition and to enlist and grow fighters that otherwise would not make the UFC because of budget or roster space issues. But as far as the gradual growth of Strikeforce, I would argue that they are doing extremely well for themselves, thus far. Granted, we are not privy to the totality of contracts and backroom deals that make the organization "work." But in four year’s time, Strikeforce has managed to promote 29 fight cards. In the UFC’s first four years they produced only 18 shows. As of current, Strikeforce is nowhere near UFC’s level of popularity and overall talent base. But let’s not forget that at one point the UFC was small organization, too. And to be clear, I am a fan of the UFC, but an even bigger fan of MMA. That being said, Mr. White, get we all just get along?!
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