While MMA is quickly gaining on boxing as far as fans and exposure, it's not quite there. The simple fact is this, there a very, very few fighters in MMA that solely by their name can sell an entire fight card. Whether it be on free television or pay-per-view, not many fighters have that draw to do that. You can maybe say that guys like Chuck Liddell, Georges St. Pierre, Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture, Brock Lesnar, and even Kimbo Slice are basically the only guys that can have their name on a marquee and fans (casual and hardcore) will flock. Two of those got their start in other mediums, which helped them get their fans to carry over to their new profession and the others just have the look and style that people want to see. Strikeforce, this Saturday, has a prime opportunity to stake their claim as the definitive number 2 organization in MMA. While most of us will say they already are, they have holes in their game that can lead to another upstart moving in on their position. However, it seems that Strikeforce and most notably CBS, who will broadcast the San Jose companies first network show is maximizing on one person rather than their one brand and if the Kimbo debacle of over a year ago in EliteXC taught us nothing, it's that banking on one fighter can ultimately be your demise.
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Almost all U.S. promoters who get their hands on 'The Last Emperor' want nothing more than to make him a star. While Fedor Emelianenko is without a doubt one of the best MMA fighters and one of the most talked about and well known within the hardcore circles, the fact of the matter is he is not a well known commodity. While Strikeforce can boast this acquisition as UFC were hot on Fedor's trail after the demise of Affliction, there has to be a medium of exposure and also slow build. With the November 7th card, Strikeforce has to do more than sell Fedor, they have to sell their product because as we've seen in the past, if by some chance Brett Rogers was to dominate their fight, that's marketing money thrown down the drain. I feel as though Strikeforce has a prime opportunity to grab an audience that even UFC may not have fully behind their machine. With a middleweight title not only on the line but also pitting Jake Shields against now MTV crossover star Jason 'Mayhem' Miller. Why more emphasis is not put on this match up and these fighters is the reason why this should could potentially be a bust ratings wise. This is why you hardly ever see the UFC try to sell a PPV with ONE fight and/or ONE fighter. You see how quickly they scrambled to add a bankable match up for UFC 106 after losing Brock Lesnar/Shane Carwin and I am sure when the time comes they will put together much hype for that match (Josh Koscheck/Anthony Johnson) just as they will for the Tito Ortiz/Forrest Griffin rematch. It's these little things that companies fail to do that ultimately end up being the cause of their demise. I am not saying that this Strikeforce on CBS will not do big numbers but I think they could do mega numbers if they simply let people know what the company has in store for them this Saturday. Even if CBS controls that aspect of the show, Strikeforce could always do some viral marketing to the major social networking sites and other forums to get the word out on a solid card. I wish them luck, but for now, it seems in their eyes there's only one thing to watch for this weekend and that's a big misinterpretation of what should be a great event. What do you think? Are they doing enough to get viewers?