The latter half of 2011 has not been kind to Strikeforce, which entered the year with a massive amount of potential, riding high from a 2010 that saw them put on arguably the best non-events ever seen since the fall of PRIDE FC. Under the guise of “business as usual”, Strikeforce had almost all of its champions leave to the UFC, it had several other big-name fighters either leave to the UFC or outright fired by the new company heads, and it saw its promotional muscle severely cut back while attendance figures practically plummeted. It’s no wonder that former Strikeforce champion Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal called Strikeforce a “dying cancer patient”. But recently Lawal went back on those remarks. So which “King Mo” said the right thing? Here are my thoughts.
First, here are some quotes from Lawal himself that explains why he chose to go back on his earlier remarks. Courtesy of MMA Fighting:
“I was wrong to say it was a cancer patient. The cancer went into remission and Strikeforce is back. I’ve got one more fight on my contract and then my contract ends in February. King Mo just wants to go where he can get paid and get paid without the check bouncing.”
Recently, it was confirmed that Strikeforce had renewed its deal with Showtime until 2014. Alongside the official confirmation came a host of interesting developments: the dissolution of Strikeforce’s Heavyweight roster, a renewed focus on its women’s division, the promise of UFC fighters potentially coming down to Strikeforce, etc. If you believe the rumors, the goal is to make Strikeforce a “feeder league” to the UFC without ever actually coming out and admitting that it’s a feeder league.
To be honest, I don’t blame Lawal one bit for the comments he made about Strikeforce being a dying cancer patient. At the time he made them, those comments weren’t that far off the mark. We can debate whether or not it was offensive for Lawal to mention cancer patients in particular, but I think it was very clear that Strikeforce was headed towards the end at the time Lawal said what he said.
As one of the biggest Strikeforce fans out there, even I can admit that Lawal was being open, honest, and true about the state of Strikeforce at the time when he made that comment. And at that time… I honestly agreed with him.
For a few months now, I’ve felt that Strikeforce should just get it over with and pull the plug already. They’ve got almost nothing left: the UFC took it all from them. I’m not even an anti-UFC fan, those are simply the facts. The only champions left untouched in Strikeforce were the two women’s champions and the Lightweight and Middleweight champions. Everybody else went to the UFC, and worse off, the UFC even snatched up most of the good contenders in Strikeforce.
But now… now there’s hope. Now Strikeforce does have a shot at surviving… albeit in a completely different form, as a completely different company, with a completely different vision. It’ll still be Strikeforce… just a very, very, very different Strikeforce. So I do agree with Lawal that the end is no longer near. But I still agree with his original comments, because for a good stretch of weeks and months, it seemed like the end of Strikeforce was very near indeed.
About the author
Oliver Saenz, also known as PdW2kX, is a freelance journalist, opinion columnist, hardcore MMA fan, and lifelong nerd. For more news, views, previews, and reviews on all things Mixed Martial Arts as well as video games, be sure to visit FightGamesBlog.net.