With Zuffa, LLC purchasing STRIKEFORCE, it now seems that the much hyped Heavyweight Grand Prix will no longer be the market-splitting extravaganza it was set to be.
The boastful UFC logo printed on the mat at the last STRIKEFORCE event was a constant reminder of their inferiority. It’s a tricky dilemma for these STRIKEFORCE fighters as there is now an undoubted difference in status between the two companies. Before the sell, STRIKEFORCE was a thriving brand and legitimate competition. Now it is a feeder league for the UFC and it is now blatantly clear where they stand in the food chain.
The main theme of the takeover has been the assurance that it is just “business as usual”. That’s hardly true but is it? Zuffa may be impartial but the UFC is their flagship show and they will not allow STRIKEFORCE to encroach on that. It may be business as usual for now but once their deal with Showtime and CBS expire the true after-effects of the buyout will be felt. Right now, STRIKEFORCE has an obligation to put on the standard of show that Showtime and CBS expect. If Zuffa was to immediately transfer the likes of Melendez, Diaz and Overeem to the UFC, then the networks that air their events will feel duly let down and it could perhaps be seen as a violation of the contract. When they signed the deals, they signed a prospering MMA brand not a carcass of rejects that weren’t good enough for the big show.
So what of this Heavyweight Grand Prix? With the star man Fedor Emelianenko already out, the yearlong event has already lost its shine. Overeem and Barnett add a little intrigue but in general the prospects are stale. Fans are too busy preoccupying their minds with dreams of STRIKEFORCE fighters moving to the UFC rather than competing in STRIKEFORCE. Who cares about Diaz v Daley? When’s he fighting GSP? Move over Werdum, we want to see The Reem versus Brock!
The buyout will however give STRIKEFORCE fighters a greater financial incentive. With the prospect of an easy gateway to the UFC, the biggest stage in MMA could be the reward for fighters who can string a run of results together. As well as the chance of transferring to the top, there are also the PPV opportunities that the UFC will bring. MMA Junkie has reported that the Heavyweight Grand Prix Finale will be the first STRIKEFORCE PPV. UFC President Dana White has reportedly said that the event could have a $44.95 price tag. STRIKEFORCE CEO Scott Coker has previously said that he had hoped the event would mark a return to CBS for the promotion. This news though has not gone down well with the MMA community as they don’t believe the finale will have a main event worth the price. The message boards have been swamped with calls for Fedor to fight Brock.
The fold over is inevitable as the UFC looks to expand and need to add to their roster to fill the demand. It feels very similar to the WEC buyout.
provided by AHB (A HUNDRED BATTLES)