In a move thats been long awaited, UFC president Dana White announced Saturday that Zuffa, who owns UFC, had purchased Strikeforce. White confirmed any rumors of the buy in an exclusive interview with Ariel Helwani of MMAfighting.com. While few details were disclosed, White made it quite clear that Strikeforce would continue its day to day productions and would remain its own entity.
When UFC announced last year that WEC was to be absorbed by the company, the MMA community voiced fears that Strikeforce would be picked up by UFC in the coming future. Now that the transaction has taken placed, Twitter, Facebook, as well as MMA forums have cried monopoly. In the interview with MMAfighting.com, Dana White reiterated that Strikeforce will continue to be its own production with its own fighters and contracts and that CEO Scott Coker will remain at the helm. "Strikeforce is going to continue to run business as usual," White said. "There are contracts in place. These guys are on Showtime. Strikeforce pulls good ratings for Showtime. I think Showtime is happy with them. All those contracts will be honored. These guys are going to remain Strikeforce fighters.” He also mentioned the possibility that UFC fighters could make their way into the production.
Many questions have come into play since the purchase was announced. UFC president White has voiced in the past his dislike for women in the sport of MMA. With Strikeforce having women divisions, the MMA community is afraid to see the divisions disappear. The women division has made quite an impact on viewer ratings and fighters like Gina Carano and Cris “Cyborg” Santos have become MMA household names. Another question has arose of whether cross promotion super fights would happen. Once again White stated that contract and broadcast deals were to remain unaffected and therefore wouldn't happen.
UFC views the Strikeforce buyout as a way to help them expand globally, the way the Pride purchase was to help UFC make it's was into Japan. When asked about thoughts on the UFC/Strikeforce deal, people had different views. Sal Mora, owner of SalMora.com and co-host of “Fighter Nation” on Albuquerque's ESPN Radio 101.7 said that the UFC buying Strikeforce “Is OK if they run the companies separately, if not it could cause problems.” Strikeforce fighter Meisha Tate posted on her Twitter account “Is it really true Zuffa bought @Strikeforce ?? This could be a good or bad thing for the women, hope it doesn't change for the worse”.
Questions and speculations will continue to roll in until details are made clear of the buy out. The announcement has forever changed the sport of MMA and the community hopes it is for the greater good. What are your thoughts on the matter? Feel free to comment!