The MMA industry and its fans went crazy over the weekend, when sources leaked news of a deal in which UFC would acquire lone rival, Strikeforce. While there wasn’t an official announcement, it was clear the deal was done.
UFC President Dana White did confirm the news MMAFighting.com over the weekend, as well, but things were made official during a UFC press conference call on Monday (March 14). During the call, chairman Lorenzo Fertitta and president Dana White officially announced that Zuffa Inc., UFC’s parent company, had purchased Strikeforce outright, but emphasized that most details of the deal are still being worked out, according to ESPN.
Zuffa bought out Strikeforce for an undisclosed amount Friday (March 11), helping further cement the UFC’s claim that they are the NFL of MMA. The question now is: what’s happening with Strikeforce? Will it fold into the UFC, like WEC did after merging last year?
That’s what most people expected, but according to White, Strikeforce and the UFC will continue to act as separate leagues … for now, with Strikeforce events continuing to air on Showtime and CEO Scott Coker running the show.
“It’s business as usual,” White said. “Scott’s going to run everything. [Folding it into UFC] is not what we have planned right now.
“Anything’s possible and I would never say never to anything. But right now, Strikeforce is going to continue to run their shows on Showtime,” he continued.
According to ESPN reporter Josh Gross, Strikeforce’s previous contract with Showtime is what’s holding up a full merger between the two companies. Strikeforce’s contract with Showtime requires the delivery of 16 fights, and the deal expires in 2014. However, Zuffa heads have not met with Showtime, so anything’s possible.
Fighter contracts are not held to these restrictions though, so it’s likely fans can expect some of the best from Strikeforce to face the roster of the UFC. Fans are already asking when they might see a matchup between fighters from opposite organizations. The UFC has yet to determine when those super fights will happen.
“We literally have not talked about it at all,” White said durin the call. “Scott is here for this conference call and then he’s going back to run his business as usual and so are we.
“Will [UFC and Strikeforce] guys never face each other? No. Our job is to make sure fans get the fights they want to see. It’s just a matter of when.”
So that’s where things are for now. Stay tuned…