In an atmosphere of big companies failing and other big ones soon to fail, it's refreshing to see an American company besides the UFC enjoying some success. Strikeforce's weekly offerings on Saturday nights have exceeded all expectations, and once again reached an all-time high this past weekend:
Last Saturday’s episode of “Strikeforce on NBC” generated over 1.1 million viewers, a new high for the first-ever 52 week mixed martial arts (MMA) series in network television history, according to Nielsen Ratings.
The record number of viewers shattered the previous high of 949,000, which was recorded on May 9th.
With recent reports indicating a high likelihood of a live debut for Strikeforce on NBC next year, this can only help strengthen Strikeforce's negotiating position.
Strikeforce on NBC could emerge as a competent challenger to the UFC. They've built an audience over a year, and Scott Coker knows how to run a promotion. If fighters under contract to EliteXC are released, Strikeforce will have a plethora of talent to choose from for live shows, including proven ratings draw Gina Carano.
If Strikeforce does go live on NBC, they need to realize that they will immediately become competition for the UFC and will have to deal with the challenges inherent in that position. Any promotion competing with the UFC has a nearly-impossible task, but Strikeforce is the most likely to survive in that spot.