MMAJunkie reports that Strikeforce is in talks with two of the best female prospects not on their roster, Kaitlin Young (4-2) and Roxanne Modafferi (13-4).
Mike Afromowitz, Strikeforce's director of communications, today confirmed the organization's interest in Modafferi, though he stressed any potential deal was far from done.
"There's dialogue between Strikeforce and Roxanne's manager," Afromowitz said. "It's only dialogue right now, though."
Strikeforce's interest comes on the heels of Modafferi's recent open campaign to join the organization. The Japanese resident is currently ranked No. 3 in the 135-pound division by WAMMA.
Modafferi is currently riding a six-fight win streak, including victories over Vanessa Porto and WAMMA's No. 2-ranked featherweight Marloes Coenen.
On a recent media call promo ting the May 15 event, Strikeforce CEO confirmed h is inter est in EliteXC, BodogFIGHT and Hook 'N' Shoot veteran Kaitlin Young.
"We will have dialogue with Kaitlin Young and probably get her into the mix," Coker said.
For those that missed it, Roxy publicly challenged Shayna Baszler on myspace and made it clear that she wants revenge and is willing to go and fight in Strikeforce to get it. Fightlinker had its own comments on the issue, and mentions that Strikeforce has a great fight if they want one in Shayna vs Roxy.
I can make things very easy for Strikeforce. There’s a more than fitting opponent waiting and ready to fight Baszler already: Roxanne Modafferi. Ya know, the top ranked female fighter? Here’s Roxy calling Shayna out yesterday:
"But I think that Kaufman and Tate should be able to relax and take it easy for a while after putting on the exciting fight May 15th. I will gladly face Shayna for them. It’s really no problem at all.
In fact, Shayna chicken winged me in BODOG a few years ago.
I want revenge.
I believe I can win. I don’t want an easy fight…I want a war. Will you go to war with me in the cage, Shayna?"
Either way, if Strikeforce can sign both Young and Modafferi, their stable of female fighters will get that much more complete and Strikeforce (with the signing of Gina which seems to be inevitable) will be considered the pinnacle of MMA. Here is Strikeforce's rumored female roster:
Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos
Not Yet Signed. In Talks Or Some Relationship:
In other news, Showtime and Ken Hershman seemed to be very happy about Strikeforce and their "Challenger" series on their network. Hershman has this to say about the success of MMA on Showtime and the great numbers Strikeforce is already putting up:
A longtime broadcaster of championship boxing, Hershman said he's been impressed with the market share MMA has been able to gain.
"Mixed martial arts continues to surprise me with its strength compared to our boxing franchise," Hershman said. "It's right up there with the top boxing events that we do. We look for sustained growth from [MMA]."
And apparently, he has plenty to be happy about:
Showtime's broadcast of the April 11 "Shamrock vs. Diaz" event from San Jose, Calif., registered as the second-highest rated MMA event ever broadcast on the network. While the "Strikeforce Challengers" shows aren't expected to draw the same type of ratings as the larger shows, Hershman is still encouraged by what the new series will represent.
"The 'Challenger Series' is going to be on Friday night at 11 p.m." Hershman said. "It's a different audience, different HUT levels, so the two aren't really apples-to-apples. We'll look at it much more akin to our ShoBox series, and those have a very nice, steady audience – very, very reliable group of fans.
While premium-cable networks focus more on subscriptions than ratings, Hershman believes MMA has been an important part of Showtime's recent growth.
"We never really can tie any increase in subscriptions to any particular program, whether it be an original series or a sporting series such as Strikforce," Hershman said. "One thing I'll tell you is that in the last two years, Showtime subscriptions are up well over two million subscribers, and that's a testament just to the great programming, including mixed martial arts and boxing, that we have on the the network.
"The other thing, in terms of the male 18-to-34-year-old demo, the Strikeforce show did garner almost nearly half of the audience of 18-to-34-year-old males, which is a very, very significant number for us. No programming on Showtime draws that kind of number. So, in terms of hitting the demo, it does so dead on."
Another difference between the previous regime and Strikeforce is that their "Challenger" Series will be a bit bigger and more revenue oriented than what the ShoXC's were to EliteXC. Coker discussed the differences with MMAJunkie, boasting at the fact that they have already sold 2,400 tickets for the May "Challengers" event in Fresno, which is their smaller development show. In contrast, EliteXC in Stockton for their second CBS show only sold 3,701 tickets and had a total attendance of 6,518 for one of their bigger events.
"The arena is set up for 4,500 seats," Coker recently told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "We're approaching the 2,400 (tickets sold) mark. I think we have a really good chance to have a really good crowd at that venue."
While the "Strikeforce Challengers" shows will feature smaller crowds and focus on developing new talent within the organization, Coker said he doesn't want to skimp on the quality of venues Strikeforce books for the shows.
"I know that the past regime used to go to mostly Indian reservation casinos or some different types of casinos where they were in a ballroom that sat 1,500 or 1,800 (people), something like that," Coker said.
"But we, for the first two shows on May 15 and the second show on June 19 – which will be in Kent, Wash., and Joey Villasenor is going to fight 'Cyborg' Santos in the main event, and that's 'Cyborg's' husband, not the wife – on those two shows we've chosen to go into these venues that we're going to set up for 4,000 to 5,000 (seats)."