Strikeforce Should Directly Challenge UFC 106 With Fedor Emelianenko

Fedor-emelianenko_mediumFor the last month or so, Strikeforce has played an extensive game of hide the ball.  Or maybe it's more accurate to say Showtime is playing that game.  They keep teasing Fedor's next fight without announcing the date, and they're even going as far as leaking several different dates to throw the UFC off.  I can't help but think this is enormously counter productive.

If they're really doing a show October 10 with Fedor, that means they're going to give the fight 1 month of publicity.  They'd be selling a huge event of theirs short just to avoid the dreaded UFC monster.  They're making all this effort, and there's no evidence that counter programming even really hurts UFC competitors.  When they did a live event against the first Affliction, Affliction got far more press than it ever would have on its own, and the show blew away industry expectations on PPV by nearly 80%.

Even worse, they're coming off as pathetic and weak.  One side has declared war, the other side is trying to hide under shelters while the bombs fall.  News flash: the UFC is not going to run out of bombs.  What they should do is be proud of their product and put it up against UFC 106 in November.  Showtime can easily advertise the fact that you have a simple choice that night: you can pay $50 to see a WWE superstar who doesn't even know how to fight, or you can see the greatest fighter in MMA history on Showtime.  Sure it's manipulative, but it's no worse than what Dana's been doing to Fedor for years now.

If they do that, there will be a mountain of press covering the entire Fedor vs. Brock situation, and who is the more legitimate champion.  And whose side do you think most reporters are going to come down on?  When Dana couldn't stop slamming Affliction, he ended up on the front page of the L.A. Times sports section next to Donald Trump in a big piece focusing on their upcoming battle.  Dana can't help himself, he'll go berserk if they do this, and it will drive a ton of publicity for their event.

Further, even though UFC 106 has the potential to do over a million buys, that's still just a million households.  That's far less than would watch some big Spike TV show, and you're offering a cheap alternative to their expensive product.  The success barometer for Fedor's first fight is probably the 400,000 viewer mark, a level that a press avalanche could push them across.

The other day, someone told me that the war between UFC and Strikeforce felt like a battle between Coca Cola and the lemonade stand your neighbor's daughter runs on Sundays.  And thus far I think it's a perfect analogy.  Strikeforce's main response has been to cringe and hope for mercy, but this is Dana White, there is no mercy until he destroys his competition.  It's about time the people at Strikeforce and Showtime wake up and fight.  If they don't, they'll find themselves in a deal room with the UFC in about 2 years signing papers and telling the press they're happy to be working with the UFC.

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