You can hate Dana White, it's easy to do. He sticks his shiny dome in everywhere, at the weigh-ins, on his vlogs, after the fights to hand out the belts, at the post-fight press conference, on ESPN, on magazine covers. But one thing his omnipresence does is make it clear who is in charge. In the UFC he is the parent, in Strikeforce there is no parent, noone is clearly in charge.
Obviously the Diaz brothers and their camp are a special mixture of stupidity and violence. But without an environment where there is so little control I don't think what happened tonight would have occurred. A few points to consider:
1) Coker is never in the ring, never makes his presence felt and as a person has little force of personality. Especially in a sport with so much aggression and machismo, it matters whether the head of the organization commands respect from a fighter as a man. Dana does. He can be arrogant, homophobic, sexist and thin-skinned, but he does command respect. He's a tough negotiator and an intimidating presence.
2) Coker has continually been unable to plan ahead for fights, sometimes waiting weeks or even days in advance of a card before announcing who is going to fight (as with Lashley at the last event). Its a terrible business move as it means they're unable to promote storylines or build interest over time. And fans can't plan trips to see an exciting fight well in advance or plan their schedule around staying home. And tonight we saw another serious side-effect of the shoddy, amateurish way he promotes: planned in-the-cage post-fight face-offs to promote future fights can't happen, so an unplanned one does end up happening.
3) Coker has so little leverage with fighters like Fedor and Overeem that they walk all over him in terms of dictating who they fight and when and what else they can do with their time. Whereas Dana takes two of his most talented champions (Lesnar and Silva) and gives them a verbal dressing down at the post-fight press conference and then takes them aside privately and reams them again for good measure. You can argue that it hasn't done much good with Silva, but I think it did have an impact on some of his fights, and who knows how much worse he would be were he fighting in an organization like Strikeforce.
When fighters know the promoter can make their life miserable it doesn't mean they will never act out, but it does make them consider the consequences and pulls them back from a pattern of getting worse and worse.
4) I don't think the UFC would have had so little security, or allowed so many people in the cage after the fight. One thing we sometimes underestimate is just how good the UFC has become at operations. I worked for a fortune 100 company that is renowned for their creativity and dazzling products, but once I was on the inside what I saw was a company that was perfect at execution and had some of the best operations people I've ever seen. The end product may be exciting or thrilling, but creating a setting where that product can sparkle requires a ton of grunt work and careful planning. Strikeforce has consistently exhibited a lack of planning and I wouldn't be surprised if they missed on several critical details tonight (like security or controlling who was in the ring).
Mayhem is one especially annoying human being, that whole Diaz crowd is volatile, but Coker created the place where it could all blow up. Blame him first and foremost.