Of all the bizarre MMA memes, none confuses me more than silly and artificial UFC vs. Strikeforce debate that seems to reignite every time Strikeforce does anything remotely noteworthy. It's like the MMA world's version of Ford vs. Chevy, only more ridiculous and self-defeating.
We all know how this Kabuki goes. First, Strikeforce announces something positive (good revenue numbers, heavyweight tournament). Then someone COUGHsuboCOUGH craps all over it, and a bunch of other people pile on, making a point to note that Strikeforce isn't fit to hold a old pair of Dana White's $400 jeans. Next, the usual Strikeforce defenders ask why everyone has a bug up their ass, and finally we all seethe at each other until there's a good Snowden article for us to argue about.
Now I fully admit that I've played this game myself (usually in the role of Strikeforce defender), but I swear on a stack of bibles that I never really understand what I'm arguing about, or who I'm arguing against. The aforementioned debate among truck enthusiasts between Ford and Chevy at least makes some sense, in that most people involved in it only own the one truck. Once you buy your F-150 or whatever it is, I can see the perverse pleasure you might get in ridiculing all of those poor Silverado drivers. But in MMA, UFC versus Strikeforce is a false choice.
I love the UFC. I love Strikeforce. I watch both. Unless they have shows running against each other, I don't have to make a choice, and when they do, that's why god invented the DVR. The UFC is the best promotion because it has all the best fighters. Strikeforce is a comfortable second because it has a lot of good fighters, and seems to be on stable enough footing to pay them all and put on consistently solid shows. For Americans, it gets bonus points because it is geared toward U.S. timezones (I'm too old to stay up until 3 am to watch Japanese MMA) and because its on a channel a lot of people already pay for.
I just don't understand how an MMA fan can hate Strikeforce. That Strikeforce is not on the same level as the UFC is a given, but that the promotion consistently puts on entertaining, competitive fights should also be pretty obvious to anyone with eyes. If you like MMA, you should want as much of it as possible to flourish, and Strikeforce is clearly part of that equation.
Some people argue that, by existing, Strikeforce muddies up the global rankings by preventing guys like Nick Diaz, Gilbert Melendez and Fedor from fighting against the best possible competition in the UFC, which I guess is reasonable, until you think about it for five seconds. First, there is no guarantee that all of those fighters would be in the UFC if Strikeforce went away tomorrow. As long as MMA is popular, people will try to make money promoting it, and there will always be some fighter outside the UFC fold that someone will make an argument for belonging in the top 10 or 5 or whatever. Second, this glorious UFC global monopoly people seem to be advocating for would be beyond awful if it ever came to fruition. Monopolies suck. Categorically. Without competition, there is no incentive to provide a quality product and the output of the monopolist invariably stagnates.
Beyond the rankings argument, the reasoning behind the Strikeforce hate gets even more tortured. There are some MMA fans who seem to just have an unhealthy association with the UFC. The UFC is a company that provides a product you like. It's not a member of your family. When another company competes with the UFC or does something that the UFC's famously ornery boss doesn't like, it almost never affects you directly, so you don't have to invest emotional energy caring about it. Unless the UFC is cutting you checks, you don't need to hate Dana White's imagined enemies.
So anyway /end rant I guess. But I am legitimately curious as to why folks have such a knee-jerk negative reaction when Strikeforce does something good. If you care to enlighten me, I'm all ears.