Now that Zuffa, the parent company of UFC, has purchased Strikeforce, their biggest competitor, the MMA landscape is utterly transformed. With Japan's two major promotions, Dream and Sengoku, both reeling and likely done, that leaves the UFC alone as the world's undisputed champion MMA promotion.
Two of the largest surviving independent promotions are Bellator, which just started airing fights on MTV2, and M-1 Global which co-promotes with Strikeforce and airs fights on Showtime.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney spoke to MMA Junkie and claimed there is no possibility of his promotion ever selling out to Zuffa:
So there's no scenario in which he could see the UFC or another big spender buying out Bellator?
"No," Rebney told MMAjunkie.com prior to Saturday's Bellator 36 event on MTV2. "My answer to that is based on our entire philosophy. It's one where fighters control their own destiny. The organization that puts the cage down and puts up the lights, and puts all the cameras together and puts on the show on MTV, has the same exact philosophy of the fighters who step into the cage.
"I am a big fan of controlling one's own destiny. It's what got me to this point. ... It's that type of control of controlling your destiny that is everything our organization is about. It's our very, very core."
M-1 Global exec Evgeni Kogan spoke to MMA Weekly:
"Fedor's contract is with Showtime Networks Inc. and we're excited to be working with such a premium North American outlet," Kogan said.
M-1 Global, which also promotes events, recently signed a new TV deal with Showtime as well. They debut on the network on March 25.
Kogan pointed out that the new deal between Zuffa and Strikeforce effects nothing in their own deal with Showtime.
"The purchase of Strikeforce doesn't affect M-1 at all," Kogan stated. "Our TV deal is with Showtime and we're happy. It's business as usual for M-1 Global as we close into our March 25 event."
I have to admit I love the irony of Kogan spouting the same "business as usual" line that Dana White made famous in his interview yesterday with Ariel Helwani and that Strikeforce spokesman Mike Afromowitz used with the Associated Press.