MMA Without Strikeforce?
The MMA world was caught by surprise by the purchase of Strikeforce by the parent company of the UFC, Zuffa LLC. The buzz in the air now is how this will affect the two organizations, both short-term and long-term. With the pleasure of being an avid fan and a follower of the sport, I can say I have mixed feelings about the acquisition.
As some of the fighters have been interchangeable between the two distinct companies over the years, the unique presentation and the "free" fight cards (with Showtime subscription of course) Strikeforce has given us can be greatly appreciated. As these promotions continue to operate as "separate entities", we all know that the eventual end of Strikeforce as we know it is inevitable.
Besides the obvious (The fighters under contract), what will happen with the Strikeforce Brand? I would first of all like to have a farewell party for the sparingly used Gus Johnson when the CBS/Showtime contract ends. Or better yet, how about Zuffa buys out and signs Gus to their broadcast team so we can spare our ears from the dreadful and even annoying commentary from Mike Goldberg. Why not replace the "over the hill" and arrogant Joe Rogan with a 2-for-1 deal including Pat Miletich and Mauro Ranallo. It's a longshot but why not hope for the best.
Despite Jimmy Lennon Jr. being the announcer for Strikeforce, a Bruce Buffer/Jimmy Lennon Jr. showdown will not be necessary. Jimmy Lennon Jr. is an employee of Showtime/CBS and not Strikeforce. So us Bruce Buffer fans will still get our Bruce Buffer fix every fight night and we can keep hoping for a "Buffer Cam".
And who says women shouldn't participate in MMA? Dana White? The small but entertaining group of women MMA fighters in Strikeforce put on a show every time they get a chance. I see no reason for them not to have a bright future in the UFC in a few years. In addition to the women's division, the Strikeforce Challenger's Series has continued to give us great fights and establish a system similar to the "minor leagues" of MLB. These competitors are able to showcase their skills in smaller hometown markets while on national television. I think it's great for the sport and good exposure for these athletes.
It will take years, but we all know that Strikeforce will mimic the recent disappearance of the WEC, as well as Pride and Affliction.
As a message to the UFC and Zuffa: PLEASE LET US FANS CONTINUE TO ENJOY OUR STRIKEFORCE FIX.