Many MMA fans have taken Zuffa's repetition of Strikeforce being "business as usual" since the purchase to mean "just a matter of time." There has been much speculation that Strikeforce would be shut down in 2012 when their deal with Showtime and CBS comes to a close. Cage Potato is now reporting that the resurrected ProElite is close to signing a deal with the networks which should represent the final nail in Strikeforce's coffin:
Sources close to the promotion that was recently brought back from the verge of death by Stratus Media Group, who acquired a 95 percent ownership stake of the company in June, have informed CagePotato.com that ProElite is in the final stages of negotiations for a multi-year television deal with Viacom that will see its events broadcast on both Showtime and CBS starting in the first quarter of 2012.
Viacom owns 20 percent, or approximately 11,991,172 of the 59,955,862 outstanding shares of ProElite (PELE) which are currently trading at 48 cents each after sitting at a penny for the past three years since EliteXC folded. At the height of EliteXC's popularity, the ProElite's shares routinely traded at $15. A resurgence of the company aided by a deal with Viacom, would mean that for every dollar they can raise the stock purchase price by, the media conglomerate could stand to earn close to $12 million U.S.
Zuffa isn't likely to give up air time in any of their deals to put Strikeforce on TV, and they're not going to look for new deals for the smaller promotion when they're still trying to better the UFC's broadcast situation. One can only assume that Strikeforce is going to make it through 2011 and that will be it.
But today is the day to be upset that you didn't buy a ton of $0.01 shares of ProElite as the shares are going to see yet another huge bump after the deal is completed and officially announced.
Update by Brent Brookhouse: TJ Thompson of ProElite refutes the claim on Twitter:
We have no imminent deal with Showtime/CBS. We @ProElitemma are not sure what "source" cage potato used but they were wrong.
It could be that there is no deal, it could be that this is careful language to make it sound like they're not ready to sign for negotiation purposes or it could be that this is a public company that does not want such big news made public yet.