The erosion of Strikeforce has long been talked about, and the reality of the struggling promotion's future is as uncertain as ever, especially after last week's abrupt cancellation of the November 3rd card. Even more alarming, is the fact that none of the fighters were informed of the decision to axe the event. Most found out online, and heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier, found out from respected journalist, Ariel Helwani. Of all the fighters on the card that might have been deserving of that courtesy, Cormier, being the main event, probably warranted it most.
When you're 8 weeks into a training camp, your opponent has pulled out of your fight over a month before, and you still don't have an opponent set, it's time to worry. Compound that with the two other 'name' draws on the card sustaining injuries and being forced to withdraw from their own fights, and you have a recipe for disaster. From the minute the announcement hit the media, rumors of Strikeforce closing it's doors forever ran rampant on the social sites. The organization, in bed with surly mistress, Showtime, has been all but abandoned by Zuffa, and when asked about the rumors, UFC president, Dana White, dismissed the question with, 'Don't ask me, ask the guy who runs it.'
I recently spoke to Daniel, to get his opinion on the situation, and found him surprisingly calm. He attributes it to his treks through far worse trials in his life. Knowing that things can only get better, and not having the added pressure of financial difficulties is what keeps Daniel in his zen zone. His peace of mind through hard times is gained from his ability to live well within his means, and conserve his money. As of this writing, the fighters from the card have not yet been compensated in any way. Here's what he had to say about the whole thing:
The biggest letdown in the whole thing was being uninformed, but I've talked to the organization since, and they've told me why, and I understand. I have to. There's really no crying over spilled milk. I was made fully aware of the reasoning behind it. I guess that's what needed to happen.
When asked what the reasoning was, Cormier stated that he was not at liberty to disclose the conversation he had, but did say that he got the impression that Strikeforce was not going out of business just yet. The only thing he would say was that it was something between Showtime and Strikeforce.
Regarding compensation for the roster of the canceled card, neither Daniel, nor any of the other fighters have received their fight purses yet, but it is likely that they will get them. Strikeforce is known for taking care of their athletes in cases like this. While that may be some small source of comfort, the time away from active competition is a point of concern for Cormier.
I haven't heard anything yet. I didn't even ask, actually. My manager is in Brazil right now, and he's probably got a few more answers than I do. I don't know what's going on. It's still pretty blank. They're a good organization and they take care of their people. We've all seen that they've taken care of their fighters in the past. If they do pay us, it won't surprise me, and if they don't, oh well. I'll just keep training for the next one, I guess. I've dealt with disappointments in life that are way bigger than this.
It's all about being responsible. I make a lot of money when I do fight. I wish I could make more by fighting more often, but I still have to be responsible. I'm older. I'm about to be 34 years old. That's the most disappointing thing. From September of 2011 to January of 2013, I will have only had one fight. That's not very good for a guy my age. I'm supposed to be fighting more often. As a wrestler, I need to be competitively active. I'm used to wrestling every week, so I need to compete more.
I'm always training, and the guys I train with are beasts. There's nothing to actually simulate being in the cage and being in an actual fight, but best case scenario, is that you have great training partners like I do. You work hard, and you're always in the gym. It's a lot different when you're in training camp, as opposed to just regular, everyday training, but you're still in the gym regularly. For a guy like me, that's only had 10 fights, being in that cage as much as possible is the key to getting comfortable in there.
When two cards in a row are canceled, one's confidence in the security of the organization can go awry, and the security blanket can start to feel less comforting. Despite the dark cloud that continues to hang over Strikeforce, Daniel seems to have mastered the art of taking things in stride and looking past the bumps in the road.
It's out of my control. I'm in a contract, and I fight whenever they tell me to fight. I mean, it sucks. It's a sucky deal. It's like having a boss. They control what happens. The one thing I can really rely on, is that even if I feel bad about my place, and sad about the state of Strikeforce, I know that soon I'll be fighting in the UFC, and I know that I'll have security there. I just need to get this last fight done. It's just lingering over me now. I need to get it done so I can keep on progressing.
More than ever, I'm glad that I made a decision, long ago, to try and live reasonably. I've had the same car since 2003. It's got 164,000 miles on it, but I'll drive it till the wheels fall off of it. That's when I'll get a new car [laughs]. I will get a more economical, fuel efficient car, because $4.70 a gallon is insane. Living within my means has made a huge difference, and with a family, it's something you have to do.
Daniel's remarkable, upbeat attitude never ceases to amaze me. No matter what the situation is, this guy handles every curve ball that life throws at him with grace. He sets a great example and is a terrific ambassador for the sport. I know I'm not alone when I say that I hope nothing but great things and continued success head his direction.
You can follow Daniel via his Twitter account, @DC_MMA