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There is Good Reason to Be Bullish on Strikeforce

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After a week or so of taking everything in regarding Strikeforce, I am extremely bullish on the organization's future for a few reasons.

First, they are not getting themselves into a pay per view death sentence.  Pay per view is where most companies go to die.  It's expensive to get on, and you end up spending a ton just to make some money, and the returns aren't good enough.  

Second, they are running a completely non-competitive model.  There is no meaningful way in which Strikeforce is competition for the UFC.  Neither company's gain is the other's loss, and success for Strikeforce is not a threat to the UFC.  They may eventually do a couple pay per view shows a year, but it still doesn't really matter in the long run.

Third, Scott Coker's vision of MMA is an interesting synergy of ideas that is ultimately based on presenting a product that sells.  By main eventing his first fight with a catchweight fight between two trash talkers, he made his company strategy very clear.  Strikeforce isn't out there trying to claim to have the best in any division in the world.  They are out there to present entertaining fights that people want to see.  At the same time, his excitement for fights like Jake Shields v. Shinya Aoki reveals he is really a fan of the sport of MMA as well.  

There's something about the way he puts together fights that I find superior to the Joe Silva method.  Whereas Joe Silva will give us something like Vera v. Jardine because they are similar level, Scott Coker will try to find two guys of similar levels and of contrasting styles that will make for an entertaining fight.  I think the UFC overlooks stylistic factors in its matchmaking.

Finally, I am bullish because I do not believe the UFC will mount any counter-promotional effort.  I spoke with someone at Zuffa who said this was good for the sport.  I asked why, and the response was simple: "politics."  A lot of people have noticed the extensive D.C. lobbying effort by the UFC of late as well as a second large wave of fighter cuts.  Some industry insiders have speculated that their concern about antitrust litigation and D.C. regulation explains a lot of their moves of late.  By cutting so many fighters and allowing them to go elsewhere, they cut off claims that they have a chokehold on the industry.  The presence of Strikeforce on CBS only helps their cause in that respect.  

I don't know if Strikeforce on CBS is really going to be a huge growth point for the industry, but I do believe it is a huge positive.  Instead of trying to be the USFL to the UFC's NFL, they are positioning themselves as college football, an alternate version of the same sport that doesn't need to compete with the major league.