So much for the momentum from the announcement that Strikeforce was going to keep on keepin' on in 2012. Last Saturday's event featuring Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez headlining and Women's Featherweight Champion Cristiane Santos in the co-main event drew 460,000 viewers, verified by industry insiders.
Of the eight non-Challengers events Strikeforce put on in 2011, Saturday's event ranked sixth in total viewership. February's event featuring Fedor Emelianenko vs. Antonio Silva led the pack with 741,000 viewers while September's show with Josh Barnett vs. Sergei Kharitonov was in the basement at 274,000 viewers.
On Saturday, Melendez took a unanimous decision win over Jorge Masvidal while Santos dispatched Hiroko Yamanaka in just 16 seconds. Strikeforce will have an opportunity to rebound on Saturday, January 7 when Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold defends his title against Keith Jardine during a free Showtime preview weekend.
Last week, UFC President Dana White announced on a conference call that Strikeforce and Showtime have extended their partnership and will put on 6-8 events in the coming year, eliminating the Challengers series. The number has to be disappointing considering there was a strong lead-in from a major boxing match featuring Andre Ward vs. Carl Froch.