Frank Shamrock is in an odd situation, still one of the faces of Strikeforce while far from in the good graces of Strikeforce owner Zuffa. He was on a recent edition of The MMA Hour for MMA Fighting and didn't exactly seem thrilled with Zuffa's picking apart of Strikeforce to help build up the UFC.
Here's what Frank had to say about the status and future of Strikeforce:
"In a perfect world, they (Strikeforce) should live on and all the sweat and tears and the soul we put into it should give value somewhere else. In the world of big business, it's probably going to get wrapped up, rolled up and disappear. You know, like many of the other brands in this industry that were used to consolidate and build another brand. Sadly, it's just business. I don't think it's going to live on. At one point, Strikeforce was competing, it was number two. We did it in such a quick period of time and the intention was right . The sport came together to create Strikeforce and Scott (Coker) had the opportunity, and I had a few years left in the cage. But, it will never happen again. That moment is gone. I think that's the toughest thing for me to accept, is that moment is gone."
"Strikeforce is alive and it has a great soul. It's just that they've been picking the soul out of it and taking the talent away from it and now it's a shell. It can definitely be rebuilt. Strikeforce was amazing. The idea of it is still, it still has value. But the way it is being treated, they are plucking all the value out of it."
He also talked about the recent cancellation of the Strikeforce event following an injury to headlining lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez:
"The hardest part for me is that I started working and I didn't get to finish. But, its big business. Showtime, they are in the business of ratings and growing a product and growing their network and the UFC hasn't been supporting that. They've put out some demands that are just, you know, they haven't been amenable. But the relationship is frayed. I don't know who loses out except for the fans when they cancel a show like this. I think it's a telling example of what's going to happen in our future. You know, Gilbert's the star and if we can't have the star, then Showtime doesn't want to play."
This, of course, ignores how Showtime has done business with their fight game for a sustained amount of time. Same with HBO. If you lose a headlining bout, without a support bout capable of drawing in the ratings to offset the cost of production, taking up a block of programming..etc. then you call off the show.
Yes, obviously Strikeforce having stars picked off to go to the UFC hurts their ability to put on a support bout worthy of sliding in to the main event role. There's no doubt that Zuffa's pillaging of Strikeforce has hurt the promotion, but how much sense does it make to keep potential big stars on a platform where their exposure is limited?