Posts Tagged ‘UFC’
A lot of us are probably still wondering if this isn’t really April Fool’s Day.
With MMA behemoths UFC and Strikeforce enjoying a rare off-week and Bellator and Shark Fights taking the weekend’s fight spotlight, it seemed like all was calm. Well, outside of Ferrid Kheder’s daring escape from the Bellator 36 weigh-ins.
Then MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani had to go and interview UFC president Dana White and turn the MMA world upside down.
White announced in the exclusive interview that UFC parent company Zuffa has purchased the rival Strikeforce promotion. He wouldn’t disclose details about the purchase, but continually insisted to Helwani that it would be “business as usual” regarding the operation of the new property.
White insists the two organizations will be owned by Zuffa, but run as competing entities. That applies to everything under the Strikeforce banner, from television to fighter contracts to where Strikeforce’s headquarters are located. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker will even retain his post as the head of the company.
Strikeforce’s television production relationship with Showtime will remain intact as well, allowing little chance for UFC influence to shine through during event broadcasts. It also means that fans will not yet be able to credit Zuffa with saving them from the oft-criticized commentating skills of Frank Shamrock, Stephen Quadros, Mauro Ranallo or Gus Johnson.
Fighters won’t just travel back and forth between the organizations, either. Instead, the two brands will compete for the fighters’ services when their contracts are up, just as they have in the past.
Even White’s grudges with fighters such as Dan Henderson, Josh Barnett and Paul Daley will remain exclusive grudges of the UFC, having no bearing on the relationship between those athletes and the Strikeforce organization. At least not yet.
We can only guess how long this lasts. White and the UFC made certain claims about how Pride and the WEC would run, but those plans were either abandoned or eventually evolved with the UFC’s growth.
When will the temptation to unify belts or make those dream match-ups between legends like Fedor Emelianenko and Randy Couture overwhelm White, the Fertittas and UFC matchmaker Joe Silva?
Will we see some awfully convenient moves when a fighter’s contract is up and an appealing pairing awaits on the other side of the fence that will run down the middle of Zuffa’s property?
Strikeforce offers a uniquely different scenario than Pride or the WEC.
With Pride, the promotion was a sinking ship and the UFC quickly realized its best route was to bring over the top stars it had acquired.
With the WEC, Zuffa could dip its feet into the featherweight and bantamweight waters and slowly phase out the heavier divisions, which only offered a couple of top names to add to the UFC’s equivalent division.
Yet with Strikeforce, there are a number of names that stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their UFC brethren in weight-class rankings. Alistair Overeem, Nick Diaz and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza are three prime examples. For marketability, Emelianenko is a huge draw, on par with top UFC stars.
The debate has always been about how one promotion’s top fighter would fare against another’s. It’s hard to imagine that a carrot such as that one can be dangled for long before Dana lunges forward to take a bite.
But for now, it’s just “business as usual.”
“I would love to have that chance to fight Fedor. I think that would be the ultimate challenge, and that’s what excites me.” – Newly crowned Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson express who he would like to fight.
“Compared to Cris (Cyborg Santos), (Liz Carmouche’s) punches were like kisses.” – Marloes Coenen explains the difference in the punches she suffered from “Cyborg” to those of Carmouche.
“I respect Dana White a lot and if that’s what he absolutely wanted to happen then, you know, I guess that’s what would have to happen. Me or Rashad (Evans) would not want to get fired over the situation. It would just be majorly awkward for us.” – Contrary to what Evans believes, Jon Jones would fight his teammate and training partner.
“(Jon) Jones expressed last night in an interview that he would fight me for the title. So I guess (I have to fight him). I’m no punk.” – After weeks of Rashad Evans claiming he and Jones would not fight, his outlook has changed.
“He’s one of the toughest fighters in MMA currently, he’s tall and has a great conditioning, he’s rising, so it must be a hell of a good fight. But he’ll get hurt when my brother’s punches find his face.” – “Ninja” Rua talks the upcoming UFC 128 bout between his brother Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Jon Jones.
“Anderson Silva is a huge guy; he’s weighing around 230 pounds. He’s very big. Even when he fights as a light heavyweight, he looks bigger than the other guys. I don’t know if I’m going to go up (to) 185. I have no idea; it’s a complete reorientation of my career. I have a lot to lose and I haven’t thought about it, I haven’t sat down to talk about it.” – Georges St. Pierre is unsure about changing weight divisions, despite earlier reports that he will vacate his welterweight title to fight middleweight kingpin, Anderson Silva.
“I’m going to smash (Nick Diaz) within three rounds (and) take his belt. There’s no way he’ll stand up with me. He might think he wants to but his coaches won’t allow it; Cesar Gracie’s a great coach and he won’t want him trading punches.” – Paul Daley believes that his striking will intimidate Nick Diaz when the two meet on April 9.
“To me, the WEC always was the UFC for the little guys.” – Former WEC champ Eddie Wineland makes a statement that most people would agree with.
“In a way Mike Pyle is a mirror image of me. He’s a veteran of the sport who splits his time between trainer and corner man and fighter. He’s the grappling and jiu-jitsu expert out there and he helps and corners all the guys around him, like I do out here. As far as technique goes we are both original grapplers with improved standup.” – Ricardo Almeida explains the similarities between himself and Mike Pyle.
“This return of UFC to Brazil touched me, made me feel the wish of coming back to the Octagon. Everything has been negotiated with Dana White. Let’s wait and see.” – Former UFC fighter and MMA legend Royce Gracie expresses his desire to return to the Octagon in Brazil.
“I’ll whoop Anderson’s ass. I just can’t go to the ground, and I have to stay out of his reach. Maybe I can just run around the damn ring.” – Superstar NFL player Chad Ochocinco calls out Anderson Silva.