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Monday, February 1, 2010

Does Strikeforce have the potential to be a serious competitor to the UFC?

Alright, it is a proven fact that the first thing people think about when they hear the term mixed martial arts is UFC or a UFC fighter..trust me, try it out.  UFC is probably the biggest MMA association in the world with events and coverage all over the world. Many organizations have tried to compete with UFC in North America and failed..even Donald Trump tried to get involved with MMA to little success with Affliction. There is only one other organization in the US that is close to the UFC and that is Strikeforce.

The California- based Strikeforce was able to develop much recognition after being able to sign the number 1 heavyweight in the world, Fedor Emelianenko, and Dan Henderson after negotiations failed with the UFC. After 27 events, one being this past Saturday, it is clear that there are many elements with this organization that can work well into this organization favour to compete with the UFC. First, the roster... as is, Strikeforce had a good roster of fighters but it was sometime last year when Strikeforce announced to have a co promotion partnerships with Japanese based association Dream and Europe’s M-1 to improve its efforts against the UFC.  This has allowed Strikeforce to improve their fight cards by being able to bring in fighters from these two organizations.  Trust me when I say, these fights so far have not been anything less than entertaining. For example, on Saturday, Nick Diaz vs. Marius Zaromskis for the welterweight title....both guys came out swinging from the opening bell until one dropped.  Even Melvin Manhoef vs. Robbie Lawlor....ended in a brutal knockout that came out of nowhere!  Some other fighters Strikeforce have been able to bring into the mix are Gegard Mousasi, King Mo, Kj Noons, Bobby Lashley ..just to name a few , with rumours circulating around Hayato Sakurai and Shinya Aoki being next to fight in a Strikeforce cage. Second, EA MMA....imagine EA Sport’s Fight Night .....MMA style! Game which features both Dream and Strikeforce fighters is set to come out this summer and will be huge in increasing Strikeforce’s exposure and if this game is a hit, improve the perception and interest in the company. Even though UFC was first to market with a video game, EA MMA can still be a huge for Strikeforce considering EA’s reputation for producing amazing sports games.

However, what kind of a person would I be to leave out the negatives about this company. Strikeforce’s biggest problem by far........television exposure. Although the company has some events that are hosted on CBS, the majority of their events are shown on Showtime and Super Channel. Now let me ask, don’t raise your hands all at once but how many of you have these channels?... How can one compete if there’s a good possibility your potential viewers don’t have the channel your event is airing on and isn’t even easy to access like Pay Per View ?  Maybe Showtime is huge in the states but Super Channel is not in Canada!! As it is , it’s difficult as is for any company to try and compete with the UFC because let’s face it, they are the originator that has already established their presence . Another problem is financial backing...it is very costly to try and have monthly cards with top talent. Strikeforce has created the Strikeforce Challengers series which showcases up and coming prospects  to try and have monthly events but to compete with the UFC, fans need to see the top dogs fighting more often than the next card, which is April. There are some other observations and criticisms that can be made but are minor compared to these two so don’t want to get into it.

Trust me when I say, Strikeforce has a long way to go to be at UFC level but I am happy to see what they have done as of late to try and improve their stance as a potential competitor to the UFC.

For more information on Strikeforce, please check out their website at http://strikeforce.com.

2 comments:

  1. As a fan of MMA and a biased ufc fan , i can honestly say that strikeforce does have fights/fighters that intrigue me and make me want to watch it. They do have star power such as Fedor, Henderson, and I think they have signed huerta. Another aspect is that they have up and comers int he sport like Bobby Lashley who I think will have a big career in the sport. I agree with the one thing that is really holding it back and thats the television exposure . I find that most times with these events the only time i can watch them is online the day after the fight. But when watched they do have entertaining fights and i believe it is because that even though strikeforce does not have the power houses of the MMA world like GSP , BJ Penn, Silva etc. they do have experienced athletes whos talent is all in and around the same talent pool. With all that being said i do believe strikeforce can compete with the UFC , especaily if they continue to sign big fighters and make there events more publicized and accesible to the viewing community.

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  2. Thanks for your comment. Just wanted to add for new readers...just because this is an update/relates to what I was saying regarding exposure. Strikeforce just landed broadcast deals for live and repeat content in the UK and Latin America. Article can be read at www.sherdog.com

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