The UFC today announced another step in their path toward total world domination, revealing that they have purchased their main Stateside competitor: Strikeforce. Debates have begun over whether or not the purchase is a good or bad thing for the sport, but either way there promises to be some friction as a result of the buy, based on the strained relationships between UFC president Dana White and many figures associated with Strikeforce.
White told Ariel Helwani during the conversation in which he broke the news of the purchase that he will do his best to ensure things run smoothly between the two promotions, explaining that any of his business partners can and will take his place during any negotiations in which his presence could prove interrupting.
“The beauty in a business like this is that there’s three partners in the UFC. It’s me, Frank, Lorenzo, and actually Abu Dhabi,” he said. “So these guys, Lorenzo can go deal with Showtime. I think the last thing Showtime wants to see is me show up at the door and start having conversations. And that’s no big deal. Lorenzo can go deal with Showtime.”
In addition to the Showtime heads, White is also at odds with several fighters in the promotion, including UFC castoff Paul Daley, who had his contract with the promotion severed after firing off a late punch at Josh Koscheck at UFC 113. Daley took to The Underground to voice his displeasure and trepidation over the purchase, saying that he may consider pulling out of his upcoming bout against Nick Diaz as a consequence.
“Business as usual, what if i dont wanna fight for DANA WHITE/ZUFFA?……Dana white bans me for life from the UFC, Then buys STRIKEFORCE, and thinks im still gonna be EASY and fight on one of the most anticipated fights of the year (vs Diaz)? Which will no doubt make ZUFFA/Dana White money,” wrote Daley. “Daley vs Diaz still on?…..Someone better holla at my manager real quick.”
In addition to openly questioning his participation in Diaz vs. Daley, “Semtex” expressed conflict at even staying connected with the Strikeforce promotion.
“Not sure what im gonna do right now, honestly…fight for the Strikeforce and be Strikeforce champ, put money in ZUFFA/Dana Whites pockets? Or fight here in the UK for BAMMA, who appreciate my brand, and have my loyal fans, family and media support me. For real,” he said.
In addition to Daley, Dana White has had a tense relationship with newly crowned Strikeforce light heavyweight champ Dan Henderson in the past, but “Hendo” told MMAWeekly that he has no problem working with Dana White or Zuffa and would even consider re-upping with the UFC at the end of his Strikeforce contract.
“I’ve never said anything bad about them,” said Henderson. “I always appreciated everything they’ve done for me and for the sport. It’s just I was paid more money to go elsewhere, and that’s what I did. Dana’s the type that needs to talk a little smack if he doesn’t get his way, but I’ve got no hard feelings about anything.”
Good or bad for the sport, Zuffa’s purchase of Strikeforce is certainly creating a wealth of intrigue.