If you ask the fighters what the biggest difference about working for a Zuffa-helmed Strikeforce is, most of them point to the increased efficiency and more streamlined management of live events and all things surrounding an upcoming fight (media appearances, hotel accommodations, etc.).
Though things may be running more smoothly within Strikeforce’s walls, the promotion is still subject to the occasional growing pain, as in the case of the promotion’s heavyweight champion, Alistair Overeem, pulling out of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix over injury-related scheduling issues (which very likely had something to do with the fact that Overeem is on the last deal of his contract and is now in the midst of contract renewal negotiations).
Situations like this one are more reminiscent of the Strikeforce that had trouble holding on to Fedor Emelianenko and could never really corral Overeem. Toss in the promotion’s difficulty in retaining the services of their women’s featherweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos and you’ve got a promotion that seemingly runs quite differently from the one that UFC president Dana White helped bring to the middle of pop culture’s radar.
That’s possibly because, as he recently explained to SportsIllustrated.com, White separates himself from the inner workings of Strikeforce as much as he can.
“No, you know what, that’s another thing. I’ve kind of removed myself from the Strikeforce piece of this thing,” said White. “You would think it would be the opposite, that some people would be happy about that, but actually some of these fight camps are unhappy that I have removed myself from it. And I’ve been getting some phone calls, and some of these guys that are involved in Strikeforce would like me to be more involved in Strikeforce.”
When met with disbelief, White assured that he keeps his hands off of Strikeforce and allows Zuffa CEO Lorenzo Fertitta to handle things on that side of the fence with the help of a selection of Zuffa employees.
“Oh, it’s true. Trust me,” he said. “Ask Lorenzo. Interview Lorenzo, and ask him how involved in Strikeforce I am. It’s absolutely zero. I wanted nothing to do with it, didn’t want to touch it with a 10-foot pole. So I’ve literally not done anything. I have nothing to do with the Strikeforce piece of this thing, and it’s basically been, Lorenzo’s been working on it with some of the people here that work for us at the UFC.”