When the UFC purchased Strikeforce earlier this year, UFC president Dana White’s mantra concerning the handling of that promotion was “business as usual,” meaning Strikeforce was intended to run autonomously with little change to the MMA landscape.
And it did, for all of ten minutes.
Reports began surfacing soon after the buyout of radical changes to staff, with Strikeforce running behind an almost all-Zuffa front house staff. With their last event attracting a dismal audience and little media coverage, and the promotion itself hemorrhaging champions and top talent to the UFC, the future of Strikeforce seems to be on the wall. Still though, as his recent interview with MMAWeekly shows, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker is still holding out hope that his promotion will last.
“Zuffa is committed to continuing Strikeforce,” said Coker. “And really, it’s in Showtime’s hands. There’s dialogue and negotiations going back and forth right now and I’m hopeful that Strikeforce will be renewed and we’ll put on some great fights for many years.”
Adding to Strikeforce’s woes is the fact that Showtime Executive Vice President and General Manager of Sports and Event Programming Ken Hershman, the man who brought Strikefore to Showtime, has left his position to become the president of HBO sports.
“I had a conversation with Showtime this morning about that, when I had heard about Ken’s move,” Coker said. “To me, I’m thankful to Ken for putting MMA on Showtime and putting MMA on CBS, because he was really the catalyst to make a lot of that happen. So, I’m thankful for that. But, to me, it’s back to business as usual with Showtime because there’s a lot of other people there that we dealt with that love MMA and we’ve been a great ratings deliverer for them. The negotiations are continuing. So, to me, it doesn’t skip a beat, it continues. They like mixed martial arts and we’d like to continue.”
Though Coker is, at least ostensibly, remaining positive about the future of Strikeforce, the rest of the MMA world sees a dying promotion.