Along with the news that Strikeforce has extended its deal with Showtime for several years and will continue existing as its own promotion, it was revealed today that the Strikeforce Challengers series will no longer exist.
Showtime Executive Vice President Stephen Espinoza explained that the feeder show will be discontinued, but that the fighters on its rosters will not be left to the streets. Instead, they will merge with Strikeforce proper and compete on a less regional-fighter-heavy preliminary card ahead of regular Strikeforce broadcasts on the Showtime Extreme network.
“What we’ve decided to do in a sense is consolidate programming,” explained Espinoza (props to MMAWeekly). “We’re going to have the preliminaries airing on (Showtime) Extreme, immediately preceding the televised main event, and primary undercard fights. Whether they’ll be called Challengers or not is still something to be discussed.”
Having featured a ton of legitimate contenders from Tyron Woodley to Sarah Kaufman, the Strikeforce Challengers Series began in 2009 as a feeder league to establish the next crop of Strikeforce contenders.
The last Strikeforce Challengers Card, Strikeforce Challengers: Britt vs. Sayers took place on November 18 at the Pearl at the Palms in Las Vegas.