Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Showtime Exec says Strikeforce's end due to talent pool's decimation

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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

"We had the option to extend for another year. We decided not to, and candidly, there's one main reason behind it. As any fan who follows Strikeforce or MMA generally knows, there's been some talent problems in the last half of the year, and there's been some injury problems throughout the sport. But given where the talent pool in Strikeforce is, we really got decimated by injuries and suspensions. And in the overall scheme of things, we just weren't comfortable with the trajectory of where the shows were going. We didn't believe toward the end of the year that we were getting shows that were premium television level shows, and we didn't see that situation getting any better. I wanted to live up to the high standards that Strikeforce set with Showtime before I got here, and as the year went on, it was clear that wasn't going to happen... This problem with the talent pool and the trajectory of the promotion going forward wasn't going away. It wasn't just a streak of bad luck for a couple months. It was a trend. Look at it from the big picture. Look at the trajectory of the organization Strikeforce before the acquisition by Zuffa and after. I think, with due respect, everything that we did after, the trajectory wasn't the same. That became very clear by the end of the year."

-Showtime Sports executive Stephen Espinoza further delves into the network's decision not to use their option to extend their contract with Strikeforce in an interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour (transcribed by MMAMania.com).

Penick's Analysis: The writing was on the wall when Zuffa purchased Strikeforce, and things only got clearer from there. It was odd enough to have them sign a new deal for 2012 with the option for this year, because they had already lost their biggest stars to the UFC, then the heavyweights save for Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett. They effectively handcuffed the roster for the rest of 2012 because there just weren't any spots open for them with limited events and, ultimately, canceled events due to a lack of star power. Of course, they allowed Ronda Rousey another year to put on a title winning performance, defend that belt, and build her media presence to where the UFC was interested in bringing women's MMA over for the first time, but it was clear from the moment Zuffa made the purchase of Strikeforce that it would not last.

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Source: http://www.mmatorch.com/artman2/publish/Affliction2/article_15539.shtml

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