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Old 03-14-2011, 09:04 AM   #1
scurlaruntings
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Default Couture on the deal

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NEW YORK -- Zuffa Inc., the parent company of the UFC, has purchased rival mixed martial arts promoter Strikeforce, though they will continue to operate as separate entities.

Financial terms of the sale were not available.

Strikeforce spokesman Mike Afromowitz confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on Saturday night.

"Right now the plan is to operate on our own," Afromowitz said. "Business as usual."

UFC president Dana White told MMAFighting.com and The Canadian Press that Zuffa had purchased Strikeforce.

An official announcement will come Monday in Las Vegas.

Negotiations between representatives for Zuffa and Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment, which also runs the NHL's San Jose Sharks, have been in the making for months, various parties familiar with the deal said.

Three years ago Silicon Valley agreed to a partnership with Strikeforce's parent company, West Coast Entertainment, a San Jose-based promotion created by Scott Coker in 1985. A kickboxing-based organization, Coker did not move to promote MMA under the Strikeforce banner until 2006. Coker and Silicon Valley shared an even split of the company.

Coker did not respond to requests for comment regarding the deal with the UFC.

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On March 1, Coker described rumors of a pending sale to the UFC as "crazy." He said Strikeforce was searching for "strategic partners" and that there were at least two options, but that "the UFC is not one of them."

Among those potential investors was ProElite, Inc., which was told it could buy out Coker's Silicon Valley partners for $20 million and another $20 million investment in capital, a source involved in the negotiations said. ProElite is a publicly traded company that promoted MMA on Showtime under the EliteXC banner until it sold its assets to Strikeforce and its partner Silicon Valley in February 2009. That 2009 sale created the opportunity for Strikeforce to strike a deal with Showtime.
Quote:
Sources confirmed Coker, the current Strikeforce CEO, attempted to wrest control of the brand, but in the end was unsuccessful. Instead, an agreement to sell Strikeforce's licensing rights, fighter contracts and video library closed with the UFC on Thursday or Friday.
White told MMAFighting.com that Coker would remain in charge of Strikeforce and retain his staff of around 10 employees. The company would run separately from UFC and exhaust its contracts with Showtime television.

Ken Hershman, executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports, declined through a representative to comment. The network has a deal with Strikeforce that runs through early 2012, sources said.

As it did with WEC at the start of 2011, it is expected UFC will fold Strikeforce under its banner at the conclusion of the partnership with Showtime. The UFC attempted to create an under-one-roof competitor with its purchase of the Pride Fighting Championships in 2006, however it chose to dissolve the company months later. With the WEC, Zuffa hoped to build another relevant brand to take to pay-per-view, but again the decision was made to bring those fighters under the UFC banner.

Current contracts between fighters and Strikeforce are transferrable to Zuffa, sources with knowledge of the contracts' language said.

Strikeforce will feature two events beginning in April, notably a card on April 9 in San Diego.

Cesar Gracie, jujitsu coach for Strikeforce welterweight titleholder Nick Diaz and Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, both of whom are set to defend their belts on the card, expressed concern over the impact one dominant MMA brand would have on top to mid-tier fighters.

"
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We're definitely concerned that it's going to impact their future contracts and their pay in future contracts," Gracie said.

UFC Hall of Fame fighter Randy Couture said the deal between UFC and Strikeforce "has the potential to be tougher for fighters who are free agents."

"The Strikeforce purchase strengthens and stabilizes the [UFC] brand," said the 47-year-old Couture, who fights Lyoto Machida on April 30 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto in front of an expected crowd of more than 50,000. "It solidifies Zuffa's monopoly on the sport of MMA.

"Overall it's too early to tell if it's positive or negative for the sport until we see what direction the new owners take with the brand."

Unless another organization with a strong television presence and deep pockets arrives on the scene, fighters' leverage will be determined by their talent, popularity and success. Currently, the UFC is reducing the size of its roster to create an average of 28 fighters per division, an overall decrease from 260 to around 200.

Couture famously challenged the UFC in court in 2008 over rights to his likeness as well as his earning potential. In the end, he failed to free himself and returned to the company. Long an advocate for some sort of safeguard system for the sport's athletes, Couture suggested the idea of a union or fighter association emerging as response to the UFC's firm grip over the sport is "wrought with hurdles and will be difficult to execute."

It will, however, remove the largest impediment in the way of the best fighters having the opportunity to fight one another. Prior to closing the deal with Strikeforce, UFC contracted roughly 70 percent of the top-10 ranked mixed martial artists from heavyweight through bantamweight, according to ESPN.com's MMA rankings. This move gives Zuffa a lock on talent that is considered to be the best in the sport.




This to me screams of a shady back room deal with a gun figuratively held to Cokers head. Why did he sell to the UFC when that didn't seem to be his intention or on the agenda?

Couture has confirmed exactly what i think of this deal. Although he's sitting on the fence over the negative or positive aspect of this we know he must be against it as he went to court against the UFC 3 years ago when the UFC nixed his intentions to fight Fedor at Affliction.
Its pretty clear from his statement that he's very worried about the future of fighters and the lack of leverage they now have. As unless they play ball there is simply very little avenues for to make money or even feed their familys.
Off the back of this as expected there's a cull of 60 fighters. Thats HUGE number. In addition there is no union to protect the fighters and its completely unlikely that one will ever exist when the UFC is an independent franchise accountable only to itself.
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:08 AM   #2
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Default Re: Couture on the deal

Randy's been reading my posts
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:16 AM   #3
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Randy's been reading my posts
He started reading mine first......
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:23 AM   #4
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Randy is just a Scurlaruntings schill

I hope he does form a Union, he's the perfect man for the job
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:31 AM   #5
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Randy is just a Scurlaruntings schill

I hope he does form a Union, he's the perfect man for the job
Dana is completely opposed to the Ali Act that boxing has. There's no chance of a Union and there's no way it can be enforced by anyone other than the UFC. Even if there was one those who joined or who were in opposition to Dana would be out on their ear. He has the final say in everything. Thats too much control for one man.
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:39 AM   #6
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Default Re: Couture on the deal

Without a Union or Goldenboy type rival to the UFC with someone like Randy as the figure head things will never change. But no one in MMA has the type of financial clout that Oscar has in boxing so it is very unlikely without the support of a rich businessman or TV network. Then who's too say they wouldnt be worse than the Buritto's Bros and White. But atleast fighters will have the option, even if it's the lesser of two evils, but this point is moot

Promoters have been screwing over athletes for as long as combat sports have existed. Even the likes of Joe Louis and Ali are not exempt from this
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:46 AM   #7
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Without a Union or Goldenboy type rival to the UFC with someone like Randy as the figure head things will never change. But no one in MMA has the type of financial clout that Oscar has in boxing so it is very unlikely without the support of a rich businessman or TV network. Then who's too say they wouldnt be worse than the Buritto's Bros and White. But atleast fighters will have the option, even if it's the lesser of two evils, but this point is moot

Promoters have been screwing over athletes for as long as combat sports have existed. Even the likes of Joe Louis and Ali are not exempt from this
And this is the crux of the point. As much as people moan about boxing the reality is the revenue simply isn't there in MMA much less for the UFC.
If the bill makes $20m and DKP take $15 and Tyson makes $5m thats an unfair shake but your not that poor. Boxers make substantially more so the trade off's are better even for the likes of Ali Holmes Tyson Byrd Witherspoon etc because the pot is sooo much larger.

The UFC is completely different kettle of fish. They control the fighters rights, their contract, their sponsors, any 3rd party means they use to make money, their IP rights, lock stock the whole lot.
And at the end of it all a bill that grossed say $2m you might get a salary despite top billing of $20k. That would NEVER happen in boxing.
All fighters are free agents. Even journeymen dont get out of bed for that. **** me Micheal grant made $100k for fighting Tye Fields in front of a handful of people.
And for a fact it will get worse.
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:53 AM   #8
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Default Re: Couture on the deal

I agree one corp has all the leverage now.

Hopefully bellator grows enough to become competitive with the ufc. If they do I wonder if they too will eventually sell out to Zuffa?
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:58 AM   #9
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Default Re: Couture on the deal

I think Zuffa will be much better off now picking off the best fighters in any org such as Lombard one by one rather than purchase a Bellator out right
The UFC is now in a position to bid for fighter with the likes of Bellator in no way prosperous enough to compete and without the worry of a Strikeforce pushing the bidding up by trying to sign the same fighter aswell
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:02 AM   #10
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Default Re: Couture on the deal

eventually fighters with a bad history with Dana will go to Bellator. It will grow.

But I agree, that tactic of enticing the best talent of competing orgs and counterprograming will make it difficult for bellator or any other org to gain momentum.
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:06 AM   #11
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Default Re: Couture on the deal

I cant see it growing. Strikeforce did indeed grow using mainly fighters with a bad history with the UFC such as Frank, Josh, Fedor, Reem, Nick ect.
But if Bellator hasnt got the clout to keep Lombard (time will tell) they certainly havent got the clout to sign all these fighter. And they will need to sign all of them to be taken seriously
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:11 AM   #12
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Default Re: Couture on the deal

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I agree one corp has all the leverage now.

Hopefully bellator grows enough to become competitive with the ufc. If they do I wonder if they too will eventually sell out to Zuffa?
Nope that wont happen. There's no one that can challenge the UFC. The only market that had a glimmer is Japan. But thats unlikely because the K-1 and DREAM are dead.
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:11 AM   #13
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Default Re: Couture on the deal

a little pessimistic arent you stoo?

Their will always be a #2 org, it has happened before, it will happen again.

Maybe it wont be bellator, especially if they stay on MTV 2 a channel which I dont have!
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:16 AM   #14
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a little pessimistic arent you stoo?

Their will always be a #2 org, it has happened before, it will happen again.

Maybe it wont be bellator, especially if they stay on MTV 2 a channel which I dont have!
The playing field is VERY different this time. There are simply no viable alternatives. Japanese MMA is dead. That leaves only the West. Bellator is nice but even they struggle to break even. Without a quality stable and TV deals they're going nowhere.
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:19 AM   #15
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Default Re: Couture on the deal

Not really Yaca, there will be a number two org I guess. But that doesnt automatically guarantee it being on the level of Strikeforce does it

In MMA I think it's fair to see that everything Strikeforce was was built of the back of Shamrock and Cung. The Heaveyweight tourney and Dream co promotions were a step in the right direction and saw SF's credability jump in leaps and bounds. Only in the last 12 months could you honestly say it was the number two org with any relevant standing.

And it got stopped in it's tracks on Saturday. How do you see Bellator fairing any better?
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