Zuffa, the parent company of UFC, has just purchased it’s biggest competition in the US, Strikeforce. Dana White sat down for a twenty minute interview with Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com to reveal the purchase and clear up some details of the arrangement. “Business as usual” is how he described the next few months for both companies.
Apparently they will be kept separately, similar to how WEC and UFC were kept apart for years before merging at the end of 2010 or how Smackdown! and Raw were considered two separate brands in the WWE.
Scott Coker will still run Strikeforce which has a division that Dana White said would never be a part of UFC, the women’s division. With the companies being kept separately however it doesn’t make Dana a liar, since the women will not actually be fighting under the UFC umbrella.
Strikeforce will continue to run shows on Showtime until those obligations are finished and all shows already announced will still take place. Dana did not directly address the Heavyweight Tournament, which began in February in NJ and was supposed to continue sooner rather than later. One might infer that this deal that was brewing might have had something to do with delaying the second leg of the tournament.
Dana did say that you would most likely see Strikeforce events advertised during UFC telecasts as well as the other way around, however other than that it doesn’t seem like there will be any DRAMATIC affects to this merger right off the bat. Down the road however it will be interesting to see if some of the dream fights involving guys like Fedor, Overeem, Werdum, Nick Diaz and Dan Henderson might eventually take place.
Maybe down the road Strikeforce will be completely absorbed into UFC and the better fighters will be kept, letting the others go, but that bridge will be crossed when we come to it. Until then don’t be surprised if this is very similar to how UFC owned WEC but kept it as a separate entity for a long time.
I will be speaking to Jon Anik of ESPN’s MMA live tomorrow on KICKING AND STREAMING and hopefully getting even more inside information on this historic event. For now, check out MMAfighting to watch the entire exclusive interview with Dana White and Ariel Helwani detailing the entire purchase of Strikeforce by UFC and Zuffa and how it affects the future of MMA.