The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
Strikeforce has gone the way of MMA promotions, such as PRIDE Fighting
Championships, Affliction, Elite XC and the WEC, in that it has ceased
operations. Simply put, it could not live in the shadow of the Ultimate
Strikeforce proved to be the little engine that could, making new heights in the
sport of mixed martial arts, but a glass ceiling existed in the pinnacle of MMA
that was the UFC. Strikeforce made some contributions to the sport of MMA that
cannot be denied and must be addressed.
Founded by Scott Coker in 1985, Strikeforce started as a kickboxing promotion in
California before turning to MMA in 2006. Its early events featured legends of
the sport like Frank Shamrock, Tank Abbott, and Caesar Gracie. The promotion
was not a threat to the UFC's dominance because they stayed regionally in
UFC president Dana White even praised Strikeforce during
these days saying he liked the small promotion.
After proving to be very successful in California, Strikeforce started to expand
its horizons as the sport of MMA started to explode itself. It held a national
pay per view in 2007 and started venturing out of the state with its events in
2008. It started to draw the eye of the UFC in a different way than before.
In 2008, Strikeforce made a deal with Showtime to air its fights. The promotion
succeeded where the UFC had failed. For years, the UFC was unable to procure a
deal with HBO, Showtime, and other premium television channels to air their
Top-rated international fighters and even some former UFC fighters started to
flock to Strikeforce. The little promotion that Dana White once praised was now
a rival and he even went on to coin them as "Strikefarce."
With a national and international spotlight on them, Strikeforce started to flex
its muscle even more. Showtime parent company Viacom decided to air Strikeforce
on CBS broadcast television in 2009. Broadcast live from Chicago's Sears
Center, Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers was viewed by millions around the US.
This was MMA on free TV done right, unlike the Elite XC Kimbo Slice facade that
aired a year prior. The Strikeforce event on CBS featured valid MMA fighters
including then world No. 1 heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko.
Strikeforce also opened the doors for many. It gave former collegiate and WWE
entertainment wrestler Bobby Lashley a shot in MMA. Most notably for Texans, it
gave former NFL great Herschel Walker two bouts in its cage. The Taekwondo
black belt pulled out two wins in two fights before calling it quits.
Strikeforce's biggest contribution, however, is one that people take for granted
today. It had a women's MMA division that other promotions such as the UFC
shunned upon. Strikeforce changed this by showcasing the world's best women
fighters and demonstrated the art of MMA applied to all.
Stars such as Gina Carano, Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos, and Ronda Rousey blazed a trail for women in the sport by showcasing their talents.
The UFC's parent company Zuffa surprisingly bought Strikeforce in 2011 from the
group who owned it. The UFC and Strikeforce were to operate in parallel until
recently Zuffa said Strikeforce would fold with their last bout on January 12,
The UFC will absorb many of Strikeforce's top fighters and champions so fans
will benefit by being able to see these fights. Another fantastic thing about
Strikeforce's absorption into the UFC is that the UFC will now have a women's
People will start to see women mixed martial artists in the
Octagon starting this February.
David Estrada Jr. is a Mixed Martial Arts columnist for the Port Arthur News. He can be e-mailed at DavidEstrada@DavidEstrada.com