The Barstool: What to Do with Strikeforce?

Sorry People, no Roundtable.

What we are bringing you is another BarStool, witch is more of a transcript of a back and forth between 2 or more writers.

This one is between David and Collin.

Topic: So what to do with Strikeforce?

The UFC cannot simply absorb the fighters to an already bloated roster. Showtime wants MMA on the network, and if Zuffa leaves, then Sho will get another promotion. True, MFC or Palace might not scare Zuffa now, but with Bellator moving to Spike, and Showtime dropping cash, It may come to Zuffa not have at the worst, 8 or the top 10 guys on the planet at each weight class.

So let’s discuss. What do you do with Strikeforce as a Zuffa Property?

David: I keep it. I think I turn it into a proving ground and a place where I can keep guys that are simply not good enough to co-main a PPV but not bad enough I want to see them on Bellator.

I go to Showtime, and tell them I want 8 cards a year- I’m going to put 155, 170,185 and 205ers there, as well as 2 womens divisions. I want each fight on TV, half on ShoExtreme and half on the network. We can discuss the fighters next. If you are Showtime,

Collin: As a Showtime exec, I want total control.  I want ShoTime to shoot the promos, decide which fighters we push, and decide which ones we don’t.
I’m not very excited that you have raped and pillaged our HW division, as we now need opponents for Barnett and Cormier in the early fall and really have no one left to fight them.
We think that Sho is the best place for you exciting prospects like Lorenz Larkin and Tyron Woodley, guys that we built from the ground up on our “Challengers” series.
We for sure are going to continue our womens divisions since we have two solid, marketable champions with decent depth in the divisions and a superfight between the two constantly lingering in the distance.

Who knew this was the High-Water mark?

Leave us have Rousey, Marquardy, Miesha, Rockhold and a few other talented and marketable fighters and just let us do our thing.

David: I’m giving you total control on everything outside the cage. You want Mauro, Pat and Frank? Fine. You want the promos? Fine. Everything outside the cage I am more than willing to give you.

Everything but the Fighters.

I want total control over my fighters. I want to control who is in that cage and when. I’ll gladly take input, but the final choice is mine.

In exchange, I’m going to give you better fighters, I took the heavyweights, and some of your upper-level fighters, and I’m going to send some back. I’m going to put 2 types of fighters in Strikeforce. Guys who are considered the next big thing, but if they roll off 4 wins in the UFC, they are going to be looking at VERY deep waters. Win 4 fights in the UFC at 185, and you could be facing Weidman in a title eliminator, if not a title shot vs one of the greatest of all time. Win 4 fights in Strikeforce, and you could be facing Woodley, at worst Nate the Great. For a prospect with a 5-0 record, I’d rather see him go for win #9 vs Nate than try and build a PPV around him.

Type 2 is the guy that is popular, but is on the downside of his career, but quite simply I’m not going to pay big bucks to and keep around 6th or 7th from the top. I spent MAJOR time building Jardine to the best he can be. I don’t want Jardine in Bellator. I don’t want Chris Leben in Bellator, I want to see guys like Rich Franklin, Aoki and Dan Hardy making me money on the 500s on DirectTv, not going against me on channel 241.
I’m not signing ANY fighter with less than 10 fights. If some prospect is out there with a sparkling 7-0 record and just KOed Brock Larsen at Titan? He’s going to be on Showtime, not Fuel.

Collin: If certain sources are to be believed, I have control over some of the fighters myself.  Rockhold, Melendez, Rousey and others are MINE, not Dana and Lorenzo’s.  So if you want fighters, you are just going to have to deal with the fact that the best Strikeforce fighters aren’t Zuffa’s, they’re ShoTime’s.

I like the idea of getting young prospects in return for our top level HW’s you took.  Strikeforce is for sure the better place for guys like that where we rely on more casual sports fans and Sho fans to watch for exciting fights, unlike your PPV model where big names lead to big buy numbers.  You send me the 5-0 prospects, and a few years later I’ll send you an experienced guy at 10-1 who is ready for the big time.

At the same time, we are going to need some of your Leben’s and Jardine’s to give a little name opponent credibility to our homegrown guys.  Without veterans that people know, Strikeforce fighters exist in a vaccum of sorts with no measuring stick to judge their level of competition against.  In other words, without a Robbie Lawler no one knows what to think of Lorenz Larkin inside the MW division: Is he really good or just thrashing cans in Strikeforce?

Remember these fights?

David: Let me be clear.

I don’t WANT Robbie Lawler or Keith Jardine in the UFC. I want them in Strikeforce.

I want the Strikeforce guys and the guys on FX to be almost equal in talent. I want the best of the best on my PPVs.

You can keep the Ladies. Dana is steadfast in not wanting them, I don’t have the cardspace on PPV and to be honest, I don’t want to go find 15 women to build a division when Coker is more than willing to do so. Let the UFC scouts spend their time making sure the next Micheal Chandler isn’t on Spike.
But as far as Gilbert and Luke are concerned, and I’m going to the fighters with this.

You defend the title 3 times, and you (the fighter) have the option of leaving Showtime for the UFC. Gilbert defends 3 times vs the best SF has to offer, he deserves the chance to challenge for the top spot in the world.
For Strikeforce, they lose Gilbert, probably in short order.

But here is what you gain.

Say we go out and find the Next Big Thing at 155. He’s 5-0 with 5 first round stoppages, he just tapped Rich Clementi and knocked out Joe Daddy. BJ Penn says he can’t hang with him in the gym.

I don’t want him in the UFC, yet. Bellator is going after him HARD.

Here is my pitch to him, and all the youngsters I throw in SF.

You come to the UFC, you might be on PPV, might be on Fox, Fuel or FX, you might be on Facebook. You will also be facing the best in the world everytime you go out there. You will be in deep water ASAP.
Goto Bellator, and at worst you face 2 or 3 guys that are just like you, win 100K for the title and get locked in a contract. Ask Lombard and Eddie how much fun it is to get out of that contract.
I want you in Strikeforce. Here are the advantages:
1: Everyfight is on TV. Every TV in the US gets Showtime or can get it on ShoPPV. You can’t get Spike on DirectTV AS WE SPEAK. You fight for Showtime, your sponsor can see you.
2: You will be facing guys just like you or have been where you are. You goto the UFC win 3 fights and you are looking at Cowboy or Melvin or Clay Guida. That’s DEEP water for a young fighter, with 8-9 fights. Goto Bellator and you got who? Ben Saunders? Take that SF deal and you are looking at Sam Stout or Sean Sherk. Not world beaters, but guys that can test you.

3: Worried about that SF deal? Win the title- and then SF has 3 fights to throw you the best they have, you get that HEADLINE status for a year or so. Your Final fight there is going to be HUGE.

Now here’s the thing,

You take that guy, you give him a fight on ShoX, then 2 on Showtime, then a title fight. Then 3 defenses.

Oh, you just lost this MONSTER to the UFC right? You lost that headliner?
You had him for SEVEN FIGHTS. FOUR (at least) Headliner fights.

That’s around 2 YEARS- and the fighter gains valuable sponsors, headlining experience. Plus I’d rather see him face Anthony Pettis at 12-0 than 8-0. Plus is he loses, you might have him for another 2-3 fights.

If you force Gilbert to burn his prime. You will never sign another top prospect and we both lose them to Bellator. That kills us both.

You’ve had Gilbert. I’ll give you one more fight with him to show him some love. Then he’s mine.
Or get used to getting Keith Jardine vs M-1 rejects.

Collin: I really don’t have a lot to add here.  Strikeforce is in no position to really make demands of the UFC and the short term contracts that they have with the three big names I’ve mentioned is really their only talking point.  Unless I can think of some new angle, I don’t see much else to add to this.




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