If you thought live counter-programming was the only trick the UFC has up their sleeve for Strikeforce on April 17, you might be sorely mistaken. They may be going after Strikeforce’s ticket sales too.
The venue for the proposed UFC event has not been settled upon, though speculation centers on Vanderbilt University’s Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville. Tennessee Athletic Commission Executive Director Jeff Mullen told Sherdog.com the UFC had not yet applied for a permit.
For those that aren’t familiar with Nashville, the Bridgestone Arena and Vanderbilt University are literally only two miles apart. If Tennessee mixed martial arts fans have the choice between attending a UFC event live or a Strikeforce event, you know a lot are going to hit up the UFC show even if their card is weaker, and I wouldn’t put it past the UFC to give away boatloads of tickets if they have to just to screw Strikeforce. All is fair in love and war I suppose, but damn, that would just be downright mean.
By the way, Mike Swick will not fight Matt Serra on the card. He has a pretty serious arm injury that will likely need surgery. The other big rumor out there is that James Toney would make his debut against Kimbo Slice, but all actual reports on Kimbo and Toney suggest otherwise. The rumor is coming from Carmichael Dave who’s close with Dana White though, so you never know.
One other tidbit, and it probably goes without saying, but word is Strikeforce’s future with CBS may be heavily dependent upon the ratings of the Nashville show.
Update: More from Dave Meltzer:
On Thursday, UFC president Dana White confirmed a live show on the same date, “Ultimate Fight Night 22,” on Spike TV. While UFC countered an Affliction pay-per-view show in 2008 with a live event featuring Anderson Silva, if things don’t change this time, it will be the first time the two top promotions run major nationally televised events simultaneously.
No matches are confirmed for the UFC show, however. Thursday, White attempted to make Matt Serra vs. Mike Swick, but that will be impossible since Swick just suffered an arm injury and will likely need surgery. UFC sources indicated Kimbo Slice vs. James Toney was under consideration, but the talks hit snags.
No site has been confirmed for the UFC show, although it is known at least two locations are under consideration in the state of Tennessee, including Nashville’s Vanderbilt University.
So it’s definitely happening, the questions are with who and where?