“We want to make sure that people understand our place in this sport. We’re putting a lot of money and commitment into this sport. We’re in it for the long run. We’re not going anywhere, despite what anyone may suggest. All the kicking and screaming makes us hold true to that more firmly… I would say there isn’t a network that I’m aware of that doesn’t ensure the quality of what they put on the network meets whatever criteria they’ve established. There isn’t one fight that gets on the air that I’m not satisfied meets the expectations that out subscribers hold us to. It would be irresponsible for me not to do otherwise. But to suggest that I’m running Strikeforce or controlling the matchups is ludicrous.”
— Showtime executive Ken Hershman, via SI.com, responding to numerous allegations from Dana White, fighters, their management and the media that Showtime runs Strikeforce
Ken Hershman doesn’t speak to the MMA media too often, but when he does, it’s usually to address an attack made against him or Showtime by Dana White. The notion that Showtime runs Strikeforce, first thrown out there by Dana, has picked up steam as of late, and it’s clear that has struck a nerve in Showtime’s corporate office. In fact, Sherdog’s Jordan Breen received an angry phone call from an unnamed Showtime exec after he/she read a transcription from his radio show where Breen stated, “Ken Hershman is the problem with Strikeforce. Showtime is the problem.” Whether everyone’s allegations are true or not, I don’t know, but after reading Josh Gross’ piece referenced above, perhaps the reason Strikeforce seems so disjointed lies somewhere else.
Whether they like it or not, the moment Strikeforce reached a deal with Showtime, CBS, and Fedor Emelianenko, they opened themselves up to being judged by the standards the UFC had set within the industry. We all get frustrated by how Strikeforce runs like an old clunker while the UFC runs like a well-oiled machine. The difference? The UFC has over a 100 employees. Strikeforce has 10. I repeat, Strikeforce only has 10, and they didn’t even have that until recently. In other words, the UFC has the experience and the personnel to run a tight ship, whereas Scott Coker and his small team are still figuring it out.
Like I said, I’m not privy to the inner workings of the Strikeforce-Showtime relationship to say what’s going on there, but it certainly seems Strikeforce would run a lot smoother if they had a larger staff with the right people in key positions. Of course, as the owner of this site, I know all too well that just because you need more help doesn’t mean you have the resources to devote to it. As with any growing business, you have to make the best of what you have until you do.
Image via Showtime