ESPN’s Josh Gross has been on top of the UFC-Strikeforce story ever since it broke yesterday afternoon. Here’s a few notes from his update on the situation in the video above.
— Hearing the life of the Showtime deal is the key factor. Believes it ends early 2012. Strikeforce must be run as a separate entity to that point.
— Hearing fighter contracts are transferable so some fighters could conceivably move to the UFC right away. Most will remain in Strikeforce for the time being however.
— Scott Coker wasn’t especially interested in selling and fought to retain the rights to Strikeforce. The other co-owner, Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment, who own the San Jose Sharks and HP Pavilion, however, weren’t comfortable with the debt Strikeforce was incurring and saw this as an opportunity to cash out. Obviously, Silicon won that battle.
— Still unclear how the UFC deal was structured, but hearing Strikeforce’s asking price in their negotiations with ProElite was $20 million to cash Silicon Valley out and another $20 million in investment capital for Coker to build the company with.
— Gross says calling the UFC the “NFL of mixed martial arts” is now a legitimate distinction. I’ll agree once the merger happens, but that’s really only a formality at this point.
— Gross also mentioned on Twitter that Strikeforce’s pay-per-view plans piqued the UFC’s interest.
Dana White’s other favorite journalist Loretta Hunt also has a few interesting updates.
Update: Dave Meltzer figured out who was responsible for Strikeforce’s debt. Guess who?
Elsewhere, Wrestling Observer writer Dave Meltzer is reporting that the financial relationship between Strikeforce and M-1 Global proved so burdensome to the former that they were forced to seek outside funding, allowing potential buyers in.
Meltzer is also reporting that Mike Tyson’s manager, Shelly Finkel, was another party interested in acquiring Strikeforce.