UFC co-owners Lorenzo Feritta and Dana White along with Strikeforce’s Scott Coker held a conference call today to answer media questions about the Strikeforce acquisition. The biggest takeaway from the call was that Strikeforce is adopting the Unified rules of mixed martial arts and will allow elbow strikes on the ground, which was previously forbidden in the organization.
“We’ll continue to use the hexagon,” Zuffa owner Lorenzo Fertitta commented about the cage to be used in Strikeforce. “The one change that we’re going to implement as promoters of this show is going to be the unified rules that we use in the UFC.”
Fertitta did answer ‘correct’ when asked point blank if elbows would be allowed on the ground as well.
I’ve never been a big fan of elbows on the ground. It seems like they result in unnecessary cuts more often than not, but I still think this is a positive change. It wasn’t exactly sending a positive message that the second largest promotion wasn’t adhering to the Unified rules. Doesn’t sound so “unified” does it?
A few other notes:
— Lorenzo Fertitta balked at the notion that they are now a monopoly and have too much power over their fighters and business partners.
“Painting this picture that there aren’t options is entirely untrue,” stated Fertitta.
“We wouldn’t have done the transaction if we felt that we were (unfairly controlling the market). There’s literally thousands of promotions and thousands of options for the fighters, it just so happens that with the groundwork that we’ve put in place over the last 10, 11 years, we happen to be the most successful.
“There’s plenty of competition and there’s really no barrier to entry. Anybody that wants to get in this business, they can go file for a promoter’s license, put up some capitol, go sign some fighters, and go get a television contract. It’s a wide open market for anyone who wants to get involved.”
Dana White so eloquently added that all you need to compete is “big money and big balls.” Dana claims they’re not against the fighters forming an union, but they don’t think it will happen.
“I think (forming a union) is up to the fighters, if the fighters got together and wanted to do a fighters’ union,” he told MMAWeekly.com.
“The problem with that in the fight business, this really isn’t a team sport. I don’t think you’re gonna see some of the guys that are making the big, big money wanting to kick some of their money down to some of these guys that might never make it or might never be.”
— Ferttita and White also reiterated that Showtime will control the production of all Strikeforce shows and their broadcast teams will remain intact. Lorenzo added they will give their input, but whether or not they take it is up to them.
Conference call audio via Steve Cofield
Update: USA Today has a transcription of the conference call if you’d rather read than listen. One thing I missed earlier is Lorenzo Fertitta clarified that Scott Coker did not gain an equity share in Zuffa. Dana also hinted at putting the finals of the heavyweight grand prix on pay-per-view. If that happens, I imagine we’d a similar push to the one the “UFC pay-per-view team” made with the WEC’s one and only pay-per-view.