“I think our brand name is very strong. I think it’s stronger than it’s ever been and I think the Showtime relationship has been good for everybody and good for mixed martial arts and has given a lot of fighters some great opportunities. If we can continue to grow and continue to build this business the way that we have been … if we’re profitable and the company is doing very well, then I don’t see why it would not continue… I’m going to run Strikeforce and I’m going to keep building this thing as much as I can. We’re going to work as hard as we can. … I think it will be ready for pay-per-view by the end of the year.”
—Scott Coker on Sherdog Radio talking about the future of Strikeforce
I feel for Scott Coker, I really do. He was basically forced to sell the company he built from the ground up because his partners wanted out of the high-risk mixed martial arts promotion business. If someone forced me to sell this website, it would be devastatingly heartbreaking. I can only imagine Coker felt the same emotions when it all went down.
Now all Coker can hope for is Zuffa makes a conscious effort to build the Strikeforce brand like they did with the WEC, but most people, including myself, don’t see it happening. In most cases, you wouldn’t shut down a profitable company, but this isn’t most cases. If Zuffa wants the UFC to be the NFL of mixed martial arts (and they do), that means there can only be the UFC and no one else. There isn’t room for another brand even if Zuffa owns it. Unfortunately for Scott Coker, I think the writing is on the wall.
Meanwhile, M-1 Global doesn’t seem to be phased by the major shift in the landscape. As far they’re concerned, they have a deal with Showtime and it’s “business as usual.” M-1’s Evgeni Kogan explaining to MMA Weekly:
It’s incredible how fast the landscape can change in this sport. New opportunities are presented faster than one can keep up with. As for whether the purchase is good or bad for the sport, we’ll see the impacts over the next one to two years. For M-1 Global, it doesn’t really affect our plans.
The purchase has no affect on our relationship with Strikeforce or Showtime. We’ve enjoyed working together with Strikeforce in the past and look forward to working together with Strikeforce in the future.
Our position and day-to-day operations haven’t changed at all. Our promotion’s fighters are signed under the M-1 brand and we have a full slate of events we are currently executing.
Fedor (Emelianenko’s) contract is with Showtime Networks Inc. and as noted, he is happy fighting on Showtime/CBS. We hope that this continues to be a productive relationship which lasts for a long time. It’s business as usual for M-1 Global.
“Business as usual,” perhaps, but it seems there’s a little contention over who Fedor is actually signed with. M-1 claims it’s Showtime, however Scott Coker says Fedor has a contract with Strikeforce.
“At the end of the day, we have a contract with Fedor,” Coker said. “He’s going to fight for us. The fight’s coming up in July. I think that was an emotional reaction, but it is what it is. Things sometimes come out from their side, and it doesn’t surprise me anymore.”
It’s no wonder it took so long for them to agree to an extension if they can’t even agree who Fedor is fighting for after the fact. What that means in the long-run? I have no idea, but knowing this bunch, it’s probably an issue we’ll talking about down the road.