Showtime’s Ken Hershman is no stranger to the UFC’s counter-measures against their competition. He was around last year when EliteXC was on Showtime and CBS, and knows far too well what the UFC is capable of. In this interview with Steve Cofield, he weighs in on Dana White’s sudden change in tune about Strikeforce and the counter-programming they face this Saturday night. He’s confident they’ll thrive though with their dance partner.
“If we were that irrelevant [Dana] wouldn’t be making those comments. It’s unfortunate but that’s his personality and that’s his style. To us it’s a ringing endorsemnent of what we’ve done and what we’ve accomplished. Remember they have a 100 event head start on Strikeforce. What Scott’s done in a very short time shows the power of Showtime as a vehicle.”
“We’re used to [the counter-programming]. It shows that we’re making headway,” Hershman said of going head-to-head with a UFC 100 replay on SPIKE. “Counter program all you want, there are plenty of opportunities to watch this show live and on delays after the fact, and it’s all part of the [Showtime] subscription price.”
That’s nice and all, but the problem is we’ve heard those comments before from all the other promoters that have failed. Just because you’re on their radar doesn’t mean you’ve actually made any kind of significant dent in the UFC’s market share. Nevertheless, all those other promotions would have went out of business on their own without any help from Zuffa. Their business models were flawed and their failures were pretty much inevitable. Strikeforce has a much more solid foundation, and because of that, no, I don’t think we’ll Strikeforce go out of business like I see people commenting everywhere. I’m skeptical that they’ll be able to play on the UFC’s level for very long, especially when Zuffa starts scooping up all their talent in free agency, but I think it’s way too premature to suggest the UFC will put them completely out of business.