Dana White hinted a couple weeks back that Strikeforce’s fate would be known soon. At the time, Lorenzo Fertitta was meeting with Showtime execs in New York to figure out whether or not Showtime wanted to extend Strikeforce’s contract. It sounded like it would be settled by now, however Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker revealed today that both sides are still talking and actually want to make a deal.
“There are negotiations going on to extend the deal, and I believe both sides want to make a deal,” Coker told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “Both sides have indicated to me that they’d like to stay in this relationship.”
“I know that negotiations were ongoing and they were going back and forth,” Coker said. “It’s like any negotiation. They’re trying to come to a deal that makes sense for both parties. The devil’s always in the details.”
It’s a little surprising considering Strikeforce’s numbers are down since Zuffa, err Forza LLC, acquired the organization and subsequently cherry picked it’s top stars for the UFC. Coker hinted that a new deal could result in fewer shows on the network, but it’s unclear what the motivation would be to keep it going.
Another interesting twist in this story is Ken Hershman’s departure from Showtime. News broke today that Hershman, the Executive VP of Showtime Sports and the guy Dana White spit fire at back in the day, resigned from Showtime to become the new president of HBO Sports. It’s unclear if and how his departure would affect negotiations. When Ariel Helwani sought comment from the organization today, all they would say is they’re committed as ever to MMA. Of course, that attitude could change if Hershman’s replacement isn’t as enthusiastic about the sport.
So for now, Strikeforce still has a big fat question mark next to it, but it sounds like there might be some life left in it after all.