The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Madness In the Method

I confess: I have no clue why Strikeforce is running tonight. I’m not complaining, mind you; free-ish MMA is free-ish MMA. I just don’t get their reasoning. They’re running a B/C-level show with a questionable main event in the middle of the week away from the usual MMA day with little promotion, in the middle of the World Cup, in a city whose sporting interests are almost wholly fixated on the NBA playoffs. I haven’t read anything about ticket sales, but this has the chance to be a real bomb. The main event makes it all the worse: Strikeforce titles are already in the IBU/NABF/Western States Heritage Title zone of importance, but there’s no quicker way to make two different divisions look even goofier than to offer a title shot to the winner of a fight which isn’t being held in either of them. Oh wait, yes there is- it’s to make one of the competitors in that fight a guy who was last seen in your promotion 10 months ago getting knocked out in a minute flat. Let’s say Babalu wins, and he should be favored- is anyone all that excited about watching King Mo defend his title against a guy who got the shot based 50% on beating a middleweight, 50% on who he used to be? If Lawler wins, he probably KO’s a guy who got KO’d brutally and quickly in his last fight; does that do much for him?

I don’t understand what Strikeforce is doing, honestly. There’s been rumors of chaos behind the scenes- the Fedor situation, talk that Showtime have essentially hijacked the promotion and sidelined Scott Coker- and it seems to manifest itself in some very quizzical decisions at times. It’s not like stuff like this is any serious danger to the health of the promotion as such, but it’s not a great sign about how well the people in charge (whoever they are these days) really understand what they’re doing. There’s no sense of foundations being laid for the future, stars being brought along, matches built up to; fights just sort of happen even if they don’t make any sense or lead to anything largely because those were just the guys who were ready to go on a certain date and had any kind of name value in very shallow divisions. Title fights and title chases are treated as afterthoughts or jokes, which is bizarre considering that one of UFC’s greatest promotional achievements in recent years has been to convince fans that their titles mean enough to draw money with even if the belt is being contested between two fighters who are negligible draws on their own. Ultimately, Strikeforce is currently being run on something like a hybrid between the boxing network buy-a-fight model (chiefly with Fedor) and the fly-by-night-MMA-promotion model of just throwing together cards with names on them, exemplified by Elite XC and Affliction. That produces some fun fights and some fun cards at times, but I am completely unconvinced that it’s a model which can lead to either consistent growth or long-term profitability- and until Strikeforce can produce it’s own stars consistently it’s going to be reliant on UFC outcasts like tonight’s main eventers, which is a surefire way to keep a promotion looking minor league.

Hopefully it’ll be a fun show. I have hopes for Prangley vs. Kennedy (Kennedy).

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June 16, 2010 - Posted by | MMA

4 Comments »

  1. Honestly, I thought the MMA today was the UFC Ultimate Fighter Finale. But like you say: Freeish MMA is still good.

    Comment by Tony M. | June 16, 2010 | Reply

  2. So really quickly: I read your post at work but couldn’t respond till I got home.

    From what I’ve read Strikeforce was counting on Bobby Lashley to headline. He got injured.

    Strikeforce was also put in the position of tought matchmaking after the last melee at the end of their last card. They didn’t want to schedule anyone if they would be barred from fighting by the Tennessee commission or wherever it was that they fought.

    They chose the main event (which is a ridiculous main event in my opinion) with the thinking being that if Sobral wins, he fights King Mo. If Lawler wins, he has the choice of fighting at Light Heavy or moving back to Middleweight and either fighting Shields again or taking the soon to be vacant title. That’s why it was at a catchweight.

    I have not seen the card or results and it’s about 12:25 btw.

    I also would like to find out if they put the card on tonight because the UFC put their card on Saturday so they didn’t have to compete or vice-versa.

    That being said, I would be SO pissed if I paid to go see a card live and THERE WERE ONLY 6 EVENTS! WTF!!!
    Should be fun though!

    Comment by Ken | June 16, 2010 | Reply

  3. The explanation I finally found was that they apparently wanted to do this card in conjunction with E3 or whatever that big tech expo is called. Why exactly that was a promotional priority I’m not sure unless they’re getting a cut of the EA MMA game’s revenues and are trying to drum up business. Unless that was some sort of overriding priority, why not fold this show into next week’s Fedor vs. Werdum show I wonder? Combined, they’d have been a hell of a card.

    Incidentally, the card turned out LARGE and was a great show, so hey- like I said, I’m not complaining so much as I am confused.

    Comment by theshipbesinking | June 16, 2010 | Reply

  4. Def agree. It confused me too. Seemed like a patchwork event.

    Comment by Ken | June 17, 2010 | Reply


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