Dana White Talks About the End of Strikeforce – “I’m So Glad It’s Over”

December 28, 2012
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The long, slow, painful death of Strikeforce will finally come to an end on Jan. 12, and UFC president Dana White is glad the whole ordeal is coming to a close.

When Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC, first purchased Strikeforce, there were high hopes to keep the promotion running as a sister organization with fight cards airing on Showtime with a completely separate roster of fighters.

Unfortunately, a rough relationship with Showtime never got smoother, and Dana White’s hopes to influence and build the promotion did not come to fruition. Now the former San Jose, Calif.-based promotion will soon land in the organizational graveyard alongside Pride Fighting Championships and many others that couldn’t survive when push came to shove.

“I’m so glad it’s over,” White said on Thursday about the demise of Strikeforce.

For months, White has dodged as best he could any questions relating to Strikeforce, saying repeatedly, “I don’t run that promotion,” but everyone knew there was an underlying cynicism to the UFC boss’s demeanor whenever the subject came up.

White still isn’t beating a dead horse when it comes to Strikeforce, but he can now say he did feel bad for the fighters stuck in limbo for so long, and overall, he’s just happy to say goodbye to the whole ordeal.

“What has happened to the fighters in Strikeforce is horrible. The way that this thing went down and what’s happened to these guys, and these guys have been very patient, and I feel sorry for them and I’m just happy they’re coming into the UFC now. What’s happened over there has been completely (expletive),” said White.

The UFC president insists that, despite pushback from those that believe the company always intended to shutter the doors on Strikeforce, he got involved with the best of intentions. The deal just never came together the way he had hoped, and now they just had to pull the plug.

“I see a lot of (expletive) on the internet, people saying this is exactly what we knew was going to happen, they bought it to bury it, and all this stuff. Any of you guys that were around me during that time, that was absolutely not the plan,” said White. “I was pumped up about it and looking forward to getting into it, but no (it never happened). I’m just happy it’s over.”

White revealed that Showtime does retain rights to the Strikeforce library of fights for “a couple of years,” and he’s still not sure what will happen to former owner Scott Coker or if he will still have a job within Zuffa when the promotion finally closes shop in January.

This isn’t the first time Zuffa has purchased a promotion with the intent of running it alongside the UFC, but White says the only time it worked was when they had the WEC. That promotion ran just fine, but even then, in the long run, it was still absorbed and became part of the UFC machine.

“None of the companies we’ve bought have been perfect except for the WEC. WEC was a great move, a great transition, everything worked out great with that. But all the other ones, they were what they were,” said White.

White doesn’t close the door on possibly purchasing another promotion down the road, and is quoted with the infamous “never say never” in regards to the prospect of doing it again, but with the way Strikeforce came in like a lion and went out like a lamb, it’s not likely Zuffa will be jumping at the chance to do that again any time soon.

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  • George Sperry

    Let’s see…. Zuffa has closed every other promotion it purchased but was going to keep Strikeforce open. Uh huh.

    I came to MMA through the WEC and I loved it and wish Zuffa had kept their hands off it. The shows were just pure action and a much better showcase for the lighter weight fighters as they filled the card rather than had one or two fights, often prelims, on a UFC card.

    The one positive from SF closing is now Gilbert Melendez will have to stop fighting cans and he will have to prove himself. I predict he will go down in flames.

    • Yannick Messaoud

      Melendez did not fight cans please, its sad that white is such an idiot, Pride was the best MMA ever for me, Strikeforce gave them competition and they had a good run.

    • gingersensation

      Lets look at the MMA promotions Zuffa has purchased.

      Pride lost their national broadcast TV deal because of the links to the Japanese mafia. Pride fixed fights and encouraged their fighters to take PEDs. Pride was dead before Zuffa touched it. The deal left Zuffa with a TV library, some fighter contracts but noteably, at the time, no Fedor. Hardly a great move by Zuffa but to say it killed Pride is wrong.

      World Fighting Alliance were a joke, and again, dead before Zuffa touched it.

      Strikeforce were on the verge of going broke and would not have lasted any longer unless Zuffa purchased it.

      The WEC really improved after the Zuffa purchase. Zuffa put on 27 shows over 3 years. UFC needed the smaller weight classes to expand, the fighters in the lower weight catagories wanted to fight in the UFC. I miss the WEC but I’m glad to see the lighter fighters in the UFC get the recogintion they deserve. WEC’s time had come and gone. It was not ruined by Zuffa, it was developed and run its course.

      MMA is filled with promotions have folded through their own mistakes and not because Zuffa have bought them out. When Elite XC folded it took many a decent international promotion out with them.

      As for Gil, great to see him finally in the UFC. Although, I think he’ll do ok.

      • JimmyPettishardo

        SF was NOT on the verge of going broke.

        WEC and WFA were a joke to begin with.. I agree.

        Pride was in serious trouble before Zuffa bought it out.

        What is the difference between Dana running two shows, one on the weekends and the other on the weekdays, and just consolidating them into one show?

  • Darin

    Sorry Dana, we’re not that stupid. Zuffa has consistently bought their competition to bury them. Rather than defeat competing organizations by putting on better shows and paying your fighters better, you just buy their employer.
    You also had a relationship with Spike that went south, but it didn’t mean the end of the UFC did it?

  • It’s funny how fans of such a great promotion like the UFC always bad mouth them on the business end and talk trash about Dana White who helped get the sport where it is today by promoting them as world class athletes and intelligent guys instead of guys who just want to fight. And did he happen to forget about fights insurance? lol … Strikeforce was for sale, Zuffa didn’t just buy it out. Either way they put money into it and kept running a dying promotion that was never run properly to begin with. Showtime ruined Strikeforce if anything. And now all these fighters are going over to the UFC. That means big fights coming up and even more fights. What are you people complaining about? There’s still plenty of other promotions out there with great fighters, it’s just half the fans out there are fake and have little to no knowledge about the sport.

    • Ron Couden

      Good Comment, and I couldn’t agree more. All these people complaining about Dana White & ZUFFA’s tactics are insane. They wouldn’t be on this site if they didn’t love the product the UFC is offering. It’s a business, and the goal is to make money. Organizations like Pride, Affliction, EliteXC & Strikeforce were not making money. UFC has developed a good business model, and it has the fans wanting more. The same could be said about the GSP vs. Diaz fight. The uneducated fight fan does not realize that $$$ is the reason that fight is happening. The money making fights will always have priority over most deserving fights. I’m pretty sure all these clowns bashing Dana White, would lick his taint if they met him in person.

      • Exactly. Zuffa lost a lot of money when they first purchased the UFC. And they kept at it. It’s really a story of good business tactics and hard work. Besides fans complain when a guy hasn’t fought in the UFC and they think of them as can crushers but then when UFC brings a guy over b/c they can pay more then their the bad guy trying to steal the next big fighters lol. It’s true what they say, you really can’t please everybody. BTW add me on twitter and facebook , I enjoy talking to fans like yourself.

  • MrMMA

    I love it when fair weather fans chime in to say how ‘The Man’ is trying to keep everyone down and how Zuffa has been out to destroy their competition. If any of you actually paid any attention when these deals when they went down, you would understand that Zuffa didn’t approach the other orgs to buy them out. They went to Zuffa begging them to buy them out and save them from bankruptcy. Case in point, Scott Coker stated many times that he called Dana and Lorenzo about a potential buyout after his largest financier walked out on him. He said it was either Zuffa bought them out or they were going under. Don’t forget about Affliction either. Josh Barnett tests positive a week or so before the fight and the show gets cancelled. Tom Atencio said he called Dana and asked him to buy his MMA contracts and basically save Affliction (then a mortal enemy of Dana’s). Affliction walked away from promoting MMA as they failed miserably at it and went back to the clothing lines that made them successful to begin with. To say that Zuffa has set out to destroy competitors in an effort to keep fighter salaries low is absolutely absurd. That theory makes no sense whatsoever. They pay more money in salaries and bonus’ than any other MMA promotor. Their low-level fighters get paid better than most boxers outside of the obvious few top-tier boxers like Floyd, Manny, etc. If you want to bash Zuffa, please cite facts so your rants don’t sound as idiotic as they do.

    • Darin

      So, you’re saying that Zuffa is just a compasionate bunch of guys that don’t want to see competitors go bankrupt? So they step in to “save” these companies?

      Gee whiz, these guys must SUCK at running anything but UFC seeing how WEC, Pride, and Strikeforce ALL failed very quickly after being “helped” by these good samaritans.
      The FACT is: Dana and the Fertitas want the UFC to be the NFL of fighting. They hate competition. They tolerate guys like Bellator because they serve as the minor league for fighters. But God help them if they get an actual star and begin getting compared to the UFC.

      I’ve been a fan since Ken Shamrock wasn’t just a sad joke, so take your condescending “fair weather fan” crap and cram it.

      • MrMMA

        Clearly you aren’t as big a fan as you claim. Seeing as though you clearly don’t recall how long WEC operated successfully under the Zuffa banner. Or the fact that Pride died not because Zuffa destroyed them but in fact because the former owners screwed it up so bad they lost their tv contract and Zuffa wasn’t able to secure another contract to save the company. Gee, a simple Google search would’ve told you that. Dana does in fact want the UFC to be compared to the NFL. There’s nothing wrong with that. He dreams big and actually goes out to accomplish his goals. But to say he’s trying to destroy competition is a major reach. The only one he actually did that with was Affliction and that was a self-inflicted attack on their part. Tom Atencio intentionally scheduled a PPV the night of a UFC PPV. What do you think is going to happen at that point when a former ally goes out and intentionally tries to steal your market share? You’re right. Dana’s the @ss in that situation. Riiiiiiiight.

        • gingersensation

          Great comment and reply. Not forgetting that Zuffa introduced medical insurance inside and outside of the cage for all UFC and Strikeforce fighters.

  • Darnell

    Why no comment s on the brown pride story ?

  • DamianCross

    How can you not have a spot for Scott Coker? I’d pay more to watch Scott Coker talk than to watch Jake Shields fight.