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.