The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Monday released an official statement confirming that Forza, LLC, a subsidiary of its parent company, Zuffa, LLC, purchased Strikeforce over the weekend.
The UFC was already the largest mixed martial arts promotion and pay-per-view provider in the world. The addition of Strikeforce to the fold – even if it does continue operations as a separate promotion like UFC officials insist – only strengthens the juggernaut’s stranglehold on the industry.
While many promoters may see the merger as a death knell, others see it as an opportunity to bolster their position in the industry.
Liam Fisher, Head of Business Development for BAMMA, is one such person, saying that his company will benefit from the acquisition.
“‘Whether I look at this as an MMA fan or a representative of BAMMA, it’s definitely a game changer, but a positive thing for us. There’s going to be some fighters that want to work with the UFC again and this is their way to do that, but there’s also going to be some fighters that can’t or won’t work with them and this is where we come in,” he commented.
“BAMMA is not only a breeding ground for new talent, but we’re also a place for more established fighters to compete at a high level in big arenas on live globally broadcasted shows.”
One fighter in particular that will be happy to have BAMMA in play is Brit Paul Daley. He has been on UFC president Dana White’s hit list since he sucker punched Josh Koscheck after their fight at UFC 113. White immediately fired Daley for the infraction and has steadfastly said he will never fight in the UFC again.
Daley, currently under contract with Strikeforce and BAMMA, may find his options limited once he fulfills his current Strikeforce deal.
“Strikeforce have contractual obligations to fulfill, so until they’re done, I don’t think anything is really going to change, but for the fighters that can’t or won’t work with the UFC, this does limit their career progression in the short term,” said Fisher.
“I’ve seen Paul Daley’s comments on our Facebook page and whatever Paul chooses to do, he knows he always has a home at BAMMA. Paul has been incredibly supportive of BAMMA from the start and we are proud to have him on our shows.”
Daley has said he is unsure what the future holds for him with Strikeforce now that the UFC is in the picture. He is currently scheduled to challenge Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz on April 9, but if he his no future with the company beyond his current contract, Daley has to determine if he wants to fight for Strikeforce even now.
“I think the implications of the UFC/Strikeforce deal are more focused on North America than anywhere else,” Fisher continued. “Strikeforce recently signed in to a PPV deal in the U.K., but traditionally, we’re not a PPV nation. There’s too much good sport on TV for free, added to the fact that MMA is still an emerging sport in the U.K. BAMMA brings in more viewers than Strikeforce do in the States and we wouldn’t even dream about doing a PPV in the UK.”
Everyone has labeled the move a “game changer,” including Fisher, but the BAMMA exec keeps it all in perspective when it comes to his promotion’s place in the industry.
“None of this scares or worries us and I don’t think it puts an end to the MMA business. Strikeforce wanted the money and they took it, but that doesn’t change the sport one bit, it just means the biggest brand within the sport just got a little bit bigger, and someone got a little bit richer. Just remember, for every Microsoft there needs to be an Apple.”