New Life in Strikeforce-Showtime Partnership? Dana White Takes Over

October 27, 2011

Strikeforce MMA LogoThe words Showtime and Strikeforce, when used in tandem over the past few months, have become synonymous with the phrase “dead in the water.”

After Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC, acquired the struggling mixed martial arts brand, numerous Strikeforce fighters, including several of its champions, defected for the greener pastures of its new promotional sibling. The mass changes left most expecting that Strikeforce was headed down the same road as the WEC, which was merged into the UFC brand.

Now, all of a sudden, a few changing elements have altered the equation.

UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, after his company acquired Strikeforce, had been the point man for negotiations between the promotion and its TV partner, Showtime. This was due primarily to the friction between UFC president Dana White and Showtime executive Ken Hershman.

Hershman recently left Showtime, however, and now White has entered the negotiations, possibly breathing new life into the hopes that Strikeforce might survive.

“I was in New York yesterday and met with Showtime. I’m it now. I took over,” White declared at the UFC 137 pre-fight press conference in Las Vegas on Thursday.

Whether or not that means that a new deal for Strikeforce to remain viable on Showtime is eminent wasn’t exactly clear.

“I think it went well,” White said about his meetings with Showtime executives. Adding that he believes they do want to be in the mixed martial arts business.

Asked if Hershman’s exodus from the situation made dealings with Showtime easier, White said, “A lot easier, because he’s and idiot and the other guys aren’t.”

Still, he wouldn’t say that there were any guarantees on how the negotiations would unfold, only putting a positive spin on the situation for the first time since acquiring Strikeforce.

“I had a great meeting with (Showtime). We’ll see how it goes. It went very well. We’ll see how it progresses.”

Follow @KenPishna on Twitter or e-mail Ken Pishna.
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