Strikeforce Backer Wanted to Get Back to Hockey, Zuffa Seized The Opportunity

March 16, 2011

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker

The deal sell Strikeforce to Zuffa seemed to happen almost overnight, after the San Jose, Calif. based promotion had much improved television ratings over its last few shows.

While the actual purchase price of the organization is still unknown, the reason why the sale became necessary is much clearer now.

Speaking to the media on Monday, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker alluded to the idea that financial backer Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment, who owns a stake in the NHL’s San Jose Sharks as well as the HP Pavilion in San Jose, was looking to get out of the MMA business.

“This is a historical day for mixed martial arts,” Coker stated. “This is something that we thought long and hard about. SVSE have been great partners, I think they wanted to get back to their hockey business and expansion of sports business, which is their core business.

“So we had a long conversation and we decided to start looking into different offers and that’s when we started talking to Lorenzo (Fertitta).”

While Strikeforce had different partners in the business, SVSE was the major financial backer for the promotion. Coker made it clear that there were no bad feelings between Strikeforce and SVSE, but ultimately the relationship was coming to a close and he wasn’t ready to get out of MMA business, while they clearly were.

“I think they had a really good time in this business, but like I said, they want to get back to their core business,” said Coker. “I wanted to continue in the mixed martial arts industry, and so that’s where the two linked up a while back.”

Zuffa capitalized on the situation and swooped in to scoop up the second biggest MMA promotion in North America.

Now Zuffa owns the two largest properties in the MMA world with the UFC and Strikeforce. Both UFC president Dana White and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta have stated that Strikeforce will remain a separate entity and operate independently, but how long that lasts remains to be seen.

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Damon Martin is the lead staff writer and radio host for
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