by Tom Hamlin – MMAWeekly.com
Twenty-four hours is a long time in the world of MMA.
One day after reports surfaced of an impending deal with ProElite, Inc., Strikeforce has confirmed their purchase of select assets of the troubled Los Angeles-based company.
The assets purchased include the library of events under ProElite’s mixed martial arts promotion, EliteXC, and the contracts of up to a third of the ProElite athletes.
Until now, the bulk of fighters under contract to ProElite were unable to fight for other promotions as the company teetered on the brink of extinction. Only days before the deal closed, several fighter managers were banding together to dispute their contracts in court.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker stressed that the new deal will put fighters back to work.
“This is a tremendous development that will bolster the Strikeforce roster and allow us to produce even more competitive matchups between top fighters,” said Coker. “Some of these athletes have been on the sidelines for a while now and are eagerly waiting to return to competition. We look forward to providing them with the opportunity to do so in the next few months.”
Reports have indicated that Elite stars Gina Carano, Kimbo Slice, Jake Shields, Robbie Lawler, and Nick Diaz are included in the package. Yet Shields informed MMAWeekly.com via text message that he was “not sure yet” about his participation in the new deal, and Lawler’s manager, Monte Cox, said his fighter was still negotiating with Strikeforce.
“We will negotiate with them and see,” said Cox.
(UPDATED) Showtime and Strikeforce later on Thursday announced an agreement to televise up to 16 live Strikeforce events on the premium cable network per year. According to sources with knowledge of the deal, Strikeforce also has an agreement with CBS giving the network the option to produce up to four live event specials, presumably in EliteXC’s former timeslot of 9 p.m. ET.
The San Jose promotion’s next event, scheduled for April 11, will be broadcast on Showtime. Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Frank Shamrock will headline the event, with a middleweight bout between Benji Radach and Scott Smith set for its main card. Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson is also confirmed for participation. Thomson and Shamrock’s opponents have not yet been determined.
Details on the new television agreement between Strikeforce, Showtime, and CBS were not revealed by a press release issued by Strikeforce on Thursday.