Zuffa LLC, the parent company of UFC, has a new kid: Strikeforce.
Yes, the largest mixed martial arts promotion in the world just got bigger by announcing Saturday that it acquired Strikeforce, a solid No. 2 MMA organization. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"Strikeforce is brand that fans have come to like," UFC president Dana White told MMAFighting.com. "They do have a following. People enjoy the fights that they're putting on."
Strikeforce will continue to operate "business as usual," White added. Scott Coker will remain as Strikeforce CEO, White said. The fighters under contract with Strikeforce will have those contracts honored. Plus, Showtime is Strikeforce's broadcast partner and that deal will remain intact, White said.
"When I say 'business as usual,' we don't co-promote," White said. "Even when we own them, we don't co-promote."
Great quote from White, when you know the history. UFC negotiated with Fedor several years ago, but refused to agree to co-promote with his group, M-1 Global. Strikeforce agreed to the deal, and signed Fedor.
Here's more history for you: UFC bought Pride and absorbed all its fighters. UFC bought WEC in 2006, which ran as a separate promotion until the end of 2010 when the UFC absorbed it. It's reasonable to think that when Strikeforce's broadcast contract with Showtime expires, it could fold into the UFC as one MMA conglomerate.
Want more history? Here you go: Paul Daley was permanently banned from the UFC after he cheap-shotted Josh Koscheck after their fight at UFC 113 last May was over. Daley is fighting for the Strikeforce welterweight title this April. Josh Barnett, a Strikeforce Heayvweight Grand Prix contestant, is a former UFC champion. White has said repeatedly that Barnett would never fight in the UFC again. Dan Henderson, the newly crowned Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, is another former UFC fighter who left after his contract expired when negotiations didn't go in his favor.
That should be interesting.
But as White explained, when a Strikeforce fighter's contract expires, he has the right to negotiate with that fighter for a UFC deal. Same as always. Now, it just seems a bit easier.
Below is White's interview with MMAFighting.com