Time Is Now For Strikeforce To Become Relevant
The IFL, EliteXC, Bodog, Affliction, Pride. The list goes on and on. These are just some of the many organizations that have attempted to capitalize on the popularity of one of the world’s fastest growing sports, mixed martial arts. For a variety of reasons though, none of them have been capable of having long-term success in a sport that the UFC has all but monopolized. The latest organization that will attempt to hang with Dana White and the Fertitta brothers is the San Jose, California based Strikeforce MMA.
The UFC has two things in particular that have burried all of their competitors thus far: First, they have signed nearly every big name fighter in the sport, making it incredibly difficult for up and coming promotions to have a card filled with recognizeable names. Second, they have done an excellent job of running counter-programming in an attempt to steal viewers that otherwise may tune in to a new organization’s events. With this weekend’s Fedor vs. Rogers Strikeforce event looming, here are five things that may just separate Strikeforce from the list of pretenders that have come and gone faster than the average Fedor Emelianenko fight.
1. Star Power- Strikeforce has a talent pool that is significantly deeper than those of past organizations that have attempted to hang with the UFC. Jiu-jitsu ace Jake Shields is widely recognized as one of the world’s top welterweights and will move up a weight class to take on Jason Miller for Strikeforce’s vacant middleweight title this Saturday. Light-heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi is a rising star who holds wins over the likes of Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Dennis Kang. Other fighters that even casual fans may recognize include Robbie Lawler, Nick Diaz, Frank Shamrock, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou and Alistair Overeem.
2. The Last Emperor- Although their talent pool is deep, there is no debating who the star of Strikeforce is. Many believe heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko to be the top pound for pound fighter in the world and a decisive win over Brett Rogers in his promotional debut on Saturday would go a long way in solidifying that. Strikeforce was willing to meet demands the UFC wasn’t and in turn got the star they needed to compete.
3. Let the Mayhem begin- Of all the familiar faces, it is likely the most familiar one to most fans will be Jason “Mayhem” Miller. Miller is the host of the MTV show Bully Beatdown and although he has other fighters do the dirty work on his show, he is no slouch himself, with 22 career wins as a professional. Very few fighters have done as much as Miller to increase the popularity of the sport and he will be rewarded when he receives his middleweight title shot in Chicago this weekend.
4. Free for all- One advantage that Strikeforce already has over the UFC is the network television deal they have in place with CBS. CBS previously had a deal with EliteXC that didn’t last long before the organization folded, but Strikeforce has a lot more to offer than Kimbo Slice. The deal will generate plenty of exposure and will allow fans not willing to dish out $so for a UFC pay-per-view the chance to become acquinted with MMA.
5. Hit like a girl- Another advantage for Strikeforce is their women’s division that includes champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos and the always popular Gina Carano. While the UFC has stayed away from promoting women’s fights, Strikeforce has been quick to embrace them. Carano vs. Cyborg even headlined a card for the organization. If women’s MMA continues to grow, Strikeforce will have a much better chance at surviving.