In a shocking turn of events, Dana White announced today that the parent company of the UFC, Zuffa, has purchased top North American MMA competitor Strikeforce. This deal is effective immediately. The brands will continue to operate separately and Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker will managed the Strikeforce brand. Fighter contracts with Showtime or with Strikeforce will continue to be honored. Dana White made a point to repeat the refrain "business as usual" in terms of how the brands interact.
The number of issues to unpack are enormous, but as a beginning primer: Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem and other Strikeforce fighters will remain on with Strikeforce. The UFC will not cherry pick top talent for UFC purposes.
Given the contentious history with Showtime and rival Showtime Vice President Ken Hershman, White said UFC Chairman Lorenzo Feritta will be the point man in dealing with them.
Strikeforce shows, for now, will continue as scheduled.
The reason for the purchase, as stated by White, is that the UFC wants to expand the number of fights they put on and where, geographically, they are placed. Given Coker's strong ties to Japanese MMA, one expects his expertise and ability to navigate that to be a long-term component of expansion.
A notable fact to consider: every organization the UFC has purchased has eventually been dismantled. PRIDE was dissolved, the WEC as well and scraps of the IFL, namely footage, was picked up as well. I expect this to be a play where the UFC holds on to Strikeforce until such time they can reasonably dissolve the brand without difficult contract issues and absorb the brand's assests.
The UFC now has a near complete monopoly on the sport of mixed martial arts. More as this story develops.