NEW YORK NY - JANUARY 13: Lorenzo Fertitta UFC Chairman and CEO speaks during a press conference to announce commitment to bring UFC to Madison Square Garden and New York State at Madison Square Garden on January 13 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images)

UFC Formally Announces Purchase Of Strikeforce

The UFC, under parent company Zuffa, LLC, formally announced the purchase of Strikeforce today. Strikefore CEO Scott Coker will remain in operation of the Strikeforce brand, said Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta.

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3 Total Updates since March 14, 2011
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UFC Buys Strikeforce: Strikeforce To Use Unified Rules, Showtime Deal Extends To 2014

The UFC held their conference call today to talk about the purchase of Strikeforce. On the call were UFC Director of PR Dave Sholler, UFC CEO and Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC President Dana White and Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker (a  bit of a surprise). There wasn't a ton of new news, so to speak, but enough to be noteworthy. Here are some of the highlights.

1. Strikeforce will adopt the Unified Rules. Translation: elbows to the head of a downed opponent are now allowed.

Strikeforce will not use Octagon, but will bring unified rules. That means Strikeforce = elbows.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

 

2. The deal Strikeforce has with Showtime "extends to 2014". Initial reporting suggested the deal expired in 2012 and that may not be incorrect. Loretta Hunt believes the word "extends" means the deal is up in 2012, but can be extended to 2014. Given that Zuffa is likely trying to swallow Strikeforce, such an extension seems unlikely. Again, however, it should be noted that Hunt's interpretation may not be accurate.

Lorenzo Fertitta says the Showtime/Strikeforce deal extends to 2014. Doesn't square with everything I've heard.less than a minute ago via web

Fertitta says Showtime deal EXTENDS into 2014, which fall in line with wat I though - the deal runs out in early 2012, and has extensions.less than a minute ago via HootSuite

 

3. The Strikeforce heavyweight tourney final could be on pay-per-view:

White: We're open to the idea of the HWGP being on PPV.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

 

4. Silicon Valley Sports Entertainment wanted out of the MMA business, thereby leaving Coker in a lurch:

Coker says SVSE wanted to get back to their core business. Coker wanted to stay in MMA.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

 

5. Dana White does not seem to express much interest in women's MMA:

White: My thoughts on women MMA is the same. That's Scott's deal, not mine.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

 

6. Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta shrug off claims of monopoly or impending anti-trust concerns. They both claim there are lots of options for fighters, although realistically in terms of maximizing value, that's not true:

Fertitta says antitrust suits aren't a concern. Claims no barrier to entry into the sport for prospective promoters.less than a minute ago via web

 

7. There's no movement on the messaging of why the UFC is against a fighter's union:

White: A fighter's union is up to the fighters. The problem is that this isn't a team sport.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

 

8. White was not committal about UFC and Strikeforce champs fighting one another, but in the message of delivering fans the fights they want to see, seemed to indicate it was inevitable:

Dana: Regarding champ vs. champ fights, our job is to make sure fans get fights they want to see. It's just a matter of when.less than a minute ago via web

 

More was discussed. Coker, for example, does not have an equity stake in Zuffa. Zuffa now has more than 4,000 fights in their library and Lorenzo Fertitta said he plans to use the Strikeforce library similarly to PRIDE's. UFC will also not be counterprogramming Strikeforce any longer. Strikeforce still has sights set on Canada at some point in the future. The UFC also seems to be feeling the heat from international markets who not only want more fights, but more fights of substance. Having a greater roster of fighters, ostensibly, enables them to solve for that problem.

Other than that, though, everything is in the mix. It's just business as usual.

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UFC Purchase Of Strikeforce Live Conference Call Updates

At 1 p.m. ET, UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta and UFC President Dana White will participate in a media conference call to discuss Zuffa's purchase of promotional rival Strikeforce. SB Nation MMA will provide live updates from the call. You can also follow Luke Thomas for updates on Twitter.

A few key facts to consider:

- Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker will not be on the call. To what extent he has any mobility to be candid is debatable, but it would've been nice to have him present.

- No Showtime representatives will be on the call.

- Issues of contract mobility will have to be addressed. According to reports, fighters are free to move around between the organizations now. If true, who is up for a shift?

- What plans does the UFC have, specifically, for promoting the heavyweight grand prix? Can that be something Spike ever touches?

- Is the UFC categorically against ever having a women's division?

- What measures will be taken to set up developmental stages of promotion, like the Strikeforce Challengers series?

This and much more in 30 minutes. Be here.

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UFC Formally Announces Purchase Of Strikeforce

A press release was issued this morning by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) officially announcing the purchase of Strikeforce. All of what you'd expect is in there. All of the sides plegde to continue working together for the benefit of MMA brands. Scott Coker, CEO of Strikeforce, is confirmed as the man who will continue to run his San Jose-based organization.

Of note, however, is that Lorenzo Fertitta is quoted more than White and specifically in reference to Showtime. It will be interesting to monitor his role with the company as he navigates the muddied waters that have history separated Showtime and Zuffa. The full release is as follows:

Forza, LLC, a subsidiary of Zuffa, LLC, which owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship® brand, announced today that it has purchased the assets of Explosion Entertainment, LLC dba Strikeforce®. Under the terms of the deal, all Strikeforce fighter contracts will be honored, as will its broadcast agreement with Showtime®  Networks, Inc. Strikeforce will continue to operate as a separate business and current Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker has signed a long-term employment agreement with the company.

"We have worked hard to make mixed martial arts the fastest growing sport in the world," UFC President Dana White said. "We've spent countless hours getting this sport regulated and taking the Octagon® all over the world. Acquiring the Strikeforce assets allows us to continue to develop this sport into a global force."

"We intend to operate Strikeforce as a separate business much like we did with the WEC for many years," Lorenzo Fertitta, Chairman and CEO of Zuffa, said. "We look forward to working with Scott Coker, and the entire Strikeforce and Showtime teams to continue to provide quality content for mixed martial arts fans.


"We've long admired Scott Coker and the Strikeforce business he launched and developed," Fertitta continued. "We feel that together with Scott, we can continue to build both Strikeforce and the UFC."

Currently, Strikeforce holds 16 events annually across the United States. The organization will continue to do so under new ownership and fans can look forward to exciting fights featuring their favorite Strikeforce athletes. While there are currently no plans to bring Strikeforce fighters to the UFC, a new strategy to strengthen Strikeforce's talented roster is being developed.

"This is an important day for the sport of mixed martial arts," Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said. "We are excited to work with Lorenzo Fertitta, Frank Fertitta, Dana White and everyone at the UFC on the quest to make MMA the biggest sport in the world. Fans can continue to expect quality Strikeforce shows and we look forward to giving our athletes an even broader platform on which to perform."


Strikeforce was represented in the transaction by Evolution Media Capital, a media and sports investment bank affiliated with Creative Artists Agency.

The next Strikeforce event is planned for Friday, April 1 in Stockton, Calif. In the main event of the Strikeforce Challengers card held at the Stockton Arena, lightweights Justin Wilcox (10-3) and Rodrigo Damm (9-4) are set to collide. The fight will air on Showtime at 11 p.m. ET/PT.

Strikeforce also has an event on April 9 at the Valley View Casino Arena in San Diego featuring a welterweight title fight between Nick Diaz (24-7-1) and Paul Daley (27-9-2). Then, in June, Strikeforce continues its Heavyweight Grand Prix at the American Airlines Center in Dallas with a much anticipated heavyweight clash pitting Alistair Overeem (34-11-1) vs. Fabricio Werdum (14-4-1). All bouts live and subject to change.

There will be a conference call at 1p.m. ET for the media. SB Nation MMA will be on it and bringing you results live.

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