Several writers have already penned their thoughts on Saturday night’s melee following Jake Shields’ victory over Dan Henderson in Strikeforce. It seems that the consensus opinion is one of disappointment. I am sure some will try to spin the news somehow, but I believe that the sport of MMA took a step backwards on Saturday night.
I as a fan of MMA understand that MMA is not a “human cock fight”, thugish, or barbaric, however there is a reason that MMA is not mainstream. The critics will see this and cite the Strikeforce brawl as evidence that the sport of mixed martial arts is violent. While I disagree with their point the reality is their argument will now have an audience. I even think that CBS executives will have a legit reason to drop their partnership with Strikeforce. Again, I do not believe that Saturday’s brawl was the norm, but it will draw ire. I think the critics needs to realize that other “more accepted” sports have brawls. Baseball has bench clearing brawls. Basketball has skirmishes (i.e. Pistons vs. Pacers). No one talks about removing those sports from national television.
Many people have tried to place blame for Saturday’s events. Some have blamed Jason “Mayhem” Miller for entering the cage. Some have blamed the Cesar Gracie camp for their reaction, some have blamed Strikeforce executives, and others have placed blame on Tennessee’s athletic commission. Perhaps all share the load of blame. Quite frankly it does not matter who is at fault now. I believe we will see some major fallout.
1. Strikeforce’s Relationship With CBS
I really think Strikeforce’s relationship with CBS is in jeopardy. The brawl mixed with low ratings may have sealed the deal. CBS cannot be pleased about the events. CBS was quite progressive airing live MMA fights on prime time and I believe that may cease. For the sake of the sport I hope that MMA continues on CBS, but don’t be shocked to see that happen. If there is fallout it could really crush Strikeforce.
2. Rules Regarding Who Enters The Cage Post-Fight
I believe the problem was that the cage was chalked full of people. I guess fighters like to have their entourage with the them, but that many people in the cage post fight is a disaster waiting to happen. It was totally unnecessary for Jason Miller to be in the cage too. UFC has rules regarding this and now we see why. I think we may say athletic commissions institute rules in thsi regard as well to prevent what happened in Strikeforce.
3. Discipline of Fighters Involved
I think we may seem some suspensions by Strikeforce. I doubt the athletic commission will get involved, but they could. Perhaps we could see “Mayhem” Miller suspended somehow. The other guys involved were 3 champions of the promotion in Melendez, Nick Diaz and Jake Shields. I doubt they see any suspensions. I would say that not doing anything would cause some fan outrage. I think Coker is forced to do something. What? I don’t know.