I believe Strikeforce has made some poor decisions that could very well lead to their demise. I don’t know if their end is right on the horizon, but I believe it is coming. They may host their May and June events, but long term they are in trouble. Here is why…
1. They got greedy. They signed the EliteXC roster. They signed some guys from Affliction like Fedor and Mousasi. They signed countless prospects. I’ll give them credit they have a decent roster, but they went from being a good regional show to the big time and I think it was too quick and it is uncharted waters for Scott Coker.
2. The CBS/Showtime Deal. I am not sure of the details of the agreement, but everything I hear tells me that that deal is a bad one. If I am not mistaken CBS and Showtime have a whole lot of say in Strikeforce’s day to day operations. This is reminiscent of EliteXC. There is a reason Dana White cannot stand the Showtime executives. I think the deal is a bad one.
3. Too Big of a Roster. Strikeforce has a big roster with some solid fighters, but honestly they don’t have enough shows to put them on. As a result they can barely fulfill contractual obligations to fighters and the fighters are lucky to fight once or twice a year. I don’t know how Strikeforce can afford to pay all the guys they have without a pay per view model. They have some highly paid guys like Fedor, Henderson, Mousasi, and Lashley. Also, they have several other guys who they have to pay well to keep like Lawler, Diaz, Melendez and Rogers. Oh and now they have this partnership with DREAM where they exchange fighters. Not so sure about that one.
4. The Brawl. Yes, the brawl hurt them and may have given CBS and Showtime reason to part ways with them.
5. Declining Rating. The ratings were way down for Strikeforce: Nashville. In fact, all the other networks beat CBS Saturday night. In a key demographic of young men even the UFC re-play of UFC 110 beat Strikeforce. That doesn’t bode well for Strikeforce’s relationship with CBS.
6. Improper Marketing of Fighters. Scott Coker did in fact put all his marbles in the Dan Henderson fight. he expected Hendo to win. He didn’t. Now their middleweight champion is a free agent. The CBS commercials all focused on Henderson and not the reigning champion. Furthermore, they don’t have many guys who are big draws. Fedor is a draw, but not as big as you would think. Their biggest draw is probably Gina Carano and she isn’t fighting. Their champions are unknowns tot he casual fan (Overeem, Lawal, Shields, Melendez and Santos). They have some solid main card type fighters. However, they spent more time marketing Herschel Walker than their welterweight champ Nick Diaz. All I am saying is that they have a shortage of marketable fighters who are known by the casual fan and they have failed to market new guys well. Why is Tyron Woodley still on Challengers cards? Why is Shields ignored in TV ads? Why no marketing of Robbie Lawler or “Jacare”? The list goes on.
7. The Fedor Contract. I know many are optimistic that the contract dispute will be resolved, but if it falls through then that is the final nail in the Strikeforce coffin. I don’t blame Strikeforce for this, I think M-1 is impossible to work with. However, their best fighter is holding out and it hurts.
The conclusion is that Strikeforce’s business model is leading to trouble for them down the road. Maybe not today, but eventually it will cost them.