Zuffa’s Plan for Strikeforce

Enough with the bull. Everyone has an opinion of the Zuffa purchase of Strikeforce. A wise person once told me, “opinions are like butt holes, everyone has one and they all stink.” So let’s stick to the facts. I have no clue what the future holds for Strikeforce and the 100+ fighters on the Strikeforce roster. I don’t even know if Dana White knows exactly what the plan is. The UFC brass has stated that things will be “business as usual.” Zuffa plans to run both Strikeforce and UFC as separate entities much like they did with the WEC.

The UFC slowly dissolved the WEC. The first began by dissolving their light heavyweight and middleweight divisions. Later they dissolved their welterweight division. Finally, the two brands merged together. I have to believe that UFC intentionally created fan anticipation of the WEC guys in the UFC. The Strikeforce situation is similar, but different. Whenever Dana White was asked about the future of the WEC he would state that the plan was to keep the WEC in exitsence and that the UFC would house fighters 155 lbs and up and the WEC would hosue the lighterweight fighters 155 and below. The answer sold because the WEC had their own niche. What is the Strikeforce niche? Essentially, two brands will be in existence with a similar product and similar fighters. The gap will be in the Strikeforce fighters fighting the UFC guys. It makes no sense to not merge the rosters. Unless…there is a legal reason.

Fans want to see some of the Strikeforce guys in the UFC against their UFC counterparts. I have to believe enough clamoring will force the UFC’s hand in some of these situation, but the obstacle is fighter contracts. I am not sure what the wording is in the Strikeforce fighter contracts that the UFC absorbed. Some are reportedly transferable. Some may not be. I also think that Zuffa has an obligation to fulfill the Showtime contract. When that contract is fulfilled, I expect a change. Until that time the change will be minimal. We could see some Strikeforce fighters move into the UFC is they are willing to re-work their contracts or if they are at the end of their contract with Strikeforce. Until then I expect Zuffa to build up certain fighters and decrease the Strikeforce roster. Right now Strikeforce has somewhere near 150 fighters on their roster. I expect 30 or so of those fighters to have value to the UFC.

Here is who the UFC may have an eye on and want on their roster…
1. Alistair Overeem
2. Gilbert Melendez
3. Nick Diaz
4. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva
5. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
6. Fabricio Werdum
7. Dan Henderson
8. Gegard Mousasi
9. Jason Miller
10. King Mo Lawal
11. Tim Kennedy
12. Robbie Lawler
13. Roger Gracie
14. Brett Rogers
15. Sergei Kharitonov
16. Josh Thomson
17. Satoshi Ishii
18. Daniel Cormier
19. Shane Del Rosario
20. Orvince St. Preux
21. Tyron Woodley
22. Rafael “Feijao”
23. K.J. Noons
24. Cung Le
25. Renato “Babalu” Sobral
26. Mike Kyle
27. Gesias Cavalcante

Watch for the above fighters to be marketed and matched up in a way that their value is not diminished.

Other guys who the UFC may see value in…
1. Lyle Beerbohm
2. Yancy Medeiros
3. Rhadi Ferguson
4. Billy Evangelista
6. Tarec Saffeidine
7. Chad Griggs
8. Gian Villante
9. Luke Rockhold
10. Ryan Couture
11. Jorge Masvidal
12. Bryan Travers
13. Scott Smith
14. Valentijin Overeem
15. Evangelista Santos
16. Marius Zaromskis
17. Lavar Johnson
Watch for the above guys to be given winnable fights and a chance to earn their shot in the UFC. Some will. Some won’t. These guys are expendable.

The guys who the UFC does not want…
1. Fedor Emelianenko
2. Josh Barnett
3. Matt Lindland
4. Andrei Arlovski
5. Paul Daley
6. Herschel Walker

I expect the above guys to be given very tough match ups, Zuffa will hope they lose fights and that their stock becomes devalued in the MMA world.

There is no doubt that eventually Strikeforce will be dissolved. The question is when. Here is the problem I see. The UFC already has a full roster. They keep saying they need more fighters. So, I have a feeling the UFC has a plan for more events. Perhaps a network deal. Perhaps the plan for weekly shows. I have to believe that UFC plans on holding more events and this explains the multi million dollar investment.

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