Strikeforce continues to pump up it’s June 22nd lineup, adding Josh Thomson to the lineup vs K1 kickboxer Nick Gonzalez. Josh’s name might be familiar. He’s kicked the ass of some pretty serious competition, including Nam Phan and Duane Ludwig. He’s also the dude that was suspended for 6 months over the t-shirt pictured above. Just another stupid suspension doled out by the CSAC. You also may be confusing him with big dumb bull James Thompson, who almost murdered Don Frye in the ring at Pride34.

This officially makes the Strikeforce show 10x better than UFC 72. Not only is the Shamrock-Baroni main event a solid one, but the undercard destroys the UFC: Cung Le vs Tony Fryklund, Joey Villasenor vs Ninja Rua, Paul Buentello vs Carter Williams, and Krazy Horse Bennet vs Joe Boxer. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it now: If you’re gonna buy a PPV in June, make it the Strikeforce show.

Part of the joke from yesterday’s Ultimate Fighting Comic was the idea that the IFL will outlasted the UFC, which in concept alone should leave you ROTFLYAO!!! Part of the irony was that when I wrote it, IFL stock was in the middle of a freefall, caused by an S-1 going in effect which allowed original investors to finally sell off their stock. The end result? IFL stock dropped 63%, ending at 1.22 per share. Brutal. BUT NOT TO WORRY, PEOPLE! Spokesman Joe Favorito (say it out loud, its a fun name) tells us why the future is bright:

Favorito said in addition to announcing a new IFL home video that Warner Bros. will distribute Sept. 19, the league has a new trading card deal in place with Topps, and its next event in Seattle is a near sellout. The league is televised by MyNetworkTV, which airs “IFL Battleground” programming on KCOP-TV Channel 13. Favorito said the network will add six shows to its fall lineup.

Okay, not to be overly negative but lets break this spin down:

  • The video deal: This isn’t some kind of deal where the IFL sold it’s video rights to a company. The IFL is *paying* Warner Brothers to distribute the video for them, meaning they only make money if they sell enough videos above and beyond the distribution price tag. The chances of this depend on how smart the IFL is. I got my first taste of the UFC when they released UFC 1-10 on VHS for 10 bucks a tape. So if they flood the bargain bins at every music and video store out there, this could be good.
  • The Topps trading card deal is kinda neat, but I don’t see why it would be used as reasoning for why the company is doing well. They might as well have brought back up their partnership with that popcorn company for all the good it’ll do the company in the long run.
  • The next event in Seattle is a near sell out: The Seattle show is being held at the Everett Event Center, which is a much smaller venue than they’ve been normally trying to fill. I called the ticket venue and asked what kind of setup is being used, and they’re doing a half-house setup, meaning they’re splitting the venue in two, meaning with screens you’re probably looking at around 4000. So with the standard comps and papering I’m sure they’re close to a sellout. 2000 paid isn’t exactly hard to hit. The real question is if this event will hit the black or not.
  • The MyNetworkTV deal is shite, with the show gaining an .7 rating on average and sliding. There is the argument that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but MyNetworkTV is the welfare meth smoking whore of the network neighborhood. The IFL’s association with them reinforces people’s opinion that they’re a cheap UFC knockoff.

What Joe isn’t mentioning is the real plan they have to survive 2007: doubling the number of stock they can sell. They have a shareholder’s meeting this summer to vote on the process. I’m interested to know if they have a backup plan or that’s really it.

You know things are getting crazy when the replacements for the replacements are getting replaced. The latest casualty of the CSAC’s in-your-face approach to fighter sanctioning is Gabe ‘Cake’ Ruediger, who was denied for one of the most fucked up reasons in the history of the universe (approximately 6000 years according to The Book, may those who deny it burn in hellfire):

No official reason has been given, but word is that the head of CSAC, Armando Garcia, saw a tape of TUF 5 and deemed Ruediger mentally unfit to fight after he determined that he had a “mental breakdown” on the show.

Now, I already touched on the possibility that the CSAC was jerking K1 around. First they deny Hong Man Choi because he’s a giant, and now they deny Gabe Ruediger because he’s a crybaby. That’s like denying Frank Trigg because he’s a retard or me for having the world’s largest penis. That’s just the way things are. I’d like to deny Armando Garcia from sanctioning on account of him being a total wad and a party-pooper, but lets see how far that idea flies.

I’ve already given you my random thoughts on fighter pay. But here’s a very apt observation from our pals at LayAndPray.com:

Hopefully all those ghetto check cashing joints and tire shops are paying out some good sponsorship money. Otherwise, given its high ticket prices, the UFC might be the first major sport in which its athletes couldn’t afford to buy a ticket if they weren’t already there competing. In fact, it may be the only sport given significant coverage on Sportscenter where the average person in the audience makes more money than the athletes taking the lumps.

If you wanna watch the post-UFC71 press conference, click here. If you wanna just read all the salient points, click here.

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