I don’t know who Josh Nason is – actually, I don’t really know who any of the randos writing on BloodyElbow are any more. But I do like his idea on what the UFC should do with Strikeforce now that the UFC has decided to keep it around: turn it into an all WMMA league. Here’s some of his reasoning:
We don’t need more of the same MMA: Strikeforce’s talent roster is thin and everyone knows it. There are guys fighting in the UFC solely because they’re filling spots — not because they’re among the best fighters in the world. There’s enough UFC events in 2012 to get the top Strikeforce talent action and create more exciting cards as a result. If they have to cut guys on either roster, so be it. Take aboard the best and let’s get after it already. We simply don’t need more of what we’ve seen this year: events for hardcore fans and constant questions of when the top talent like Melendez are going to shift over. Unless they move a hundred fighters from UFC over to Strikeforce to fill out the roster, what’s the purpose in keeping it as is?
It’s a unique idea that hasn’t been done on a national stage before: The UFC is on TV all the time. HDNet has hundreds of hours of live events a year. Bellator runs 25+ events a year. None of them have truly embraced women’s MMA other than a scant few fights. If a promotion can actually focus solely on putting together the best women in the world, they will lead the pack in something new. Who doesn’t want that?
Zuffa has the money to do it: If there’s any company in the world that can afford to take the risk, it’s Zuffa. They also have the money and resources to do it right. Focus on two power divisions (130/140 or 135/145) and build from there. Sign everyone you can and make stars. Do what White has said there isn’t and create depth by bringing all of this talent under one roof and pay them well to do so.
Unfortunately, this isn’t exactly what I would call a likely scenario. Above everything else, Strikeforce is sticking around in zombie mode to block other MMA promotions from moving onto Showtime. Anything else that comes of this is a bonus. You can also expect Zuffa to use it to counter-program other events and stop promotions from snapping up any fighters who have the marketability but not the skills to hang in the UFC.
The best we can hope for is that matchmaker Sean Shelby has an interest and an aptitude for putting together great women’s fights. Great fights turn into more excitement which turn into more exposure and maybe we’ll start seeing more than one WMMA match every 2-3 cards.
Who knows how this is gonna turn out? The official announcement from Strikeforce and Showtime hasn’t even been made. How long, how many events, show format, length, who handles production, all of this is up in the air. If Strikeforce gets 2 years on Showtime, that’s long enough for women to make real strides forward in the world of MMA. Strikeforce doesn’t have to be all WMMA to save WMMA. It just has to treat it with some fucking respect and enthusiasm. The rest will follow.