Showtime Sports’ new general manager Stephen Espinoza recently spoke to a few MMA media outlets, and the question on everyone’s mind is how Sho thinks things are going with Strikeforce since they were bought by Zuffa. Dana White famously washed his hands of Strikeforce after they refused to heed his infinite wisdom, and from the outside it seems like the promotion has been mired in pointlessness since then. So tell us what’s up with that, Stephen! From Sherdog’s Rewind podcast:
On Showtime’s relationship with Zuffa: “I think all in all, the collaboration has been going extremely well. If you look at, for example, how Strikeforce has been integrated into UFC pay-per-views, in their in-arena promotions, their in-person promotions — both Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier were very active on UFC events before their Strikeforce grand prix fight. Ronda Rousey has been very active at UFC events and UFC programming. I think as we get more and more acquainted, more and more comfortable and learn each other’s working habits and styles, the collaboration just gets stronger and the integration just gets stronger.”
On Dana White expressing his frustration with Showtime over production issues: “I think at any good network, there’s a constant process of evaluating where you are production wise. That happens internally. That happens in our discussions with Zuffa as well. I’d say 90 percent of the time we’re completely on the same page. Either Zuffa raises an issue or Dana raises an issue, and we look at it and say, ‘Yeah, that’s a very good point,’ or we raise an issue that has to do with the in-arena production and Zuffa makes the adjustment. Ten percent of the time we don’t agree, and we work it out and things move forward. What I can say about the relationship is that in any relationship, whether it’s a marriage or a network television relationship, if you’re getting along 80, 90 percent of the time, that’s a really good relationship.”
Oh, come on bro. I understand these are your business partners and you (unlike Dana White) aren’t about to reveal a bunch of dirty laundry one skidmarked pair of undies at a time. But pretending everything is ‘going extremely well’? That’s kinda terrifying. Like a pilot throwing two thumbs up right before his plane slams into a mountainside. Strikeforce got stripped for parts and is gonna spend the remainder of its existence stacked up on cinderblocks. Its champions have no one to fight, its remaining stars are asking to be released, and Zuffa isn’t about to sign any quality talent to the organization. So in what alternate dimension does this equal ‘the collaboration just getting stronger’?
Either Stephen doesn’t give a damn about MMA unless the ratings drop past a certain level or he’s more full of sh*t than Scott Coker was. Or maybe there’s no solution to the situation Showtime finds itself in with Strikeforce and the only option he sees is to grin and bear it until the deal expires at the end of the year. But come on. Don’t stand there with a giant shiner on your eye and act like the marriage is doing just fine.
(vid via Fightline)