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Strikeforce Challengers has a new home

I hate the Pearl at the Palms – home to TUF finales, occasional UFC fight nights, and a buttload of WEC events, God rest their souls. The place is tiny, has shitty ticket sales, and the people that do show up are mostly ignorant jackasses from the casino. It’s more Bellator than UFC, but now it’s gonna be totally Strikeforce. The Palms will be the new home for all Challengers cards moving forward:

The Washington State Department of Licensing reports that live attendance was 1901 total, but 1018 of those were comps. Only 883 tickets were sold for a gate of $42,725. That was less than half of the payroll for the event, which was $87,500. Ouch.

With Strikeforce’s parent company Forza LLC being granted a promoter’s license in Nevada yesterday, the plan is to move all Challengers cards to the Palms Casino in Las Vegas, which is the home of most Ultimate Fighter Finales and some UFC Fight Night cards. According to Keith Kizer, Strikeforce will be staging four shows in Nevada during the rest of 2011, with two of them already scheduled – Strikeforce Challengers 17 on July 22nd, and Strikeforce Challengers 18 on August 12th.

Dana White said a big part of whether Strikeforce will stick around is if they can continue the promotion without taking a financial bath. Not even hitting half the payroll on a show thrown in Washington probably constitutes a nice sudsy soak in the tub, so changes gotta be made. I guess if it’s a choice between Strikeforce being folded in before women’s MMA has a chance to blossom and watching Challengers shows at the Palms, I guess I’ll accept the Palms. Begrudgingly. And with complaint. Always with endless complaint.

  • Letibleu

    The Strikeforce business model in my eyes is doomed. It is tiered for a small organization say the size of Bellator. They dont have enough revenue streams to warrant the size of their payroll (they pay most of their contracted fighters shit but their stars have disproportionate contracts).

    Strikeforce is now at the crossroads where all other MMA shows failed. In order to grow they need to increase their revenue streams or create a new one. The most obvious way to go is PPV which the UFC already dominates. The HW tourney was their only hope of transitioning to PPV quality cards. The HW tourney was the way to string together the first PPV’s that were interesting enough to us the casual fans to spend 35$ on (my gut tells me it would have gone for $34.95) After what we saw with the last card (flopping fish), all hopes of SF on PPV died with that card.

    SF is dying. The inevitable merge will allow Zuffa to skim the whey from the curd and move on with a super organization. leaving behind the crap that is no longer usefull. Like a snake moulting.

    Anyone willing to take a friendly bet with me that Zuffa will put a hand into K1 as soon as SF is absorbed (late 2011 early 2012)?


  • Symbul

    The Pearl is probably paying them to hold the shows there. That’s the MO for casinos generally AFAIK. This is why Bellator is often at casinos.

  • FiveBoltMain

    wtf is wrong with the pearl? it’s a great venue to watch fights. there isn’t a bad seat in the house. and i’m sorry to burst your bubble, but most of the people who go there aren’t from the casino. they’re real mma fans. they know their stuff. sure, there’s always that one drunk idiot who yells “i came here for fighting, not fucking”, but the majority of the people are there to have a good time.

  • CAP

    The seat from my tv seems just fine. Who cares.

  • DJ ThunderElbows

    I think they’re gonna use SF as a dev league for guys to get experience against names, while faded names on a losing streak can go to get a streak going for a Re-UFCing.  I’m basing that on the recent up-and-comer signings which they’re locking up, but not in the UFC.  Also, hope.  I’m basing it on hope.

  • CAP

    That’s exactly what it should be for imo. But good luck getting guys to drop to the “B Leagues”

  • DJ ThunderElbows

    I don’t think they call it “dropping” I believe they call it “releasing” them.