Remember when the UFC cancelled UFC 151 and the internet exploded? Yeah, it wasn’t quite the same when this weekend’s Strikeforce: Melendez vs Healy event got scrapped. Instead of a press conference, the UFC sent out a short press release and that was that. Showtime released their own one paragraph statement after they realized that was probably expected of them, and then … nada.
A few updates to report since then. First and foremost, all of the fighters who got screwed over Showtime suddenly deciding Saturday’s event was less impressive than the Challengers cards they used to run all the time are getting paid:
So far, six fighters have been promised at least partial pay, including Josh Thomson, Jorge Gurgel, Pat Healy, Adriano Martins, Yuri Villefort, and Jorge Santiago. The other 13 fighters who found themselves with no plans this Saturday night due to the cancelation will also be compensated. Sources also confirmed that the fighters would receive “show” money.
As for fights being rescheduled … yeah, that’s not going to be as easy for Strikeforce to do as it was for the UFC. Thus far the only fighter who’s been shuffled around is Cat Zingano. She’s now been added to October’s InvictaFC 3 card against Raquel Pennington. Zingano’s original Strikeforce opponent Amanda Nunes had to pull out with an injury.
Still not even a whisper of a word on what this all means for the relationship between Zuffa and Showtime, but the general consensus across the web is people are sick of Strikeforce’s continued existence:
It’s one thing for Zuffa and Showtime to ride out their agreement with a tepid enthusiasm that at times seems to border on mutual disdain, but to hold hostage the careers and the livelihoods of so many fighters – who bleed and suffer and strive just the same for Strikeforce as they would for the UFC – is almost unconscionable. It’s fine if the parents would rather be miserable together than see the other happy with someone else, but don’t put the children through this. They deserve better.
They’re holding down fighters like Ronaldo Souza, who hasn’t fought more than twice a year in four years despite not being injured. Fighters like Tyron Woodley, who hasn’t fought more than twice a year in three years despite not being injured. Fighters like Gilbert Melendez, who was about to have only his fifth fight in the last three years – once again, despite not being injured (until now).
They’re clearly dying. Either end it, or reinvent it, but the way they’re going now is a joke that’s hurting the careers and livelihoods of the athletes in this sport.
Let’s cut the farce, end Strikeforce. Let the fighters free. Dana White may rail about the “scumbag” way that Bellator treats talent but nothing they’d done has been remotely close to the damage Zuffa and Showtime have done to the careers of the whole Strikeforce roster.
It’s not just the fighters either, the UFC brass is already stretched too thin trying to put on too many UFC events, it’s time to end the needless distraction that is Strikeforce. In a period where the UFC has more TV and PPV slots than it has headliners, its time to get Strikeforce stars like Ronda Rousey, Cristiane “Cybrog” Santos and Gilbert Melendez in the UFC where they can headline some events.
It’s an obvious win/win/win for Zuffa, the fighters and the sport but don’t expect it to happen. The Zuffa brass is anything but willing to adapt to circumstances these days.
As for when the end could come, who knows. There are conflicting facts everywhere with some articles claiming the Showtime / Strikeforce deal from 2009 was for up to 5 years. Others say the deal ends in 2013. There have been two extension negotiations since Zuffa bought the company – one in October 2011 and another in February 2012. Rumor has it another round is going on right now, and shockingly enough it’s going ‘well’, with both parties wanting to continue the charade that Strikeforce’s continued existence is somehow positive for anyone. How that works I have no idea.