A telling comment after the Strikeforce: Nashville event came from promoter Dana White, who simply tweeted, “:-)”.
There were certainly a number of reasons why the UFC president had reason to be cheerful after watching his rivals second live event on network television via CBS. Let’s take a look at them in more detail.
1. Gegard Mousasi lost, breaking a fifteen fight winning streak.
Dana White has openly admitted in the past that he would love to sign Mousasi after the fighter went an impressive 15 fights unbeaten. Despite that fact Mousasi appeared to turn his back on the UFC and signed a two year extension to his Strikeforce deal just days before the Strikeforce: Nashville event.
What appeared to be a significant deal for Strikeforce in retaining the services of one of the sports most in-demand fighters ihas now lost some of it’s impact after he lost out by unanimous decision to King Mo.
2. Former UFC fighter Dan Henderson also lost.
The long tug-of-war battle for Dan Henderson’s signature between the UFC and Strikeforce was well publicized last year. In the end the UFC refused to pay what the veteran fighter was demanding, allowing Strikeforce to secure his services and add a much needed star to their roster.
It was widely expected that Henderson would win the match against an undersized and undervalued Shields, allowing him to progress to potential ‘super-fights’ with the likes of Gegard Mousasi and Fedor Emelianenko.
Despite producing the fireworks that had been anticipated in the opening round, Henderson ended up being dominated by Shields, leaving strikeforce with something of a headache regarding what to do with him next.
3. Jake Shields emerged victorious.
Making matters worse for Strikeforce, Jake Shields unexpected victory causes further problems for the promotion. They have the option for just one more fight with the middleweight champion before he is free to leave, and leading up to this fight Shields appeared to indicate a move to the UFC would interest him.
Dana White also appeared to be interested in that possibility, though he also noted that he hoped Shields won his fight with Henderson so that, at the very least, Strikeforce would have to pay more than they had anticipated if they wanted to retain his services.
4. A less-than-thrilling night of fights.
In recent months the UFC have been criticized for some lackluster events, with last weekend’s UFC 112 card amongst them. Meanwhile Strikeforce have been gaining momentum with some entertaining cards over the same period.
Tonight’s event fell somewhat flat though, with all three title fights going the full five rounds in less-than-thrilling fashion and some below-par performances from the likes of Shinya Aoki and Gegard Mousasi.
That’s not likely to have sat well with the ‘casual’ fans that CBS and Strikeforce would have been hoping to entice to watch not only this evening’s show, but future events on the network as well.
5. The post-fight riot in the cage.
Based on the scheduled fights that occurred on the night this wasn’t Strikeforce’s finest hour, but things got a whole lot worse when a riot broke out in the aftermath of the headline bout as Jake Shields and his team-mates clashed with Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller in the cage.
The ugly brawl, which was broadcast to millions on CBS, may come with severe repercussions for the promotion in the coming days. Strikeforce’s current arrangement with CBS is by no-means cast-iron and may now hang in the balance. while they may also now have to brace themselves for a mainstream media backlash.
All of which has left Dana White with reasons to be cheerful, though looking at the broader picture the negative reaction to both UFC 112 and Strikeforce: Nashville in the space of a week is not particularly good news for the sport in general.
While lackluster fights is something that both promotions can overcome, the backlash that is likely to emerge from the brawl in the cage could have a negative impact on both companies as they continue to try to legitimize MMA as a sport in the eyes of both the mainstream media and the public.
Article By RossC.