Since Zuffa first purchased Strikeforce, UFC president Dana White has made it clear that he has been taking a hands-off approach to the company with UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta taking the lead instead, but with the promotion’s future now hanging in the balance White has suddenly done a u-turn and is now leading the negotiations.
The reason? It appears that the fact that a long-time enemy of White’s, Showtime Sports head Ken Hershman, has now left for HBO helped pave the way for him to get on-board.
“He’s an idiot and the rest of the guys aren’t,” White stated bluntly during a conversation with reporters following yesterday’s UFC 137 pre-fight press conference.
Currently Strikeforce’s deal with Showtime ends in the first quarter of 2012 and if they don’t exercise their right to extend that deal for a further year then it’s been widely predicted that would lead to the promotion being disbanded and the fighters joining the UFC instead.
White had a meeting with the Showtime team earlier this week and says that talks went well, but it’s not clear what that means for the promotion’s long-term future.
Everything White’s done thus far would indicate that he is keen on shutting down Strikeforce – bringing over it’s biggest stars such as tomorrow night’s headliner Nick Diaz along with other champions such as Alistair Overeem and Dan Henderson while also actively pursuing Gilbert Melendez provide ample evidence for that.
With the UFC set to extend the number of events they are doing in 2012 and having their hands full launching the UFC on FOX it’s hard to see where continuing to run Strikeforce would fit into their plans, but there may still be light at the end of the tunnel for fans of the promotion.
Yesterday White appeared to be hinting that perhaps there was still a chance that Strikeforce could survive, so this is a story that’s still worth keeping an close eye on with further developments expected to emerge sooner rather than later.