This weekend Strikeforce will televise the last ever Strikeforce event during a special free weekend on the network, but despite their long relationship with the promotion coming to an end they don’t intend to turn their back on the sport.
“We are actively looking for other opportunities,” Showtime’s Vice President Stephen Espinoza tells MMAJunkie.com. “(We) haven’t found the right opportunity yet, but we are definitely looking for the next relationship in the MMA space.”
He also indicates that they want to keep the same overall level of MMA coverage on the channel.
“Every opportunity is evaluated on its own merits, but we certainly have an appetite for at least the same level of programming we were getting from Strikeforce, if not more.”
So who might they be targeting? Espinoza doesn’t say, but let’s look at a few of the options.
Conveniently World Series Of Fighting hosted their first ever event live on Showtime’s bigger brother CBS last year with the likes of Andrei Arlovski, Anthony Johnson, Miguel Torres and tryrone Spong on-board so if they are planning to continue on in 2013 then they’d surely be a frontrunner.
Japanese promotion ONE FC have made significant in-roads in the Asian market in 2012 and are currently without a U.S broadcaster so they could be under consideration.
As we reported earlier all-female promotion Invicta FC are currently hunting for a broadcast deal and would be an interesting choice, though the fact that the UFC is moving into the female fight business too might make life difficult.
Alternatively they could pluck a regional promotion from relative obscurity and throw their weight behind it, with RFA Fighting, currently headed up by famed MMA manager Ed Soares and housing an new of former UFC fighters, being one of the first names that springs to mind.
It’s all speculation at this point, but it’ll certainly be interesting to watch where Showtime goes from here, and it would be nice to see them get back into the market sooner rather than later to maintain some level of continuity.