The TV ratings are now in for Saturday night’s Strikeforce: Barnett Vs Kharitonov event on Showtime, and to be quite frank they can only be described as a complete disaster for all concerned.
An average of just 274,000 viewers tuned in to see the semi-finals of the promotion’s flagship event, the heavyweight grand-prix. That ranks as the second worst ratings ever for a major event during the strikeforce – Showtime era and is more comparable with the Strikeforce Challengers series which is aimed at promoting up and coming talent.
By way of contrast the previous two GP events had posted record ratings with Fedor vs Silva drawing 741,000 viewers while Overeem Vs Werdum did 624,000.
Despite those impressive numbers it was actually rumored that Zuffa were disappointed that the latter event starring Alistair Overeem didn’t do better given the stacked card they put on, so it boggles the mind to contemplate what they must be thinking about the Ohio show, especially given that the wage bill came in at a hefty $942,000.
Today’s figures come following further bad news emerging from the event at the weekend which indicated that there were as little as 1500 – 2000 people in attendance in Ohio to watch the show live. In abreak from tradition Strikeforce have so far failed to report the official attendance.
While the main event between Josh Barnett and Sergei Kharitonov wasn’t the most glamorous match-up that the tournament could have provided the overall fight card did have plenty of strength and depth, including a middleweight title fight as Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza attempted unsuccesfully to defend his belt, plus former light-heavyweight champions Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal and Rafael ‘feijao’ Cavalcante amongst a number of other significant stars.
We’ve already covered in a separate article after the event the major reasons for the show having proven to be a flop, but to quickly recap, a lack of interest in the latter stages of the tournament due to the early exit of the biggest stars, a general feeling that Strikeforce is now fading fast as the UFC cherry picks it’s top talent, and major breaking news over the past few weeks in the UFC overshadowing the promotion in the build-up to the event are amongst the biggest problems they’ve faced.
Sadly, as Strikeforce star ‘King Mo’ said himself at the post-fight press conference which was eerily quiet due to the lack of media in attendance, it appears as if the promotion is now on life support and is waiting for someone to flick a switch and put an end to it’s misery.