Strikeforce is not going anywhere as Showtime and Zuffa come to terms, extending the partnership all the way to 2014. The deal does come with big changes for the new year however, as the first change was seen by who was leading the big announcement on the press conference call.
UFC president Dana White announced that not only will he run day-to-day operations at the UFC, but will now spear head the direction of Strikeforce. White explained the promotion will look to put on six to eight events in 2012 and he will be working all of the events as he does UFC cards. Scott Coker is said to still be handling day-to-day operations alongside White to hopefully replicate the UFC’s success.
With the addition of White, there comes subtractions as White admits that the heavyweights days are numbered in Strikeforce. The plan is to have the heavyweight tourney finish out Q1 of 2012, and for the division to finish out with the newly crowned champ defending his title once before dissolving the weight class. White explained “We’ve been saying this a long time. There’s not enough depth in the heavyweight division to keep it competitive.”
With the loss of a division, White went on to say that this gives Strikeforce a chance to focus on all their other divisions, including the female fighters. The big elephant in the room of course was how could Strikeforce breed talent with the UFC poaching the best constantly? UFC president responds with one of the last standing star fighters Gilbert Melendez as the example.
“I can tell you this – Gilbert Melendez is pumped to stay in Strikeforce,” said White.” He’s one of the big stars in Strikeforce. If he wins his next fight and his next fight after that he will continue to defend his belt in Strikeforce, and he’s absolutely [expletive] excited about it, just so you know.”
When asked if Strikeforce would be a “feeder league” to the UFC White reiterated.
“There’s nothing wrong with being a feeder league, but that’s not what this thing is designed to be,” White said. “Watch and see what we do over the next year with Strikeforce, and you watch the talent that’s built over there. The definition of feeder league, to me, would be when guys lose, you go back to the minor leagues, meaning you have to go back down to Strikeforce and we bring you back up. When you lose in the UFC, you go somewhere else and you fight. [Strikeforce] is not going to be a feeder league.”