Showtime sports and Zuffa put on another spectacular Strikeforce card this past weekend as we saw one of the most viscous knockouts from newly crowned weltereweight champ Nate Marquardt, along with another impressive title defense by Luke Rockhold. Unfortunately for the promotion, they still are not pulling the mainstream interest that big brother UFC has been basking in. Showtime president Stephen Espinoza may be on to something that could potentially spark the respect needed from the casual fan for Strikeforce champions.
“I hope that we’re getting the story out there clearly enough that these are two high-level organizations, he said. “You can make the analogy — the one I like to use is the AFL and the NFL. Before the NFL as we currently know it existed, there were two leagues and they’d play once a year in the Super Bowl. And that’s how the Super Bowl came about, was a championship between two different leagues. I think a best case-scenario for the fans that I talk to and I’m sure the fans that you talk to, [they] would like to see some structure like that and sort of answer those questions about who is the best middleweight, who is the best welterweight, all those kinds of things going forward.”
Hardcore and casual fans alike agree, superfights are of interest and can clear up a lot of questions of the difference of talent from each organization. Espinoza, despite differences with UFC president Dana White in the past is confident that something can be worked out to bring the fans what they want while making both promotions happy.
“Maybe at some point with all the creative minds thinking about this issue, we can come up with a solution and something which satisfies the fans who want sort of ‘unified’ champions, or essentially to answer the question, ‘Who is the No. 1 best in the cage at a particular weight class?’ he said. “I would love to see that happen at some point as well. I’m no different than any other fan. I’d love to answer that question, too.”