Today (Dec.15) Strikeforce and Showtime Sports called for a special media call to make a special announcement.
Just minutes before the conference call began the organizations sent out a press release detailing the partnership agreement between the two companies.
The call featured Stephen Espinoza, UFC President Dana White and Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker.
Below are highlights from the call. Special thanks to MMANation.com
- “I’m fired up about this deal and I’ve got the guys who are fighting in Strikeforce fired up about it as well.”
- Has “no idea” if the heavyweight roster will move to the UFC.
- Gilbert Melendez is “f***ing excited” to stay in Strikeforce. Will continue to stay in Strikeforce regardless of how many times he defends his belt.
- Not sure if a Showtime pay-per-view would take place, but won’t count it out.
- Coker runs the day-to-day, White is involved in big picture. White will be at all Strikeforce events as well.
- “Let’s cut the bull****, me and (Ken) Hershman aren’t friends with each other.” He is extremely excited with the new Showtime regime.
- “I love getting involved with networks… taking things and building them. There’s only so many guys that can fight in the UFC. We’re going to take these guys, build these stars, and get this going.”
- “No clue” about crossover for fighters in Strikeforce and UFC.
- There is a ton of talent out there for them to build these “incredible divisions”.
- With UFC and Strikeforce combined, White has 40 shows on his plate. “My schedule next year is going to be ridiculous. People don’t even think it’s going to be humanly possible, but I disagree.”
- Strikeforce is not a secondary brand. The champions will be considered highly-regarded.
- When asked about Strikeforce fighters receiving “Fight Night” bonuses: “We’ll see, I don’t have those answers yet but I would have to say yes.”
- Showtime wanted to have one final heavyweight fight post-tournament before the division was disbanded.
- “There’s nothing wrong with being a feeder league, but that’s not what this thing’s going to be.”
- Strikeforce is going to focus on lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight and women’s divisions.
- After heavyweight grand prix, the winner will fight a top-ranked heavyweight (possibly in the UFC) and then Strikeforce will do away with the heavyweight division.
- Will continue to run two women’s divisions.
- Fights in December and January will eventually lead to title fights for welterweight and light heavyweight divisions.
- Not sure how the events will be spaced out.
- Cormier vs. Barnett will hopefully take place at the end of the first quarter of 2012.
- Haven’t decided the next opponent for Miesha Tate.
- Ronda Rousey would like to fight in both weight classes.
- Deal kicks off January 7th with Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine.
- Prelims to air live on Showtime Extreme.
- Maintaining the same broadcast team to commentate the fights.
- Six to eight events this year, options for additional events beyond that.
- No more Challengers series.
- The events will work organically, whenever the timing works for both Showtime and Strikeforce.
- It is a possibility that the deal with M-1 may have hit the brakes because of this announcement. “Strikeforce is our primary focus.”
- “It would not surprise me at all” to see Gina Carano return to fighting at some point.
- Strikeforce will air on Super Channel in Canada.