Here are a few things in life we all saw coming from a mile away. Liberace being gay, Ross ending up with Rachel, the 4th Hokage being Naruto's dad and we can't forget when we learned that bears DO in fact go twos in the woods. We have one more nugget to add to this list. On Friday it was announced that after their January card, Strikeforce would shut its doors, with many of it's fighters (hopefully) joining the UFC.
If there was any surprise or shock to be had from this news was that it took so long for this to happen. As soon as it was announced that Zuffa had purchased the San Jose based promotion, there wasn't a person on this planet that didn't think it would go the way of Pride after it was purchased. BUT...we were told SF would NOT be folded into the UFC and would remain a separate promotion. A fairy tale on par with the Tooth Fairy and Sasquatch.
Even as they fed us this story, many of their top fighters defected to the UFC, leaving the roster so depleted they had to cancel two separate cards on account of a lack of quality fights. If the writing wasn't plain to see on the wall in March 2011 when they were purchased, a fat lady with a megaphone singing your favorite hits was added during the last two months. You're all listeners of the podcast, so you likely already know about how we've talked ad nausea about how if managed properly, SF could have been operated as a "minor-league" promotion for the UFC, where young fighters could grow. However, we all know there's no crying over spilled milk or wondering about what soon to be defunct fight promotions could have done.
However, from the ashes of a once proud (-ish?) promotion comes the possibility for intriguing (well I do at least) story lines in the next year and a half:
Possible champ from Cesar Gracie?- The fight camp from northern California could have two tries for the UFC lightweight belt in the next year. If Nate Diaz loses against Bendo, it's highly likely that SF lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez will get his shot at the title some time before the end of 2013.
Ladies first - If SF had folded a year ago, the idea of a women's division being added would have been laughable. This, of course, was before the rise of one Ronda Rousey. While women's MMA is still lacking a stable of quality fighters, Rousey is a shaping up to look like a transcendent talent in the vein of Anderson, Bones, or GSP. If one women can carry a division on the biggest stage it's Ms. Armbar.
We'll have to be more inventive with our #10 slot - The It's Mmazing crew will have to do a bit more thinking than just plugging in the SF champ at 10 for our rankings. Son of a bitch.
What else?- SF has already been heavily raided of many of its stars (Nick Diaz, Cung Le, Dan Henderson, and Alistair Overeem, to name a few), but there are still quality fighters that will be added to the UFC roster (for example Josh Barnett, Tyron Woodley, and Gegard Mousasi). In particular, I'm looking forward to what Daniel Cormier will do. He'll be a welcome addition into either the heavyweight or light heavyweight division.
Goodbye Jimmy Lennon. Your improv when it came to announcing fighters was like comedy hour and always brought a laugh. Goodbye Frank Shamrock. Only a trained fighter can get away with being a grown man with braces and not be ridiculed for it. Also, goodbye Showtime. I'm too cheap to buy the cable network so it's not really a big loss for your boy Gooms. Strikeforce you will be missed. I leave you with one of Strikeforce's shining moments. Hey sometimes these things happen in MMA.
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