MMA’s worst kept secret was confirmed Thursday evening. Strikeforce’s January 12th event will mark its last on Showtime, which ultimately means the UFC’s little brother will close its doors for the final time once the curtain drops on the show.
“Since 2009, Showtime has been a great partner and we appreciate its support of Strikeforce and our athletes,” said Scott Coker (Pictured). “For our final event, we’ve loaded the card with some outstanding fights. This is going to be a memorable night for the sport of mixed martial arts.”
The writing has been all over the fence for quite some time, with Showtime cancelling back-to-back events in September and November acting as telltale signs. In addition, they allowed bantamweight champ and skyrocketing superstar Ronda Rousey to bounce to the UFC while still under contract.
“We are proud of our association with Scott Coker and the entire Strikeforce team,” said Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports. “From Gina Carano to Ronda Rousey, Fedor Emelianenko to Daniel Cormier, Nick Diaz to Gilbert Melendez, Showtime Sports and Strikeforce have built some of the biggest stars in the sport and have produced many of the most watched and most intriguing fights in the history of MMA.
“We look forward to another night of competitive and explosive Strikeforce fights on Showtime on January 12 in OKC.”
Strikeforce was hoping to end things with a bang, but three title tilts quickly shrunk to one courtesy of the injury bug. Lightweight king Gilbert Melendez and middleweight champ Luke Rockhold were both forced to withdraw from their respective scraps.
Welterweight champion Nate Marquardt will now headline the festivities opposite Tarec Saffiedine.
Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma hosts Strikeforce’s finale on the network.
Showtime will broadcast the main card at 10PM ET/PT.
Here is the show’s complete lineup:
Estevan Payan vs. Michael Bravo
Jorge Gurgel vs. Adriano Martins
Ryan Couture vs. K.J. Noons
Trevor Smith vs. Tim Kennedy
Roger Gracie vs. Anthony Smith
Pat Healy vs. TBD
Ed Herman vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
Mike Kyle vs. Gegard Mousasi
Nandor Guelmino vs. Josh Barnett
Danie Cormier vs. Dion Staring
Tarec Saffiedine vs. Nate Marquardt (Strikeforce welterweight champion)