To most casual fans, “UFC fighting” is synonymous with the sport of MMA. While the Octagon monopolizes nearly the entire mixed martial arts market, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker believes there’s enough room for more than just one player.
“There’s plenty of room for everybody. We are going to continue going down our path,” Coker told BloodyElbow.com. “I’m worried about what we’re doing. That’s what I’m focused on. I’m not worried about somebody else worrying about me.”
Although his San Jose, California based promotion faces a steep uphill battle, Coker claims Strikeforce has carved out a nice little niche for itself. Furthermore, the soft-spoken promoter claims he’s put all of his fighters in positions to be successful.
“Here’s the thing – we have our sponsors too. Believe me, we did really well on sponsorships last year,” Coker matter-of-factly said. “Rockstar, our title sponsor, has been fantastic. We have Full Tilt Poker too. And we encourage Rockstar and Full Tilt to sponsor our guys. EA Sports. Anybody that comes on board with us, like Clinch Gear, we encourage them to sponsor our guys as well.
“Think about this – this industry provides an 18-34 year old demographic that is very sponsor elusive. We can deliver. As many people as [there are that] want to work with the UFC, there’s just as many who want to come work with us.”
Coker then went on to compare himself and UFC president Dana White, as he likened their personalities to boxing promoters Don King and Bob Arum, respectively.
“Dana is kind of like the Don King. He’s out there and he’s out promoting his brand, as well as the company brand and the fighter brand,” explained Coker. “I’m more of a very direct business man.
“The guy I really liked wasn’t Don King. To me, it’s okay being the Bob Arum. In a lot of Bob’s early fights, you didn’t even know who promoted the fights. The fights were amazing, they were great, and they were focused on the athlete. That’s been my philosophy too. The stars of the show are in the cage.”