When UFC president Dana White professed everything would remain “business as usual” after his shocking purchase of Strikeforce, he wasn’t kidding. At least on the surface, nothing will change for the two MMA promotions so long as Showtime is still in the mix.
Until Strikeforce’s contract expires with the premium cable network, which apparently extends through 2014 instead of the 2012 figure first reported, Showtime will remain in the driver’s seat.
“Showtime controls the production, which includes the announcers, it includes how the show is broadcast, all those different things. So I’m sure we’ll give them input, and whether or not they take our input and implement it or not, is entirely up to them,” UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta stated during Monday’s conference call.
Showtime bigwig Ken Hershman and White have exchanged countless verbal jabs throughout the years, so it’s highly likely any advice will fall on deaf ears. Nonetheless, Fertitta believes all options are on the table as the Octagon continues its mission to conquer the world.
“We talk to different networks all the time and as you guys know, we have the ability now, and we’ve always had the ability under our contract with Viacom and Spike to do shows on network TV and on subscription, which HBO and Showtime fall into, but so far we have not been able to do a deal with any of those networks that makes sense for us from a financial standpoint, from a business standpoint,” Fertitta stated.
“We haven’t even had a chance to sit down and meet the Showtime guys yet, as far as what the future holds, but as of right now, there’s a contract in place where Strikeforce is going to deliver 16 fights to Showtime. If they want to do something beyond that, then we’ll certainly sit down and talk with them.”
“Diaz vs. Daley” on April 9th marks the first major Strikeforce show under the UFC’s watch.