When Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, purchased Strikeforce this past March, most believed it was only a matter of time before the UFC would absorb their new company and transfer over the fighters of their choosing.
For those who assumed Zuffa would determine when to pull the plug on Strikeforce, which would most likely happen the very second their Showtime contract expired, UFC president Dana White (Pictured) professed the fate of their little brother lies completely in the hands of the premium cable network.
“Are you assuming we’re gonna shut Strikeforce down?” White asked during Wednesday’s press conference in Denver, Colorado. “Don’t listen to the buzz. Who knows what’s gonna happen? The way that this thing works is, it depends on Showtime. The ball’s in their court.
“They’re gonna decide whether they’re gonna keep Strikeforce around or not. We’re not, they will.”
Showtime might be the ones determining if they want to remain in the mixed martial arts business, but Zuffa hasn’t left them with too many superstars to work with. Over the last several months, contractual verbiage has allowed three out of Strikeforce’s five men’s champions to abandon their titles and compete in the UFC.
In other words, Showtime might own the chessboard, but Zuffa is controlling the pieces and will eventually leave Showtime with nothing significant to play with.
It was initially reported Strikeforce had roughly two years remaining on their current deal with Showtime. However, during a follow up conference call, it was clarified that their broadcast partnership could be extend until 2014. Although, the clock might be ticking much faster than either of those two timelines are suggesting.
After today’s presser wrapped, White stated Showtime has another month to decide if they want to renew or cancel a five-year broadcast agreement they arranged back in February of 2009.