Archive for the ‘Strikeforce’ Category

MMA Manifesto – An Open Letter to Dana White

August 8, 2009

Hi Dana – I hope it is ok to call you Dana – you don’t seem like one for formalities. I know you’re really busy now, what with UFC 101 happening tonight, but there is an important topic I wanted to discuss with you. It is concerning the importance of competition and, more specifically, Strikeforce. No, not the Tito Santana-Rick Martel tag team from the late 80s – I’m talking about the MMA promotion.

Sorry, I probably confused you by calling the promotion Strikeforce rather than the name you coined for them “Strikefarce” (you are so funny and witty). I guess you are pretty peeved at Strikeforce right now for signing Fedor Emelianenko on you, but like I wrote before, you made the right choice letting him go elsewhere. Now you feel threatening by this promotion, the very same promotion you used to bestow kind words upon. You say that Fedor is going to ruin Strikeforce and that if they want to fight you then bring it on. But I think you are missing the point here – you shouldn’t feel threatened about a competitor getting stronger – you should view it as a positive.

Competition isn’t a dirty word – it’s a good thing. Competition will keep you and your organization on its toes and make sure that you don’t get complacent. Competition will also help grow the sport, which in the end means more money in your pocket. Look no further than the world that your current heavyweight champion, Brock Lesnar, came from – pro wrestling. Wrestling was on fire in the last 1990s when the WWE (nee WWF) and rival WCW were waging a full-on battle royal. The WWE’s TV ratings were twice what they are now, and combined with WCW’s equally high ratings, the sport was getting more attention and viewers than ever before. Then Vince McMahon bought up all the competitors (WCW & ECW) and the TV ratings have dropped. With MMA still in its infancy, you and the UFC can not go it alone in building the sport into a mainstream powerhouse – you need help. That is where promotions like Strikeforce and Dream and Sengoku come into play. They get your sport exposure and drum up interest without you having to put any money into it. As long as you remain the leader in the industry – which you apparently have a stranglehold on for the long run – you will do nothing but benefit from this growth of your sport.

If you don’t like the pro wrestling comparison, we can find examples in the place where you want to be – mainstream sports. The AFL brought exciting, offensive-minded football to the fans before they combined with the NFL. The WHL introduced the world to Wayne Gretzky before they joined the NHL. The ABA introduced Afros, Dr. J and the slam dunk competition to the realm of basketball. In the end all of these leagues ended up merging with their competitors, but the point is that for a period they put up strong competition to the respective leaders in their fields, causing everyones’ games to get elevated. Having a strong competitor in Strikeforce will force you to continue to put together strong PPV cards, not Rich Franklin vs. Vitor Belfort main events (because, seriously, you expect people to pay $49.99 for that?!?).

Besides, even with Fedor, Strikeforce (sorry – Strikefarce – so funny) shouldn’t be considered a dangerous rival anyways. They should be looked upon as nothing more than a minor league – a place where fighters can gain exposure and experience before you sign them to the big leagues in the UFC. This is a promotion that has a woman’s match – which, at this early stage of women competing in the sport is nothing more than a gimmick match – headlining an upcoming PPV. Maybe Strikeforce will steal some of your advertising and TV revenue and force you to pay a little more for fighters than you would have preferred, but in the long run the positives of having a strong competitor far outweigh the negatives.

I know you hope and predict that you will crush Strikeforce and force them to join your ranks, like Pride and Affliction before them. But hopefully I have made you reconsider that position.

Hugs and Kisses,

The Hoops Manifesto

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