Las Vegas based Zuffa LLC, the parent company of Mixed Martial Arts’ largest and most successful organization the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), has agreed in principle to purchase Strikeforce, which is the UFC’s largest competitor in the sport.
UFC president and part-owner Dana White confirmed to Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com this morning that Zuffa had purchased Strikeforce. In a video interview with Helwani, White stated that the deal for Zuffa to purchase Strikeforce happened relatively quick and was done so to accomodate Zuffa’s need for more fights and fighters, as they look to expand and promote the sport and their company worldwide. Zuffa purchased Strikeforce from Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment, which also runs the NHL’s San Jose Sharks.
In 2008, Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment had previously agreed to a partnership with Strikeforce’s parent company, West Coast Entertainment, which is a San Jose-based promotion created by Strikeforce CEO and founder Scott Coker. Since 1985, Coker has been promoting the sports of Kickboxing, K-1, and Mixed Martial Arts and will remain in charge of Strikeforce, as Zuffa plans to keep things "business as usual" with the promotion operating separately from the UFC.
This is not the first time Zuffa has purchased its biggest competitor in the sport. Exactly four years ago, in March 2007, Zuffa purchased the Japanese promotion Pride from Dream Stage Entertainment. The original thought after that deal was that Zuffa would operate the UFC and Pride as separate entities to compete against each other in a championship, like we see with the NFL’s Super Bowl between AFC and NFC champions and in MLB’s World Series with the AL and NL champions.
This arrangement never materialized due to various reasons, one of which the two organizations operated on opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean. However, four years later, Zuffa may now get another shot at forming a year’s end "Super Bowl" or "World Series" of MMA between UFC and Strikeforce champions.