Staff Columnists
BENT: Dana White countering Strikeforce on Showtime an unnecessary move
By By: Jason Bent, MMATorch Columnist
Aug 12, 2009 - 6:35:27 PM

Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg will be upon us Saturday night and so far, this landmark card has experienced so many problems it's as if it is destined to fail. The main event is historic, as two females will headline a major card for once and not be duking it out in a child's swimming pool filled with gravy. The audience will still be guys in Affliction shirts and holding red cups, but these girls are fighting for real as athletes and will be fighting the full tilt boogie of five-five minute rounds.

This card has gone through more changes than colors on a Hypercolor shirt from the 1980's, and much like those shirts, this one sucks. It's a shame, because this card had some good bouts scheduled, including a Joe Riggs vs. Nick Diaz bout until Riggs had some drug problems. Not his usual, but some adverse reaction to a drug which we imagine was prescribed. Diaz was then set to face "Mr. Greenlight" Jay Hieron but then missed his drug test altogether and has now been replaced with Jesse "JT Money" Taylor in a bout which is just nothing special or interesting at all.

Josh Thomson was set to defend his belt against Gilbert Melendez but had to pull out due to injury and now Mitsuhiro Ishida takes his place in what is now a bout for the "interim" title. Alistair Overeem was set to defend his heavyweight title against Fabricio Werdum but should have been doing so against Brett Rogers but now will not be defending his belt at all due to his hand still bothering him. So instead we get Fabricio Werdum vs. Mike Kyle in another bout we could probably not care less about for the most part. So, the bouts which were booked looked at least to be the best they could come up with, and for what they were, looked to be worth taking a look at. Things changed and for the worse.

The one bout which matters outside of the main event is Renato "Babalu" Sobral vs. Gegard Mousasi for the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship. These two men are outstanding fighters and are two positive reasons to watch Strikeforce and shining examples of how some of the world's better fighters are not signed to the UFC. These two are signed for the 'EA Sports MMA 2010' game and are also examples of how you really don't matter if you aren't signed to the UFC because most folks don't know either man. Those who do are likely to say they know "Babalu" and this is because he did compete in the UFC. At any rate, this is a solid fight and the one thing outside of the main event that will cause you to feel that perhaps it was worth your time to tune in.

The main event pitting Gina Carano vs. Cristiane "Cris Cyborg" Santos is the real deal in that it is one main event bout that Strikeforce has which no one else can match. The only reason is, of course, that the UFC does not employ women to do anything except carry cards with numbers on them and then wants us to believe they are celebrities but these are the only female fighters who matter and they are facing off in a match up most of us have been hoping for. We hope for it because it is the only women's bout which matters to us, and the problem with that is that there really is nowhere for either to go after Saturday night as there is no one for them to fight.

Erin Toughill?


The crazy lady who was on 'American Gladiators' and terrorized her ex-husband?


There are no fights after this one for either woman, and this truly is more of an exhibition than anything else. It is, however, important as neither woman is really being exploited at all and both are being treated as athletes. Carano sells based on her looks and Cyborg wears underwear with a fly but they are skilled and belong inside of a cage in terms of at least being capable athletes. This isn't a catfight at a bar or "foxy boxing" and is likely to be the one and only female MMA bout to ever have such significance. Because I do not see female MMA taking off and being a huge draw for the simple fact that most red-blooded young men do not enjoy seeing women getting beaten up. Even if it is being done by another woman. Now, put one woman in a black corset and give her a cat o' nine tails and maybe you can market it to some of the men but with gloves on and inside of a cage; it will be a hard sell to say the least.

We have firmly established Carano vs. Cyborg as an exhibition, but it is a legitimate athletic competition which matters more because of its taboo match up of women which draws in some sort of freak show aspect. It is a real fight, between two real martial artists but no one cares about this fight because they truly care about settling the debate once and for all as to who the best female mixed martial artist is today. If you truly do want to know who the best female mixed martial artist is, I apologize but I also want you to name me the other eight in your pound-for-pound list.

This card has been changed, altered and what was once a circus has turned into a crappy little sideshow with Carano vs. Cyborg and Sobral vs. Mousasi being the only reasons to tune in. Strikeforce has signed Fedor but they sure as hell haven't promoted this show and his signing does little to help unless he can physically force Joe Riggs, Nick Diaz and Alistair Overeem to fight in bouts which could at least be somewhat compelling. For now, Fedor can sit cageside and smile. Because he can't speak English and he sure as hell can't fight for them yet; unless they have now changed the card to include a "Battle Royale" for an "interim" Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship. Which, I could actually see happening given how this one has turned from promising into poor.

Yet, Dana White feels the need to counter this offering by broadcasting 'UFC 100' for free on Spike TV. Not the whole show, mind you, but here is the listing for what they will be airing at 10pm EST:

Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir
Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping
Alan Belcher vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama
Stephan Bonnar vs. Mark Coleman
Shannon Gugerty vs. Matt Grice
Jon Jones vs. Jake O'Brien

Thanks, UFC.

Many folks still haven't even paid the cable bill for the purchase of the UFC 100 PPV and one month later the choice has been made to air the best parts of the show for free on Spike TV.

Look, this show did 1.71 million PPV buys and was covered on ESPN and yes, everyone has seen the aforementioned main card bouts. However, it is a true disservice to your fans when you told them how important it was to PAY for this show, when they could have watched it for FREE a month later and this time you will actually get to see Jon Jones vs. Jake O'Brien and Stephan Bonnar vs. Mark Coleman, which were two fights most of us actually wanted to see.

So, Dana White comes out the bigger bitch on a night which will be topped off by two women fighting inside of a cage. If Strikeforce does not matter, why then, is he countering their programming with Brock Lesnar, who is the UFC's biggest star at this moment? Why not go ahead and show Rashad Evans vs. Lyoto Machida from UFC 98 and use that to set up some talk about Evans on 'The Ultimate Fighter'? Using Brock means he is going for the jugular and most fans who paid to see Brock do it to Mir once will gladly flip over and watch the replay of it for free. It was an awesome performance. Getting to see some undercard fights along with it, makes it amazing.

It just is wrong to the fans who paid for this show and it shows that while Dana is going for the jugular, that he feels the need to compete against Strikeforce. If your competition truly does not matter, then let them fail on their own. If you truly believe they are incompetent and their efforts are futile, why then would you want to smack them around?

Beating up on other MMA promotions is akin to the varsity football team jumping into the gym to play dodgeball with the special education kids. Is there really a need to slam them with the ball and will this make you look better to others? Probably not, but it will make those meatheads feel better about themselves and Dana White certainly seems to need a lot of self-affirmation.

The UFC is the only MMA promotion that matters and is to MMA what the NFL is to football. Period. End of discussion.

There is however other places for you to watch football, such as the CFL and last I checked, the NFL was not bumrushing into Canada with exclusive footage from last year's Super Bowl game to entice viewers away from CFL programming.

Dana White, accept that you are the President of the biggest company in the world and come to the realization that there is no competition. Carano vs. Cyborg is going to get the hardcore viewers but these guys will DVR your Spike show and watch both. Carano vs. Cyborg is not drawing casual fans and is on Showtime, so that lessens their audience as well.

Strikeforce recently signed Fedor and this is ultimately what pissed off Dana White. Yes, the UFC did not need Fedor and were right to not acquiesce and hand over the store, but the UFC wanted Fedor and Dana White feels a little embarrassed that this "best heavyweight in the world" has now signed with a group such as Strikeforce.

Scott Coker and Strikeforce were no competition to the UFC before and signing Fedor does little to make them a player at all. The problem is that signing Fedor has caused the UFC to put them on their radar and is now looking to kill them.

Fedor will do little to cement his legacy by beating up on guys like Fabricio Werdum and so too will the UFC by beating up on Strikeforce.

I don't blame them for wanting to stomp a mudhole in the opposition as they did to 'Affliction' and Elite XC but it has come to a point where everyone knows that no one can compete with the UFC. Strikeforce knows they can't compete with the UFC and are just trying to offer an alternative and eke out a living in the MMA world on a decidedly lower rung of the ladder.

Either Strikeforce is no competition and doesn't matter to you or they are and they do. By airing UFC 100 so soon and for free to counter Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg it says that Strikeforce is competition and that the UFC views them as such. I personally do not believe the UFC would have countered Carano vs. Cyborg had Fedor not signed with Strikeforce.

This is what I think it is all about and why Dana White wishes to kill Strikeforce.

However, is it really impressive to beat up on Strikeforce this weekend when their recent problems surrounding this card show they are more than capable of doing it by themselves?

This move is just unnecessary and it is wrong to freely give away something you told everyone to buy just one month ago. This could set a precedent where some casual fans do not buy the PPV and expect them to be aired on Spike at a later date. HBO boxing shows their PPV bouts for free the following week and this tactic has actually hurt their PPV numbers but in the end it helps as they are feeding themselves by adding more subscribers.

The UFC is doing no such thing with Spike and are giving away something huge to counter the programming of something which is decidedly small.

Dana White has felt the need to come to a knife fight with an AK-47 and it simply makes him look more paranoid and very much like the football players picking on the kids in special education classes.

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