It's finally official.
While Strikeforce's upcoming January event has long been expected to serve as the promotion's final card to broadcast on Showtime, the company today confirmed the rumors.
"Since 2009, Showtime has been a great partner and we appreciate its support of Strikeforce and our athletes," Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker stated. "For our final event, we've loaded the card with some outstanding fights. This is going to be a memorable night for the sport of mixed martial arts."
"Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine" takes place Jan. 12 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. The main card airs on Showtime, and Showtime Extreme carries four of the evening's six preliminary bouts.
Today's announcement did not confirm that Strikeforce will be completely dissolved following the Jan. 12 event, though that seems the most likely scenario. Strikeforce officials weren't immediately available for comment but MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) confirmed with multiple sources close to the promotion that while Zuffa will retain ownership of the brand there are currently no plans to host additional events.
Meanwhile, Showtime officials have publicly expressed a desire to remain in the MMA business, but their next move remains unclear. For now, the company declined to speculate past Jan. 12.
"We are proud of our association with Scott Coker and the entire Strikeforce team," Showtime Sports Executive Vice President and General Stephen Espinoza stated. "From Gina Carano to Ronda Rousey, Fedor Emelianenko to Daniel Cormier, Nick Diaz to Gilbert Melendez, Showtime Sports and Strikeforce have built some of the biggest stars in the sport and have produced many of the most watched and most intriguing fights in the history of MMA.
"We look forward to another night of competitive and explosive Strikeforce fights on Showtime on Jan. 12 in OKC."
Additionally, a 194-pound catchweight contest between 13-time UFC veteran Ed Herman (20-8 MMA, 0-0 SF) and former Strikeforce champion Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (16-3 MMA, 6-1 SF) has been added to the evening's lineup. Souza had been expected to face Lorenz Larkin (13-0 MMA, 4-0 SF) on the card, but injury forced "The Monsoon" to withdraw from the event.
With the announcement, the "Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine" lineup now includes:
MAIN CARD (Showtime)
Nate Marquardt vs. Tarec Saffiedine - for welterweight title
Daniel Cormier vs. Dion Staring
Josh Barnett vs. Nandor Guelmino
Gegard Mousasi vs. Mike Kyle
Ed Herman vs. Ronaldo Souza
PRELIMINARY CARD (Showtime Extreme)
Pat Healy vs. Jorge Masvidal*
Roger Gracie vs. Anthony Smith
Tim Kennedy vs. Trevor Smith
Ryan Couture vs. KJ Noons
PRELIMINARY CARD (un-aired)
Jorge Gurgel vs. Adriano Martins
Michael Bravo vs. Estevan Payan
* - Not officially announced