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How much did Bellator influence the UFC/SF deal?
With the (very) recent Strikeforce/UFC deal announced, there's basically just Zuffa MMA and Bellator in the big leagues at this point.
It doesn't seem like this was a heavily planned absorption by Dana White, as he's been bashing Strikeforce and their fighters as recently as last week.
To me it seemed as if the UFC management had all their attention on Strikeforce and got blindsided by Bellator's big MTV deal. For those of you that don't get MTV, free live fights are now broadcasted every Saturday night on a major cable channel.
Before this went down I was sure Strikeforce and Bellator would be striking up a deal. What does everyone else think? Was the purchase of Strikeforce in part a reaction to Bellator's new MTV contract?
I think if it did it was pretty far down the list of reasons why the UFC would buy Strikeforce. If it was such a big deal, they would have gone after Bellator, not Strikeforce.
The UFC doesn't have to worry about Bellator's MTV contract, because the UFC has commercials on MTV all the time for PPVs, as well as the general MMA fanbase, only to a fractional degree, translates over the MTV fanbase (the lesser half of the 18-40 bracket). Not to mention UFC commercials possibly during Strikeforce events, and vice versa.
Buying Strikeforce gets the UFC great access to TOP talent. Something Bellator lacks on a larger scale.
Bellator isn't "the big leagues" of MMA in my opinion. To be in the big leagues, you need top talent. The local cable sports access channel will play local MMA reruns (Which I DVR!!!). They are no more in the big leagues than Bellator. Bellator has just had higher level fighters, so they've made enough waves to scoop up a solid deal with a cable station. The same situation as EliteXC and Strikeforce.
The best analogy I can think of to describe the relationship between Bellator and the UFC is: The flea on the lions back.
I think it had more to do with Sengoku going under and Dream possibly following. MMA needs a developmental system badly and Strikeforce is the sort of company that allows for fighters to compete and main event in the indie's.
My big hope is that they see in Strikeforce and Showtime a company that will run these huge tournaments that will bring acclaim and respect to the winners (that the UFC can sign).
It had zero to do with it this isn't the kind of thing that happens the spur of the moment they must have been having talks about this for quite some time. The UFC has a great need for a high quality developmental league.
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