|UFC President Dana White announced that Strikeforce was purchase parent company Zuffa on Saturday. (QMI Agency/Michael Peake)
The UFC has taken another giant step toward global domination in the mixed martial arts world by purchasing its main U.S. competitor.
Company President Dana White announced Saturday in an interview with mmafighting.com that Ultimate Fighting Championship's parent company Zuffa had bought rival Strikeforce for an undisclosed amount.
“I’ve been saying for a year-and-a-half that we need more fighters,” White told Ariel Helwani.
“Let’s face the facts, Strikeforce has a brand that fans have come to like,” he said. “They do have a following, people enjoy the fights that they’re putting on, and it made sense to us.”
White has often said the UFC’s long-term plan is to make MMA “the biggest sport in the world.”
But to attain that goal, the company needs to hold more fights, more often, which means the roster needs to grow.
White refused to say exactly how long the deal has been in the works, but he said it happened “quickly.”
The UFC released no official comment Saturday, but a spokesman said there would be an announcement Monday.
White has had plenty of harsh words for Strikeforce in the past and he admitted it was “surreal” that the UFC now owns the MMA organization.
But before fans get too excited, he said the UFC has no plans at this point to merge the two companies or to line up bouts pitting fighters from one organization against the other.
“We won’t be doing any superfights!” White said adamantly.
It’s “business as usual” for now, he said, explaining Strikeforce will continue to be run as a separate company operating out of its head office in San Jose, California.
All fighters contracts will be also upheld and the organization’s events will still be carried on TV by Showtime, White said, adding Scott Coker will remain as Strikeforce CEO.
“Can we make some tweaks, with our experience and knowledge?” White asked rhetorically. “Absolutely!”
He said the UFC will be able to help Strikeforce expand internationally and some of its fighters could be added to Strikeforce to bolster its roster.
But don’t expect Strikeforce’s top name, heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, to finally fight in the UFC against the top competition in the world.
White said Strikeforce fighters won’t compete in the UFC at least until their contracts expire.
“Fedor is a Strikeforce, Showtime fighter,” the UFC boss said. “And he will continue to be in Strikeforce on Showtime.”