The following press release has been issued:
ZUFFA, LLC SUBSIDIARY ANNOUNCES PURCHASE OF STRIKEFORCE™
Las Vegas, Nevada –Forza, LLC, a subsidiary of Zuffa, LLC, which owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship® brand, announced today that it has purchased the assets of Explosion Entertainment, LLC dba Strikeforce®. Under the terms of the deal, all Strikeforce fighter contracts will be honored, as will its broadcast agreement with Showtime® Networks, Inc. Strikeforce will continue to operate as a separate business and current Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker has signed a long-term employment agreement with the company.
“We have worked hard to make mixed martial arts the fastest growing sport in the world,” UFC President Dana White said. “We’ve spent countless hours getting this sport regulated and taking the Octagon® all over the world. Acquiring the Strikeforce assets allows us to continue to develop this sport into a global force.”
“We intend to operate Strikeforce as a separate business much like we did with the WEC for many years,” Lorenzo Fertitta, Chairman and CEO of Zuffa, said. “We look forward to working with Scott Coker, and the entire Strikeforce and Showtime teams to continue to provide quality content for mixed martial arts fans.
“We’ve long admired Scott Coker and the Strikeforce business he launched and developed,” Fertitta continued. “We feel that together with Scott, we can continue to build both Strikeforce and the UFC.”
Currently, Strikeforce holds 16 events annually across the United States. The organization will continue to do so under new ownership and fans can look forward to exciting fights featuring their favorite Strikeforce athletes. While there are currently no plans to bring Strikeforce fighters to the UFC, a new strategy to strengthen Strikeforce’s talented roster is being developed.
“This is an important day for the sport of mixed martial arts,” Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said. “We are excited to work with Lorenzo Fertitta, Frank Fertitta, Dana White and everyone at the UFC on the quest to make MMA the biggest sport in the world. Fans can continue to expect quality Strikeforce shows and we look forward to giving our athletes an even broader platform on which to perform.”
Strikeforce was represented in the transaction by Evolution Media Capital, a media and sports investment bank affiliated with Creative Artists Agency.
The next Strikeforce event is planned for Friday, April 1 in Stockton, Calif. In the main event of the Strikeforce Challengers card held at the Stockton Arena, lightweights Justin Wilcox (10-3) and Rodrigo Damm (9-4) are set to collide. The fight will air on Showtime at 11 p.m. ET/PT.
Strikeforce also has an event on April 9 at the Valley View Casino Arena in San Diego featuring a welterweight title fight between Nick Diaz (24-7-1) and Paul Daley (27-9-2). Then, in June, Strikeforce continues its Heavyweight Grand Prix at the American Airlines Center in Dallas with a much anticipated heavyweight clash pitting Alistair Overeem (34-11-1) vs. Fabricio Werdum (14-4-1). All bouts live and subject to change.