If ever proof were needed that the aura of death hangs over the Strikeforce brand, look no further than its recent press conference.
While the show always played second fiddle to the UFC in terms of stature, there were plenty of press conferences which had CEO Scott Coker addressing a room full of reporters as he talked about the upcoming fights.
Fast-forward to this week, via the Zuffa buyout of the brand last year, and those days are but a memory. Coker - and the Strikeforce fighters - find themselves facing an empty room. Also empty are the fighters’ sponsorship funds.
With interest in Strikeforce now palpably low across the MMA fanbase, sponsors are staying away and the fighers are finding their shorts patchless come fight night. Tim Kennedy was absolutely furious, and he told the four assembled reporters exactly how he felt.
Via MMA Junkie:
“Take a picture. There's not a single goddamn reporter here. There's four of you guys. This is two title fights for Strikeforce. It's crystal clear that nobody gives a [expletive]. They don't.
“I knock Rockhold out on Saturday night? Changes nothing for me. Nothing in, like, what media publications are going to cover me, who talks about me, sponsors I'm going to get. Do you know how much money I didn't make in sponsors for this fight because nobody cares about Strikeforce? It's insane.
“I'm fighting one of the best fighters on the planet. Not top 10 – like top five. I'm very confident that both Luke and I would clean house all the way to the top one or two guys in the UFC that could finally give us a fight, and nobody cares.
“It doesn't make any sense. Just the ignorance of the sport and the athletes, there's no way we can change that unless you let us fight other guys outside of the organization, and that's just not going to happen.”
Ironically Strikeforce’s card this weekend contains more household names than last week’s UFC 147 card, including Nate Marquardt, Keith Jardine and Randy Couture’s son Ryan, who is carving out his own reputation as a talent.
Pre-Zuffa buyout this card would likely have attracted a lot more attention but the talent-stripping that has taken place and the uncertain future of the brand as a whole means that an air of pointlessness hangs over Strikeforce activities these days. The fighters feel it and obviously so do the media. Surely the Showtime network can’t be happy with this?