Strikeforce is a U.S.-based mixed martial arts (MMA) and kickboxing organization based in San Jose, California. It is headed by CEO Scott Coker and owned by Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment, operators of the HP Pavilion and the San Jose Sharks. Its live events and fights are currently shown on Showtime in the US and on Super Channel in Canada. The promotion debuted on CBS on November 7, 2009 with their event Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers.
Strikeforce was founded as a kickboxing organization. It became involved with MMA in 2006 with the Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Gracie event on March 10, 2006, at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. The event was California's first regulated MMA event and broke the previous record for largest audience at a MMA event in the United States, with its 18,265 in attendance. The record was since broken by K-1 HERO'S Dynamite!! USA, although Shamrock vs. Gracie still retains the paid attendance record of 17,465. In February 2008, Strikeforce held its first event outside California with Strikeforce: At The Dome at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington. Since then it has held four additional events outside California: October 2008 in Broomfield, Colorado, two during June 2009 in St. Louis, Missouri and Kent, Washington, and in November 2009 in Chicago, Illinois.
In March 2008, Strikeforce partnered with NBC to broadcast weekly highlight and fighter-profile series, Strikeforce on NBC from April 12. In February 2009, Strikeforce purchased several assets, including a video library and several fighter-contracts, including Nick Diaz, Jake Shields, Robbie Lawler and Scott Smith from ProElite, owner of the defunct EliteXC promotion. Days later it also announced it had agreed to a three-year broadcast deal with Showtime for up to 16 events per year, as well as a deal with CBS for an option to produce up to four events for them. In addition to Strikeforce's primary events being broadcast on Showtime, it also announced it would produce ShoMMA: Strikeforce Challengers, an event-series similar to ShoXC and ShoBox, where they would highlight up-and-coming fighters.
During August 2009, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker announced that they had signed formal alliances with Japanese MMA-promotion Dream and Russian promotion M-1 Global. Coker said the partnership would allow for co-promotion and fighter exchanges for events both in the US and Japan, and he mentioned Shinya Aoki versus Josh Thomson or Gilbert Melendez as well as Melvin Manhoef versus Robbie Lawler creating the best match ups possible that would not have existed before.
On August 15, 2009, Strikeforce was available to be viewed online through the Showtime website. For a small cost "Strikeforce: All Access" is an online interactive event for the fans that streams simultaneously with the live event enabling the user multiple camera angles of the fights such as the "cage cam" exclusively offered by Showtime. A small camera is attached to the referee and fans are able to see from their perspective in real time. "Strikeforce: All Access" adds other features such as pause and instant replay. This was not the first time Strikeforce events were streamed on the Showtime website but was the first time the live stream was available to audiences and internet users outside the United States such as in Europe, Japan, Brazil, and Canada.
Strikeforce has major sponsorship deals, Rockstar Energy Drink is the official energy drink of Strikeforce. This in addition to having sponsors from Electronic Arts Video Games, Bodog and Full Tilt Poker. Strikeforce is also expected to air events live on prime time television on CBS starting in 2009. Their collaboration with DREAM will soon lead to Strikeforce events being held in Japan. Some notable fighters signed by Strikeforce in 2009 include Fedor Emelianenko, Gegard Mousasi, Dan Henderson, Marius Žaromskis, Muhammed Lawal, Melvin Manhoef, Nick Diaz, KJ Noons, and Bobby Lashley.
First female championshipEdit
In June 2009, Strikeforce announced its August 15 bout between Gina Carano and Cris "Cyborg" Santos would be for its newly-created female MMA 145 pounds (66 kg) championship. The bout would also historically be the first women's match to headline a card by a major U.S. organization. It was aired on the Showtime premium cable channel where Santos won the fight by TKO with one second left in the first round.
After the events CEO Scott Coker said he was looking at holding eight-fighter female tournaments at both 145 and 135 pounds (61 kg) possibly as early as before the end of 2009. The winner at 145 lb. would then become the number one contender for Santos. it was announced in late November 2009 that Strikeforce would debut in Florida for their first event in 2010 (Strikeforce: Miami on January 30 in Sunrise, Florida). It was also announced that the event would be headlined by Santos' first defense of her championship, during which viewers would watch her defeat Dutch fighter Marloes Coenen.
Arrival of Fedor EmelianenkoEdit
On August 3, 2009, Fedor Emelianenko signed a 3 fight contract with Strikeforce. On November 7, 2009, he made his Strikeforce debut at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers on a nationally televised card on CBS. Emelianenko faced Brett Rogers, and won via knock out in the 2nd round. Emelianenko proved to be a huge rating draw, bringing in just under 5.5 million viewers. Emelianenkos' next fight was at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum. Emelianenko suffered his first loss in 10 years to Fabricio Werdum, via submission.
Emelianenko next fought as part of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Tournament. He lost again, to Antonio Silva, via doctor stoppage. Emelianenko was battered by Silva during the second round, causing his right eye to swell shut.
Purchase By Zuffa, LLCEdit
On March 12, 2011 Dana White revealed on AOL to Ariel Helwani that Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of the UFC, had purchased Strikeforce. White went on to explain that Strikeforce will operate as an independent promotion, and that Scott Coker will continue to run the promotion. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker announced the return of Fedor Emelianenko on an unspecified July or August event and said that Zuffa-owned company would continue to co-promote with M-1 Global.
Strikeforce employs the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. Ordinary matches consist of three five-minute rounds, while championship matches are five five-minute rounds. All rounds have a one-minute break between them. Prior to the acquisition by Zuffa, Strikeforce did not allow elbows to the head of a grounded opponent. Previous to June 2009, all women's bouts in Strikeforce consisted of three three-minute rounds as opposed to the men's five-minute rounds. However, on June 16, 2009, Strikeforce announced that it had received approval from the Washington- and California State Athletic Commissions to use five-minute rounds for all women's bouts, including five five-minute rounds for its championship bouts.
Every men's and women's round competition is five minutes in duration. Title matches have five such rounds, non-title matches have three, and all rounds have a one-minute break between them.
- See also: Mixed martial arts weight classes
The UFC currently uses five weight classes:
- Bantamweight: 126 to 135 lb
- Featherweight: 136 to 145 lb
- Lightweight: 146 to 155 lb
- Welterweight: 156 to 170 lb
- Middleweight: 171 to 185 lb
- Light Heavyweight: 186 to 205 lb
- Heavyweight: 206 to 265 lb
- Welterweight: 126 to 135 pounds (57 to 61 kg)
- Middleweight: 136 to 145 pounds (62 to 66 kg)
Matches usually end via:
- Submission: a fighter clearly taps on his/her opponent, the mat or his/her opponent verbally submits.
- Knockout: a fighter falls from a legal blow and is either unconscious or unable to immediately continue.
- Technical Knockout (TKO): If a fighter cannot continue, the fight is ended as a technical knockout. Technical knockouts can be classified into three categories:
- referee stoppage: (the referee determines a fighter cannot "intelligently defend" himself; if warnings to the fighter to improve his position or defense go unanswered—generally, two warnings are given, about 5 seconds apart)
- doctor stoppage (a ringside doctor due to injury or impending injury, as when blood flows into the eyes and blinds a fighter)
- corner stoppage (a fighter's own cornerman signals defeat for their own fighter)
- Judges' Decision: Depending on scoring, a match may end as:
- unanimous decision (all three judges score a win for fighter A)
- majority decision (two judges score a win for fighter A, one judge scores a draw)
- split decision (two judges score a win for fighter A, one judge scores a win for fighter B)
- unanimous draw (all three judges score a draw)
- majority draw (two judges score a draw, one judge scoring a win)
- split draw (one judge scores a win for fighter A, one judge scores a win for fighter B, and one judge scores a draw)
- disqualification (outcome can be overturned due to testing positive for banned substances)
Note: In the event of a draw, it is not necessary that the fighters' total points be equal. However, in a unanimous or split draw, each fighter does score an equal number of win judgments from the three judges (0 or 1, respectively). A fight can also end in a technical decision, disqualification, forfeit, technical draw, or no contest. The latter two outcomes have no winners.
The ten-point must system is in effect for all fights; three judges score each round and the winner of each receives ten points, the loser nine points or fewer. If the round is even, both fighters receive ten points. In New Jersey, the fewest points a fighter can receive is 7, and in other states by custom no fighter receives fewer than 8.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission currently lists the following as fouls: 1. Butting with the head 2. Eye gouging of any kind 3. Biting] 4. Hair pulling 5. Fish hooking 6. Groin attacks of any kind 7. Putting a finger into any orifice or into any cut or laceration on an opponent. (see Fish-hooking) 8. Small joint manipulation. 9. Striking to the spine or the back of the head. (see Rabbit punch) 10. Striking downward using the point of the elbow. (see Elbow (strike)) 11. Throat strikes of any kind, including, without limitation, grabbing the trachea. 12. Clawing, pinching or twisting the flesh. 13. Grabbing the clavicle. 14. Kicking the head of a grounded opponent. 15. Kneeing the head of a grounded opponent. 16. Stomping a grounded opponent. 17. Kicking to the kidney with the heel. 18. Spiking an opponent to the canvas on his head or neck. (see piledriver) 19. Throwing an opponent out of the ring or fenced area. 20. Holding the shorts or gloves of an opponent. 21. Spitting at an opponent. 22. Engaging in unsportsmanlike conduct that causes an injury to an opponent. 23. Holding the ropes or the fence. 24. Attacking the referee. 25. Attacking an opponent on or during the break. 26. Attacking an opponent who is under the care of the referee. 27. Attacking an opponent after the bell (horn) has sounded the end of a round. 28. Flagrantly disregarding the instructions of the referee. 29. Timidity, including, without limitation, avoiding contact with an opponent, intentionally or consistently dropping the mouthpiece or faking an injury. 30. Interference by the corner. 31. Throwing in the towel during competition. When a foul is charged, the referee in their discretion may deduct one or more points as a penalty. If a foul incapacitates a fighter, then the match may end in a disqualification if the foul was intentional, or a no contest if unintentional. If a foul causes a fighter to be unable to continue later in the bout, it ends with a technical decision win to the injured fighter if the injured fighter is ahead on points, otherwise it is a technical draw
- After a verbal warning the referee can stop the fighters and stand them up if they reach a stalemate on the ground (where neither are in a dominant position or working towards one). This rule is codified in Nevada as the stand-up rule.
- If the referee pauses the match, it is resumed with the fighters in their prior positions.
- Grabbing the cage brings a verbal warning, followed by an attempt by the referee to release the grab by pulling on the grabbing hand. If that attempt fails or if the fighter continues to hold the cage, the referee may charge a foul.
- Under unified rules, antics are permitted before events to add to excitement and allow fighters to express themselves, but abusive language during combat is prohibited.
As of Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson, which took place March 5, 2011, there have been 46 Strikeforce events held.
Strikeforce Grand PrixEdit
Strikeforce has held tournaments in the mens' middleweight division and womens' welterweight division. On February 12, 2011, Strikeforce will have its inaugural World Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament featuring eight of its top heavyweights. The Grand Prix brackets will take place during separate events on separate occasions starting at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva.
|Men's Division||Upper weight limit||Champion||Since||Title Defenses|
|Heavyweight||265 lb||Alistair Overeem||November 16, 2007||1|
|Light Heavyweight||205 lb||Dan Henderson||March 5, 2011||0|
|Middleweight||185 lb||Ronaldo Souza||August 21, 2010||1|
|Welterweight||170 lb||Nick Diaz||January 30, 2010||0|
|Lightweight||155 lb||Gilbert Melendez||December 19, 2009||1|
|Women's Division||Upper weight limit||Champion||Since||Title Defenses|
|Featherweight||145 lb||Cristiane Santos||August 15, 2009||2|
|Bantamweight||135 lb||Marloes Coenen||October 9, 2010||1|
In other mediaEdit
- EA Sports MMA was released in 2010 featuring Strikeforce along with global MMA enterprises.
Figures are available from the company Round 5. A series of their figures includes Cung Le and Gina Carano. The Cung Le figure was released at the 2009 San Diego Comic Convention. An exclusive special version of the Cung Le figurine was released thereafter in which he has different colored shorts and design.
- Strikeforce.com Official Strikeforce site