Most MMA promotions go out in a blaze of glory. Proverbial guns firing wildly, they take out bystanders, business partners, and t-shirt magnates in magnificent moments of self destruction. Think Josh Barnett's drug screening coming back hot at Affliction. Think Pride falling to pieces in the wake of a Yakuza scandal. Think EliteXC going under after disastrous allegations of bout tampering and questionable judgement.
Now Strikeforce is dying, too. And thanks to a timely purchase by Zuffa, the UFC's parent company, we won't ever see the last frantic months before doom was inevitable. We will miss the Fedor Emelianenko-Kimbo Slice superfight that someone would have eventually thought of in a dark and desperate moment. We will miss the two month period they would have hired Paul Heyman to run the company. His aggressive attacks on Dana White and the UFC would have been sights to behold. In short, we miss all the fun.
Strikeforce is dying - and I don't care. It's happening slowly and before our very eyes. First Alistair Overeem and Nick Diaz were taken into the UFC's loving embrace. Dan Henderson and Cung Le soon followed. The Heavyweight Grand Prix, an event that with the right promotion was helping a sinking ship find its sails, was made irrelevant, diminished by the purchase of Strikeforce, lack of attention, and careful talking points distributed to the MMA media masses.
What's left of a promotion that was finally finding its way on Showtime. Now it's B-shows on pay cable that few discuss and essentially occur in a vacuum at the Palms in Las Vegas. Strikeforce is dying - and I don't care. I always enjoyed their shows, the spectacle, the fights seemingly designed with specific outcomes in mind. The fearless way they employed action fighters - unapologetically featuring warriors like Waachiim Spiritwolf who let it all hang out for $2000 and a beer or two. All that is gone, lost in Zuffa style matchmaking. The last link back to the world of Art Davie and the early UFC's has been severed. And I'm okay with it.
That's what surprised me the most. I thought I'd miss it more. Instead, life has filled the void. It turns out, the UFC promotes more than enough MMA for any sane person to watch and enjoy. The vacuum of brutal, occasionally unskilled and absurd slugfests? Also filled by fights like Mark Hunt vs. Ben Rothwell and Leonard Garcia vs. Nam Phan in recent weeks. Tributes to Strikeforce? Either way, it fills the same violence quotient provided by the fading San Jose based promotion.
No one knows for sure when Strikeforce will finally breath its last. When that day does come, there will be lots written about the promotion. It will be perfunctory at best. The emotion will be gone. Strikeforce will disappear quietly one day. There will be no fireworks. No last ditch efforts to crossover with XArm or secure a porn sponsorship and a spot on the Playboy channel. Strikeforce will be dead - and no one will care.