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Strikeforce Announces New Showtime Deal, Eight Events In 2012

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Strikeforce has new life. The promotion announced a renewal with Showtime and is planning up to eight events for 2012.

Scott Coker
Scott Coker

As rumored, Strikeforce has renewed its contract with Showtime and will remain televised on the premium-cable network. Officials announced the terms of the new deal on Thursday's conference call, however the length of the partnership was not disclosed.

Strikeforce officials are targeting up to eight events for 2012, starting with Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine, though no timetable has been finalized. The Strikeforce Challengers series is likely to be discontinued.

In addition, Strikeforce undercards are now scheduled to air on Showtime Extreme.

"Since its advent on Showtime in 2007, live mixed martial arts has always performed well with our subscribers, particularly in the younger demographics," said Showtime Sports Executive Vice President Stephen Espinoza. "As the one and only premium network in the MMA business, we are proud to renew our commitment to the sport and to our partners at Strikeforce. This agreement ensures that we can continue to deliver the edge-of-your-seat programming that each live MMA event produces in the New Year and beyond."

Throughout the conversation UFC President Dana White made it very clear Strikeforce would not function as a feeder league, but would be a respected institution in MMA. He furthermore suggested that all fighters currently under Strikeforce contract will remain with the promotion instead of merging into the UFC -- including lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez.

"We're excited about this renewal with Showtime and I expect to put on some big Strikeforce events next year," White said. "I never thought I would say this, but I am very much looking forward to building Strikeforce and working very closely with Showtime."