Despite being mired in controversy, Strikeforce's latest event will undoubtedly be considered a resounding success. According to official figures, "Strikeforce and M-1 Global: Fedor vs. Henderson" drew 571,000 viewers and a 1.7 household rating -- the fourth most successful Showtime-Strikeforce event of the organization's history. Four of the promotion's top five shows have now come in 2011.
The event took place Saturday, July 30, at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. It was headlined by a thrilling heavyweight bout between MMA icons Fedor Emelianenko and Dan Henderson. Emelianenko was eventually defeated via TKO in the first round, dropping the Russian to his third consecutive loss.
With rumor's of the Russian's retirement beginning to bubble up, Strikeforce is very aware of the asset they could potentially lose. All four of the events that Fedor have been involved in were among the most successful in the promotion's history, including February's bout against Antonio Silva that drew a company record 741,000 viewers.
The Strikeforce-Showtime partnership began in April 2009, and has stretched across 34 events. Strikeforce's five most successful shows, via MMAJunkie.com:
1. "Strikeforce: Silva vs. Fedor" (February 2011): 741,000 viewers
2. "Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum" (June 2011): 624,000
3. "Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg" (August 2009): 576,000
4. "Strikeforce and M-1 Global: Fedor vs. Henderson" (July 2011): 571,000
5. "Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg" (January 2011): 561,000