Dear Dana White:
Thank you for taking this sport we all love to the mainstream; all of us fans owe you a debt. You and the Fertitta brothers deserve the rewards of your risk. It's called capitalism. Congratulations.
Let's talk about Strikeforce.
Since Zuffa LLC purchased the promotion last year it has existed in a kind of alternate universe. I still laugh every time I see Frank Shamrock commenting on a Zuffa promotion; that is almost as funny as his anti-bullying crusade. Anyway, as you and the Fertitta brothers know, by owning Strikeforce you are trapped in a situation of having two brands in one sport, halving your brand potential. (Forgive me if I sound like a business consultant here)
More troubling, your Strikeforce signed fighters do not want to be there. Gilbert Melendez openly asked for fighters, worthy of his talents, to be sent to him from the UFC. Sports Illustrated recently published an article about how Strikeforce fighters are frustrated by being labeled "B" fighters. Luke Rockhold, Tim Kennedy, and Gilbert Melendez, along with all the other Strikeforce fighters, want to be in the UFC. So what is the problem? Well, probably your contract with Showtime Entertainment and/or others.
I have a suggestion, but allow me to start with a question: Why has the UFC cornered the MMA market worldwide?
I would say: Right business plan, excellent promotion, and founders who understood the capital investment necessary to make the thing fly (thank you Fertitta brothers.) These strategic advantages, combined with perfect timing in the US market, explain the current domination of MMA by the UFC. The UFC was not the first mover in MMA, that title has to go to the Gracie family, but it was the first mover who did an MMA promotion right. Now days, people talk about you guys having a monopoly, which is absurd (because anyone can put on a MMA promotion). What the UFC does have, however, is the best talent and the best time slots. Even Bellator, arguably the best non-Zuffa promotion, avoids directly competing on event timing.
Now, consider that professional kick-boxing is one of the most exciting combat sports to watch, by any metric. It features stunning and acrobatic fight action sequences that are a Hollywood dream. In fact, if you watch the biggest action movies, their fight scenes try to "channel" professional kick-boxing. Hardcore mma guys know that "street" fights do not look like that, but Hollywood knows what all of us mma snobs do not, which is that acrobatic fights are what the mainstream public wants to see.
So why hasn't professional kickboxing taken off? I would suggest that like mixed martial-arts before 2001, no one is doing it right! It needs the right business plan, the right promotions, and the appropriate capital investment. And there is a huge prize for the organization that pulls it off.
The other promotions , like K-1, Golden Glory, and It's Showtime Fights, are limited in exactly the same way as was MMA before 2001. Watching their efforts gives one a sense of déjà vu. Zuffa already has the experience, capital, support staff, commentators, and managerial headroom to make an entry into professional kick-boxing a low-risk commitment. Further, and most importantly, you already have the brand! Strikeforce is the perfect name for world-class professional kickboxing, and the millions are already spent. The only other reasonable option is to strip-mine it and shut it down like the IFL, WFA, Pride, and WEC. Showtime Entertainment would probably get on board if they understood they would have first-mover advantage...