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Strikeforce, a Mixed Martial Arts league, is run by Scott Coker out of San Jose, California, United States. Mixed Martial Arts has grown in popularity in recent years and the league’s owner, Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment, is looking to rival the UFC for the audience acceptance. The differences between major Mixed Martial Arts Competitions are often minute and in this case, almost exclusively just different people in the same jobs. The Strikeforce competition offers the same sport with the same rules as the other commissioned stables, but is inherently a rival with them. The core differences between the leagues are the members involved and the accessibility of fighters to the sport. Strikeforce is the first league to televise a female title fight as the main bout for the night, and has routinely accepted female athletes since their formation.

In the beginning, the league was primarily a Kickboxing outlet and in 2006 expanded their stable of fighters to include mixed martial artists. This is where the businesses differ. When a player signs with a particular league, he is only scheduled to fight other competitors under the same promoter. This means that typically, fighters in Strikeforce will only encounter opponents also under a Strikeforce contract. The same goes for most other Leagues as well. Recently, arguably one of the best fighters in the heavyweight division, Emelianenko, actually signed with Strikeforce a promotion which has returned a general disappointment by fans including some resentment. The latest heavyweight juggernaut is Brock Lesnar, fighting within the UFC currently is slated to be the best heavyweight around and by agreeing to meet Strikeforce’s fighters, Emelianenko is accused of dodging Lesnar.

This opens the inherit agreement of each promotion choice. UFC has agreements with American Television stations, and pay-per-view. And Strikeforce has more varied agreements such as Russian, Korean, and Japanese cable as well as the American Network, Showtime. Fighters are innately independent entities but by choosing one promoter or another, they may be forced into contracts that prevent inter-league competitions, exhibition matches, or simple don’t offer the same opportunities as another one. This does not diminish one league or another, but is certainly a concern depending on the fighter’s target audience.

As all other commissioned MMA sports, the Strikeforce MMA League adheres to a minimum State Athletic Commission Standards in order to hold sanctioned combat sport events. The rules are, for the most part, meant to protect the safety of combatants while others maintain a certain level of excitement in the ring or cage. If Strikeforce can continue to grow and offer more fighters more incentives than the UFC, they have a real shot at shaking up the status quo and transfer from a regional competition into a national one.


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