“I think (co-promoting with M-1 Global to work with Fedor Emelianenko) was a deal that made it very difficult to be profitable from. So getting Fedor from a branding perspective was huge, and that was a risk that was, at the time, necessary to take. That was the biggest acquisition we had made as a company. Right away, signing Fedor put our company, put Strikeforce, in that many more households. Just the name Strikeforce – it got out there… You know, what’s funny is somebody said to me not too long ago, ‘You are never going to make money with Fedor.’ He said that to me because he thought that he understood the mentality behind Fedor’s management. He said, ‘You are never going to make money with them.’ (He) said that straight out to me. There’s a lot of different thoughts out there, and I think maybe it wasn’t the right move, but everybody wanted it at the time. And when we did it, it sure felt good. But it could have been part of the undoing.” – For complete interview with Mike Afromowitz, visit Sherdog.com (via MMAMania)
The rise and fall of Strikeforce as legitimate competition for the UFC was nothing if not abrupt. From the signing of big name talents such as Fedor Emelianenko and Dan Henderson, to broadcast deals with CBS and the eventual announcement of the Heavyweight Grand Prix, the promotion had undoubtedly cemented its place as the number two MMA organization stateside and appeared to be on the verge of making major moves in the industry. However, just as quickly as it all seemed to be coming together, it all fell apart.
Though several key developments reportedly led to the sale of Strikeforce, namely Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment’s interest in pursuing an NBA franchise, former Strikeforce Director of Communications Mike Afromowitz believes working with “The Last Emperor” may have also played a major role. Afromowitz declined to provide details “for obvious reasons,” but said co-promoting with Emelianenko’s management team, M-1 Global, left little room for the San Jose based organization to make a profit. While it’s not the first time the Russian Heavyweight has been the rumored cause of a failed MMA promotion, there has never been any evidence of this. So what do you think LowKick’ers? Is it feasible to believe that a single fighter could bring down an entire company or was ZUFFA’s purchase of Strikeforce just business as usual in the MMA world?