Strikeforce and Showtime have officially announced the promotion’s end on the premium cable network. The announcement confirms what was already assumed after the promotion’s biggest star, then-bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, exited the company for the UFC. Strikeforce’s final card, dubbed “Strikeforce: Champions,” will take place January 12.
The promotion announced the move via press release on Thursday evening.
Strikeforce has aired on the network since 2009 but the relationship grew complicated when the MMA company was purchased by Zuffa LLC. in March of 2011. With a bulk of the promotion’s main attractions finding ways out of their contracts to join the UFC.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker thanked the network for its support of the promotion and affirmed his belief that the January event will be a memorable finale. Stated Coker:
“Since 2009, Showtime has been a great partner and we appreciate its support of Strikeforce and our athletes,” Scott Coker, Strikeforce CEO, said. “For our final event, we’ve loaded the card with some outstanding fights. This is going to be a memorable night for the sport of mixed martial arts.”
The same sentiment was echoed by Showtime Sports Executive Vice President and General Manager, Stephen Espinoza, who stated:
“We are proud of our association with Scott Coker and the entire Strikeforce team,” said Espinoza, “From Gina Carano to Ronda Rousey, Fedor Emelianenko to Daniel Cormier, Nick Diaz to Gilbert Melendez, Showtime Sports and Strikeforce have built some of the biggest stars in the sport and have produced many of the most watched and most intriguing fights in the history of MMA. We look forward to another night of competitive and explosive Strikeforce fights on Showtime on January 12 in OKC.”
The final January event will take place at the home of the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Chesapeake Energy Arena. The arena was the original site for “Strikeforce: Cormier vs. Mir” before the event was canceled prior to the November show. The card will be headlined by welterweight champion Nate Marquardt facing Tarec Saffiedine and Strikeforce Grand Prix champion Daniel Cormier taking on Dion Staring.