In addition to signing a deal with Showtime, Strikeforce again made waves with it’s acquisition of select fighter contracts, and library of footage from EliteXC.
The move ended months of speculation about the future of fighters that were signed to EliteXC contracts, and EliteXC itself. The full press release is below.
LOS ANGELES, CA. — In a transaction signaling the dawn of a new era in the world’s fastest growing sport, world championship mixed martial arts (MMA) organization Strikeforce®, has acquired certain fighter contracts from ProElite, Inc, the parent company of former Strikeforce ® co-promoter, Elite Xtreme Combat (EliteXC).
Strikeforce® also acquired other specific assets of ProElite, including a library of EliteXC events, which were distributed live on either CBS or Showtime Networks.
“This is a tremendous development that will bolster the Strikeforce® roster and allow us to produce even more competitive matchups between top fighters,” said Scott Coker, Founder and CEO of Strikeforce®. “Some of these athletes have been on the sidelines for a while now and are eagerly waiting to return to competition. We look forward to providing them with the opportunity to do so in the next few months.”
Strikeforce® and EliteXC joined forces to deliver the first live SHOWTIME PPV® MMA event, “Shamrock vs. Baroni,” on June 22, 2007. In the headlining contest, former UFC middleweight champion and MMA legend Frank Shamrock submitted knockout artist Phil “The New York Badass” Baroni in the second round, where upon Shamrock became the first Strikeforce® World Middleweight Champion.
On March 29, 2008, the two promotions collaborated once more to deliver a live telecast on SHOWTIME® featuring one of the sport’s most anticipated showdowns – Shamrock versus undefeated world kickboxing champion Cung Le. In a battle that has since been proclaimed “Fight Of The Year” by critics, Le seized the Strikeforce® middleweight crown by pouring on a relentless offensive and fending off Shamrock’s counter attacks before breaking the defending champion’s arm with a hard roundhouse kick. Shamrock retired from the bout after the third round of a five round match.
A martial arts promoter for over 23 years, Coker has gained widespread acclaim among industry colleagues and the media, including Rolling Stone magazine, Yahoo! Sports, and The San Jose Mercury News. Coker elevated his 14-year-old Strikeforce® organization to become a major player in the World’s fastest growing sport. Strikeforce’s® inaugural MMA event hosted a capacity crowd of 18,265 at San Jose’s HP Pavilion on March 10, 2006. The live gate figure also broke the then all-time record for attendance at an MMA event held in North America.
EliteXC burst onto the MMA scene with “Destiny,” the first live, SHOWTIME®-televised MMA fight card in history, on February 10, 2007. Held at Southaven Mississippi’s DeSoto Civic Center, the main event pitted Shamrock against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert, Renzo Gracie.
The promotion made history again by bringing, for the first time, a live MMA event to the CBS Television Network on May 31, 2008.