Strikeforce: Nashville Postscript

Damn, has it been too long since we’ve been here! However, since Armando and I were at Bridgestone Arena Saturday night, I figured we could at least talk about the impact of the event. Armando sent me 4 simple questions:

1)       How do you go about staying on CBS after only pulling 2.63 mil viewers (Slice/Shamrock Petruzelli pulled 2 mil more just to put into perspective), or do you even try?  Let’s pretend that the Mayhem… uh… mayhem didn’t happen for a sec, and just base it off of the ratings.
2)       What’s next for our 6 main card Strikeforce fighters (throw Mayhem into this category)?
3)       Who, if anyone, gets punished for the brawl, and to what extent?
4)       To tie it all together: do you consider the Nashville show a success, or a failure overall?

So I responded at length:

1) I think you have to go into CBS and promise them Fedor for the fall. Or Shields/Mayhem II. You need to also make it clear to them that you would like a bigger hand in the build and promotion of the fights. They cannot expect to build anything around fighters that are kinda unknown to the casual fan that CBS would draw in without more than happened for Nashville. Assuming that they stay on CBS, although you can’t really sneeze at 2.6 million viewers on a Saturday night. I don’t know what the normal audience is for that time slot but I have a feeling they got a boost. And in the defense of Dan Henderson’s name…he’s not the type of guy that can draw on name alone. Shamrock was pulled from the Elite XC card in the hours leading up. And Shamrock was known to the rest of American long before and far more than Henderson. He had cross exposure between the WWE, other TV appearances, and news coverage. So the name “Ken Shamrock” in 2007 brought more interest to casual fans than “Dan Henderson” did Saturday.

2) Dan Henderson should move back up to LHW and take on Mousasi. Although Mousasi may and should consider fighting at 185 after the Dream GP.
If Shields stays long enough to defend his belt again, there’s no doubt in my mind that they make Shields/Mayhem II. Coker may believe that the brawl was shameful and bad for the sport, but he’s smart enough (I hope) to exploit the promotion potential there. Mayhem may end up being their biggest draw down the road if they keep him happy, so here’s a great shot to build him up.
The real question marks are the next opponents for King Mo and Gil. It may take some convincing to get a top LW name from WEC to come on over. The problem is that it seems that all of the top LW names are in good with Zuffa at the moment. But say the Cowboy and the WEC have a falling out after 48… that would be a hell of a battle.
You’re guess is as good as mine for King Mo though. I can’t even name another LHW on the Strikeforce roster not named Gegard…

3) I think Mayhem will take the public browbeating for this one, but Coker really should say something to the Cesar Gracie team. After all, I can’t blame Shields at all for the way he reacted, but I can blame his team for basically jumping Mayhem. Was he out of line for going up there? Kinda yeah. Does it look bad for the sport? A bit. Is there potential to build to a huge title fight? You bet. Although it didn’t help that Gus Johnson apparently told everyone watching CBS that this kind of thing sometimes happens in MMA. They need to get the guy that did the Pride play-by-play. Johnson is not quite helping get MMA over on network TV…
Mayhem has already made a public apology ( as did Nick Diaz. Although Nick’s apology (“I apologize, it wasn’t my fault”) didn’t and shouldn’t really hold up.
But Coker really can’t come down too hard on the camp that holds 3/5ths of his champions…

4) Since we were there and saw the entire card, I would have to call it a success. They delivered top to bottom and there were plenty of good fights. Unfortunately, in that category were also “fights that were great technical chess matches but uneducated fans booed because there weren’t any highlight reel KOs”. From a TV point-of-view, it was mediocre at best because of that. The UFC doesn’t have that problem as much, because they know that they will always have the educated fan to fall back on for broadcasts, but CBS will probably attract a higher volume of the uneducated fans…

I’ll post his responses when/if he gets around to chiming in…

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