The UFC has taken over another mixed martial arts rival, buying Strikeforce.
UFC president Dana White confirmed the sale Saturday in a text to The Canadian Press, saying the San Jose-based Strikeforce will continue to be run as a separate entity.
Strikeforce, home to such fighters as Fedor Emelianenko, Nick Diaz and Dan Henderson, has been seen as No. 2 among North America MMA promoters although the UFC has been a clear leader in the sport.
Still it has survived where others have failed and it has a TV deal in the U.S. with Showtime (Strikeforce is shown on Super Channel in Canada).
White says Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker will continue to run the business.
"It is literally business as usual," White, speaking of Strikeforce, said in a video posted on the UFC website.
White has always spoken positively about Strikeforce and Coker, perhaps because they went about their job without challenging the UFC as others had tried to do.
Still Strikeforce managed to beat the UFC to the punch in signing Emelianenko, an MMA icon. White, who refused to become a co-promoter as the Russian fighter's management demanded, said at the time he was dumbfounded that his deal had been turned down.
The Strikeforce buyout is the UFC's latest attempt to ensure it has the best view over the mixed martial arts landscape. It also gives the UFC another televised showcase to promote the sport.
The UFC has bought or absorbed other rivals in the past, including Japan's Pride Fighting Championships in 2007, and World Fighting Alliance and World Extreme Cagefighting in 2006.
The UFC also struck a deal with Affliction, prompting the clothing manufacture to become a sponsor rather than a rival promoter.
It had hoped to continue operating Pride in Japan, but that never happened and the UFC eventually absorbed its new purchase.
It essentially bought the WFA for the fighters under contract, with Quinton (Rampage) Jackson at the top of the wanted list.
The UFC ran the WEC as a separate entity until December, although it revamped the promotion to focus on the lighter weight class. It has since absorbed the WEC, adding its bantamweight (135-pound) and featherweight (145-pound) weight classes.
Strikeforce adds a new ribbon to the UFC empire's bow in that it features women. Victoria's Sarah Kaufman is a former Strikeforce welterweight champion and the promotion has also featured Julia Budd of Port Moody, B.C.
Fighters have moved between the UFC and Strikeforce.
Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields joined the UFC after beating former UFC vet Henderson in his Strikeforce debut.
Shields is slated to challenge Georges St-Pierre for his welterweight title at UFC 129 in Toronto on April 30. Henderson, who left the UFC after failing to come to contract terms, just won the Strikeforce light-heavyweight championship.
The deal makes for some unlikely connections.
White turfed Paul (Semtex) Daley after the English welterweight tried to sucker-punch Josh Koscheck at UFC 113 in Montreal last May. Daley now fights for Strikeforce.
White has also often shown his distaste for Showtime.
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