This has been quite a year for all of us Strikeforce lovers. From the moment fear and confusion was struck into all of our hearts when we discovered that Dana White and the UFC had purchased the promotion to the Diaz vs Daley card back in April that made us all realize why we simply can’t accept losing the ever improving promotion-it has been a steady stream of highs and lows. Everything about Strikeforce in 2011 has taken us for a ride on a wild emotional roller coaster. Even Mauro Ranallo’s extreme hairstyle changeup has played games with our emotions.
This week is no different. Yesterday Showtime Exec. VP Stephen Espinoza shared with MMAWeekly that the Strikeforce Challengers series will no longer exist.
“What we’ve decided to do in a sense is consolidate programming, we’re going to have the preliminaries airing on (Showtime) Extreme, immediately preceding the televised main event, and primary undercard fights. Whether they’ll be called Challengers or not is still something to be discussed.”
Now before you go stomping down your hallway into your bedroom, slamming the door and crying into your pillow over this revelation-there is actually positive news to go along with all of the death of the Challengers series. In a press release from Showtime and Strikeforce yesterday afternoon, the network also announced that they have reached a new programming deal and there will be up to eight televised Strikeforce cards next year. This is exciting news for those of us that feared the Jan 7th Keith Jardine vs Luke Rockhold card might be our last night of Strikeforce. According to a press statement even Dana White himself is stoked about Strikeforce in the coming year:
“We’re excited about this renewal with SHOWTIME and I expect to put on some big Strikeforce events next year. I never thought I would say this, but I am very much looking forward to building Strikeforce and working very closely with Showtime.”
Take a moment to embrace your homeboys and pour out a little liquor for your dead homie Strikeforce Challengers, but save the rest of the bottle for the celebration of at eight more Strikeforce shows in 2012. The 2012 season begins during Showtime’s free programming week so even if you aren’t a subscriber you can check out Jardine vs Rockhold and King Mo vs Lorenz Larkin for free on January 7th![source]