As a fan, the announcement that Zuffa had purchased Strikeforce made it clear that the promotions stay would not last much longer. The precedent had been set with WEC and Pride, with both of those promotions folding under the Zuffa banner. Strikeforce is now feeling the death grip after Showtime recently cancelled their broadcasting of the Sept 29th card due to lack of star power. Follow that with the Nov. 3rd card decimated by injury and recent reports of no plans by Strikeforce to move into booking 2013, the writing is on the wall, it is likely we will see the end of the promotion soon.
With the exit of a major mixed martial arts promotion such as Strikeforce, who could possibly fill their shoes on the Showtime network? Speculation was arising that Invicta may have been moving that way, but recent announcements from inside sources insist that they are still building their brand and plan to stay on free internet through most of 2013. The initial buzz for their all female mma events started off huge, but that hasn’t translated to much more than average crowd support. While a glance at their social numbers look good, a deeper look will prove that a decent percentage of their online followers are spam/fake accounts and not true MMA fans who are actually going to tune in. The recent production of Invicta3 seemed to draw less at the box office than their first two shows and their online hype, as well as their actual viewership, was not quite as on par with their two prior events. So, if Invicta is not producing the numbers that could fill the shoes, that leaves just one solidified group that I believe could certainly take the reins and WOW the world and the Showtime network.
One promotion mixes the blend of local superstars with top rate talent nationwide. Knowing and seeing the inner workings of the XFC (Xtreme Fighting Championships), it would be my opinion that they would fit the bill perfectly for Showtime. The promotion focuses on their fighter branding, social cross promotion with both national & up and coming media networks. In the eyes of MMA Legend Pat Miletich & famed announcer Michael Schiavello, the XFC has built a reputation for putting on some of the most exciting and well organized productions in the history of Axs tv (their current network). The company belief is that the next generation of fighters are yet to be discovered. With that in mind, the XFC puts together dream matchups between the top regional talent on each of their fight cards to help build the area’s MMA scene. Then they stack the card with some of the biggest names in the sport, bringing onlookers of both new and veteran’d fans to every show. That, in itself, is the most exciting thing about the company. They support MMA in all facets (local and nationally) and like Strikeforce, XFC is sure to include both Male & Female divisional bouts on every card… something that neither Invicta, Bellator, nor the UFC, accomplish. Put all of that together and it’s obvious to me that the XFC should be the direct replacement of Strikeforce on Showtime.
A strong alliance with many promoters, media teams, and gyms has helped the XFC create a nationwide buzz centered around the level of talent they bring in to each of their events. In 2012 we have seen the rise of Nick Newell, Eric Reynolds, Felice Herrig, Joby Sanchez, and Scott Holtzman to go along with recent signings of nearly 15+ new fighters including Sofia Bagherdai, Stephanie Eggink, Kevin Forant, Keith Richardson, and the highly entertaining Nate “The Train” Landwehr. The XFC has a solid base of fans from their exposure on AXS TV, but could you imagine the explosion if they were to get on a network such as Showtime?
Expansion is imminent for the XFC. They have already announced that they are opening up the flyweight division, the date has been set for their 2013 open fighter tryouts, and they have their first show on the books already for 2013. Rumor has it, they have 5 more southeast shows in the works for 2013, and a future show in the North East slated to happen as well. XFC President John Prisco has said that the only reason they aren’t more of a force at this point is the frequency of their shows. That is about to change as he has expressed the desire to go to 12 to 15 events per year in 2013 and as many as 25 shows in 2014. Their roster is growing, each show is better than the last, and they are the best at finding the next generation of mma fighters. It appears frequency is what needs to come next!
As it stands Prisco touts his promotion as being on the fast track to number one status in the industry. Those are lofty goals, but a deal with Showtime would elevate him even closer to that. Could you imagine the fanfare that would come with seeing quite possibly the best young Lightweight Scott Holtzman fighting LIVE on Showtime or Corey Hill at Welterweight climbing the rankings in a very tough division in front of that audience? Many guys that I know have had an opportunity to fight for the XFC and I think to myself how cool would it be to see them on Showtime?! Don’t have Showtime? Get it here: www.bestsatellite.tv. Time will tell and one can wish. I do ask that anyone who reads this article and has similar views, take a moment and retweet, repost, and share this article. If you’re on Twitter, tweet and tell them you want to see on their network!