The new ProElite is beginning to turn its gears and is looking for an August or September launch to whatever their new vision is. ProElite is the company that was known in the past for its main subsidiary, EliteXC that ran live fights on CBS and Showtime Sports before ProElite filed for bankruptcy. The concept behind ProElite was confusing at best, as they seemed to simply be a public company (first off -- bad idea for a new company) that had capital behind it to go out and purchase smaller organizations to bring them all under one roof.
The main problem with ProElite was that EliteXC was always the only show in town and those in charge of ProElite were not in the mindset of slow, steady growth as much as making an immediate splash on the MMA world and competing with UFC right off the bat. Fans watched as EliteXC did their best to compete with UFC, while at the same time a San Jose kickboxing promotion was putting on their own series of MMA cards that had people talking.
Strikeforce took a much different approach to the Mixed Martial Arts world, as Scott Coker at the helm had a lot of experience with the martial arts world as the former head of K-1’s USA operations before Mike Kogan as well as promoting Strikeforce as a kickboxing promotion in the Northern California region. Coker knew what to expect in Northern California, knew what would bring fans to the arena and how to organize these events.
Strikeforce for a long time was the little engine that could, the promotion that was in the background; they did well but they never stepped on any toes or overreached their boundaries. Dana White even had a grudging respect for Coker and would never talk bad about him. The Strikeforce formula was unique for MMA; the undercards were entirely taken from the local scene, with local up-and-comers who would fight for cheap and even help with the event (ticket sales, set up/tear down of the ring, etc.). The main card was full of fighters who were a little bit more established names but could still not command a king’s ransom to be booked, guys like Joe Riggs, Bobby Southworth, Clay Guida, Tyson Griffin, etc. You might know a lot of these names from the UFC, but their UFC tenure was either over or had yet to begin.
Continue Reading to read about how they built on weak divisions and made stars.