Consider it official: Strikeforce is closing its doors and its final show will be on Jan. 12th. The promotion announced the news Thursday confirming it was ceasing operations as well as laying out the bouts on its last fight card.
"Since 2009, Showtime has been a great partner and we appreciate its support of Strikeforce and our athletes," Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said. "For our final event, we've loaded the card with some outstanding fights. This is going to be a memorable night for the sport of mixed martial arts."
"We are proud of our association with Scott Coker and the entire Strikeforce team," said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Showtime Sports. "From Gina Carano to Ronda Rousey, Fedor Emelianenko to Daniel Cormier, Nick Diaz to Gilbert Melendez, Showtime Sports and Strikeforce have built some of the biggest stars in the sport and have produced many of the most watched and most intriguing fights in the history of MMA. We look forward to another night of competitive and explosive Strikeforce fights on Showtime on January 12 in OKC."
Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine, the final Strikeforce event, takes place at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. Showtime also announced Thursday the event would fall on a weekend where the channel is offered for free in up to 80 million homes through 50 cable providers.
The event is headlined by a welterweight title fight between champion Nate Marquardt and challenger Tarec Saffiedine.
Strikeforce officials also announced a novel bout between former Strikeforce middleweight champion Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza and UFC middleweight Ed Herman. While previous attempts have been made to lure UFC fighters onto Strikeforce shows, this bout marks the first time that matriculation will take place.
During its tenure, Strikeforce ran 63 MMA shows, beginning with Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Gracie on March 10, 2006 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. They made their Showtime debut with Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Le, which was headlined by a middleweight title bout between then-champion Frank Shamrock and now UFC middleweight Cung Le. That event was staged on March 29, 2008 and also took place at the HP Pavilion, however, Strikeforce did not regularly begin to air on Showtime until April 2009's Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz.
Over its seven-year existence, Strikeforce events were also aired on HDNet, The Score, pay-per-view and CBS.