LOS ANGELES, CA. — In a transaction signaling the dawn of a new era in the world’s fastest growing sport, world championship mixed martial arts (MMA) organization Strikeforce®, has acquired certain fighter contracts from ProElite, Inc, the parent company of former Strikeforce ® co-promoter, Elite Xtreme Combat (EliteXC).
Strikeforce® also acquired other specific assets of ProElite, including a library of EliteXC events, which were distributed live on either CBS or Showtime Networks.
“This is a tremendous development that will bolster the Strikeforce® roster and allow us to produce even more competitive matchups between top fighters,” said Scott Coker, Founder and CEO of Strikeforce®. “Some of these athletes have been on the sidelines for a while now and are eagerly waiting to return to competition. We look forward to providing them with the opportunity to do so in the next few months.”
Strikeforce® and EliteXC joined forces to deliver the first live SHOWTIME PPV® MMA event, “Shamrock vs. Baroni,” on June 22, 2007. In the headlining contest, former UFC middleweight champion and MMA legend Frank Shamrock submitted knockout artist Phil “The New York Badass” Baroni in the second round, where upon Shamrock became the first Strikeforce® World Middleweight Champion.
On March 29, 2008, the two promotions collaborated once more to deliver a live telecast on SHOWTIME® featuring one of the sport’s most anticipated showdowns – Shamrock versus undefeated world kickboxing champion Cung Le. In a battle that has since been proclaimed “Fight Of The Year” by critics, Le seized the Strikeforce® middleweight crown by pouring on a relentless offensive and fending off Shamrock’s counter attacks before breaking the defending champion’s arm with a hard roundhouse kick. Shamrock retired from the bout after the third round of a five round match.
A martial arts promoter for over 23 years, Coker has gained widespread acclaim among industry colleagues and the media, including Rolling Stone magazine, Yahoo! Sports, and The San Jose Mercury News. Coker elevated his 14-year-old Strikeforce® organization to become a major player in the World’s fastest growing sport. Strikeforce’s® inaugural MMA event hosted a capacity crowd of 18,265 at San Jose’s HP Pavilion on March 10, 2006. The live gate figure also broke the then all-time record for attendance at an MMA event held in North America.
EliteXC burst onto the MMA scene with “Destiny,” the first live, SHOWTIME®-televised MMA fight card in history, on February 10, 2007. Held at Southaven Mississippi’s DeSoto Civic Center, the main event pitted Shamrock against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert, Renzo Gracie.
The promotion made history again by bringing, for the first time, a live MMA event to the CBS Television Network on May 31, 2008.
Strikeforce® is a world-class mixed martial arts cage fight promotion which, on Friday, March 10, 2006, made history with its “Shamrock vs. Gracie” event, the first sanctioned mixed martial arts fight card in California state history. The star-studded extravaganza, which pitted legendary champion Frank Shamrock against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Cesar Gracie at San Jose’s HP Pavilion, played host to a sold-out record crowd of 18,265. Since 1995, Strikeforce® has been the exclusive provider of martial arts programming for ESPN and after 12 years of success as a leading world championship kickboxing promotion, the company unveiled its mixed martial arts series with “Shamrock vs. Gracie.” Since then, it has co-produced the first SHOWTIME PPV® mixed martial arts event in history with its world championship “Shamrock vs. Baroni” card on June 22,2007 followed by the first-ever mixed martial arts event at the world-famous Playboy Mansion on September 29, 2007.