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Brief History of Strikeforce-Coker and his arena partners!

dcapps9532011-03-19 19:26:21 +0000 #1
Silicon Valley Sports Enterprises (The People that own the San Jose Sharks and that are the full owners of the HP Pavilion in San Jose) were looking for more events at their arena. California was about to sanction MMA. SVSE wanted to run some shows. Scott Coker(who was a somewhat succesful Kickboxing promoter...sometimes under the banner of Strikeforce) and Bob Cook(He runs American Kickboxing academy in San Jose) were asked if they thought they could make a profit running a couple of shows at the arena.

The original plan was to run a show and see what happened. They used mostly Bay Area fighters, most with a history at AKA. The little show they did in 2006 -right when the Ultimate fighter was booming- was billed as "Shamrock vs Gracie"(just not the more famous at the time Ken Shamrock and not Royce Gracie but a SF BJJ instructor!!) The little show only broke a North American MMA attendance record(which held for 3 and 1/2 more years) with over 18K fans(and yours truly was one of them). SVSE with Coker and Cook's help made over 2 million dollars of profit almost entirely of the live gate and concessions. The event was not televised. It was taped and later (probably 2 years later) shown on NBC. The Sponsers were mostly those of the San Jose Sharks (Fry's, Budweiser, etc), Fairtex gym and athletic wear also had a minor sponsership.

Of course after such success SVSE wanted more. Coker and SVSE became more formal as a partnership. Coker was in a great situation in that his partners owned the arena and did not have to pay huge arena rentals. They just had to pay arena staff and power and lights. For the first two years the org rarely left San Jose.

Fighters were complaining early on that Strikeforce didn't have as many events as they would like. They might have been getting paid good per fight, but with Strikeforce only running shows every 3 to 5 months, if a fighter was unable to fight on a card, he could be side-lined for a while since there were not many cards. Strikeforce wanting to keep their fighters knew it needed more cards so it started having events at SJ every 2 to 3 months and they also started to go on the road.

None of their shows were as succesful as the first , but SVSE was still very happy because they made some serious money when a Strikeforce show was at the HP Pavillion in San Jose! Coker and SVSE realized that they had to start having less shows in San Jose because Bay Area MMA fans love MMA, but when they were having 5 to 6 events in San Jose a year...Burn out was occurring from the fan base. So it was a bit of a quanrdy for Strikeforce:They only make money at home(from paying $0 in arena rental), but they didn't want to over do it and stretch the SJ fans too thin. So they started to go on the road more. They would be lucky if they broke even...but they had to, to keep fighters happy with shorter layoffs between fights.

Even during this time Strikeforce was still making money through the SJ shows, minor tv deals with NBC and HDnet, along with decent sponserships with Rockstar and MMA clothing companies. Then Kimbo Slice got destroyed by a dude with Pink hair who told the media that EliteXC officials told him they would give him a bonus if he kept the fight standing!!!! Death to EliteXC!! Strikeforce seized this oportunity to move multiple pegs up the MMA landscape by buying the remnants of EliteXC including their library and some of the better fighters contracts along with a tv deal with CBS/Showtime. THIS IN MY OPINION IS WHERE COKER AND HIS PARTNERS SVSE STARTED DRIFT AWAY FROM EACH OTHER!

SVSE wasn't in the MMA business because of the love of MMA. They just wanted more events at their arena! They were already running as many events as they could there and know they have way more fighters to try and keep happy, and way more pressure...from Showtime! Showtime wanted to have a major say in fight cards and fighters. This wasn't what SVSE was comfortable with. They just wanted something to book their arena for. They made more money being a regional MMA org not on TV than being the 2nd biggest national MMA org with a sweet TV deal with a pay cable network! SVSE wanted to cash in their chips. Coker wanted to buy them out but he had no where near the cash to do so. The rest is history.

All in all, Coker and SVSE were a good pairing. They just wanted different things in the end! It was a good run.


E51502011-03-19 19:28:25 +0000 #2
That is some damn interesting insight. Nicely thought out man. Are you associated with one of the parties or did you just put the puzzle together yourself?

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