This past weekend Strikeforce turned in another solid card featuring furious fisticuffs and fantastic finishes. However, despite a “Fight of the Year” candidate between Miesha Tate-Julie Kedzie, as brutal a knockout shot as has been seen in some time from Ovince St. Preux, and another sub-minute submission win for Ronda Rousey, the fighters all exited the event with little more than their pride and standard paychecks.
Though there’s no question Strikeforce is struggling financially and failing to draw significant attendance to deserving cards, the organization’s parent company (Zuffa) has plenty of cash to throw around thanks to the UFC and should step in to do the right thing.
Rewarding Strikeforce fighters for their efforts in the cage is not necessarily an expensive endeavor either. Even $10,000 per bonus would be a welcomed prize in comparison to nothing. Hell, who wouldn’t appreciate an extra $5,000 for that matter? The relatively small amount involved would go a long way with fighters and fans while doing very little to Zuffa’s bottom line. You’re talking about a billion-dollar company. $20-40k every month or two is nothing more than pulling a thimble-full of water from an overflowing bathtub.
In reality, Strikeforce fighters need the money much worse than their UFC counterparts. Their sponsors pay a lot less, understandably, and their base salaries are rarely above $20,000 per fight minus the handful of stars. Plus, as rarely as Strikeforce puts on a card, many of their athletes only see action twice a year if that. Meanwhile, you have guys like Anderson Silva who make millions with each outing who get $50,000+ in bonus money. While that sum is certainly relative to Silva’s drawing power, it doesn’t make him more deserving of a little extra financial reward for performing at such a high level.
The call needs to go out from fans and media alike where Strikeforce bonuses are concerned. Fighters are too proud to ask for handouts, accountants are too stingy to suggest it. And, if Zuffa can’t afford to help its employees out, perhaps we as longtime supporters of the sport need to give back ourselves and fire up the movement in KickStarter form. Regardless, people need to start speaking up more fervently for men/women who put their health on the line in order to entertain so the higher-ups at Zuffa will listen. Will you be one of them?