This past weekend Strikeforce held an event featuring two title-defenses, a pair of bouts with contendership implications, and a handful of highly-touted prospects in preliminary pairings. Furthermore, two of the fighters on the main card – K.J. Noons and Cristiane Santos – train out of San Diego while headliner Gilbert Melendez hails from the region.
However, despite the level of talent involved and regional appeal the show was one of the lowest attended non-Challengers event in the company’s history. According to figures from the CSAC, less than 2995 tickets were issued for Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal with a total gate of $154,000. For financial reference, Melendez’s salary alone was $150,000.
The show marks the second consecutive “big show” stumble for Strikeforce with less than 2,000 estimated to be in attendance this past September when the promotion held the semifinal round of their Heavyweight World Grand Prix. With unproven draws Luke Rockhold and Keith Jardine sitting atop a January card in Las Vegas concern is no doubt at an all-time high behind the scenes.
Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal featured lightweight champion Melendez successfully defend his belt against Jorge Masvidal in an exciting five-round affair with female featherweight title-holder Santos decimate opponent Hiroko Yamanaka in the opening minute of action.
MMATraining Take: I feel bad for Strikeforce because they produce a good product and have fighters worth watching. I honestly think their problem bringing in fans has to do with the perception that the company is dead in the water. With the new deal and Zuffa’s alleged promotional push coming it seems like things might change. If they don’t then Strikeforce is absolutely on borrowed time.