Coker tried, failed to get control of Strikeforce

Monday, March 14, 2011



Three years ago Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment, which also runs the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, agreed to a partnership with Strikeforce’s parent company, West Coast Entertainment, a San Jose-based kickboxing promotion created by Scott Coker in 1985. Coker did not move to promote MMA under the Strikeforce banner until 2006. Coker and Silicon Valley shared an even split of the company.

On March 1, Coker described rumors of a pending sale to the UFC as “crazy.” He said Strikeforce was searching for “strategic partners” and that there were at least two options, but that “the UFC is not one of them.”

Among those potential investors was ProElite, Inc., which was told it could buy out Coker’s Silicon Valley partners for $20 million and another $20 million investment in capital, a source involved in the negotiations said. ProElite is a publicly traded company that promoted MMA on Showtime under the EliteXC banner until it sold its assets to Strikeforce and its partner Silicon Valley in February 2009. That 2009 sale created the opportunity for Strikeforce to strike a deal with Showtime.

Sources confirmed Coker, the current Strikeforce CEO, attempted to wrest control of the brand, but in the end was unsuccessful. Instead, an agreement to sell Strikeforce’s licensing rights, fighter contracts and video library closed with the UFC on Thursday or Friday.

White told that Coker would remain in charge of Strikeforce and retain his staff of around 10 employees. The company would run separately from UFC and exhaust its contracts with Showtime television. The network has a deal with Strikeforce that runs through early 2012, sources said.

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