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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
With a depleted roster following its acquisition by Zuffa, Strikeforce continues to face questions of its validity as a fight promotion. With ratings lower than the last couple of years on Showtime, and bloated fighter contracts out-spending gate receipts, there's been a growing mindset that it's only a matter of time before the one-time competitor is absorbed fully by the UFC.
Not so fast, says UFC President Dana White.
"Strikeforce is not going anywhere," White said in an interview with Ron Kruck for HDNet's Inside MMA. "Strikeforce is performing very well for Showtime. They love the business, it's not going anywhere."
Furthermore, Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez isn't going anywhere, either. Despite complaints of his level of opposition and a lack of motivation fighting said opposition, Melendez will remain in Strikeforce for the time being.
"Gilbert Melendez is a huge star over there," White said. "He's their guy. He just won again, and he will fight again on Showtime."
As for who Melendez will face next, or whether there's any possibility of an opponent being brought over from the UFC, White simply left the door open for anything.
"We'll see, I don't know who he's going to fight next, but anything is possible," he said. "We'll see what happens."
Penick's Analysis: Showtime must have some real lowered expectations, and Zuffa must be alright with much lower live audiences and gates for Strikeforce if they're considering the first half of the year as "performing very well." It's been passable, sure, but "very well" seems like more than an optimistic outlook on things. White continues to leave the door open for a UFC opponent moving over for Melendez, but it's seemed pretty clear that no one in the UFC is interested in moving over to Strikeforce. Where they go from here remains to be seen, but it would still be surprising for a lot of people if Strikeforce is still around this time next year.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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