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Reality Check: Fedor vs. Rogers; The Strikeforce Win-Win Situation

With “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers” on the horizon, it’s time for all of you to have your reality checked once again.

The biggest myth I see in regards to this fight is the effect of a loss by Fedor Emelianenko will have on Strikeforce as a company.

Of course, many have said that a loss by Emelianenko would be a catastrophic disaster for Strikeforce, and would cause the financial ruin of the up and coming promotion, however I could not disagree more, and let me tell you why….

From Strikeforce’s position, this fight is certainly a win/win, regardless of outcome.

The powers that be at Showtime and CBS have finally arrived at the party. Fedor vs. Rogers commercials are now standard issue on primetime and this past weekend’s crossover promotion with NFL football could prove priceless.

While it would be naive to attempt to water down the roll “The Last Emperor” and his legacy of greatness have played in forcing the ball to begin rolling, Brett Rogers and his mohawk are there for the ride as well, and don’t you ever discredit the draw power of a massive heavyweight with a mohawk. Just look at the box office draw for Rocky III as a quick point of reference.

While most people agree Fedor should win this fight, the benefits of a Rogers victory should not go unnoticed. Let’s forget for a minute all we know about MMA. On the surface, Brett Rogers is going to be a pretty easy sell. Big, intimidating, and most importantly from a marketing standpoint undefeated. The reality is this weekend’s Strikeforce event could easily be the most watched mixed martial arts event in history. To have 6-10 million viewers ( a majority of which who will know as much about MMA as Frank Shamrock tells them) watch an undefeated Brett Rogers defeat the man widely recognized as the best heavyweight ever is not a bad thing for Strikeforce. They will have a homegrown superstar at a bargain price.

So much is made about the finances of signing Fedor, the real question for me is how much would it cost to build a homegrown superstar, a household name that a new generation of MMA fans will know and recognize?

Forget us as hardcore fans, we can complain and make a case against Rogers until we are blue in the face. If we are honest with ourselves, we know we will be watching. Furthermore, we will watch next time as well, and the time after that.

Strikeforce has to have a goal set to create new fans, those who up until now have not purchased pay per view or given the sport a chance. New fans are going to be the life blood for Strikeforce, the group of new fans that will listen to the company line and buy it. Zuffa has their fans, we all know them, those who go to bed at night believing “ if the guy isn’t fighting in the UFC he can’t be very good.”

As hard as it may be to believe, Strikeforce can grow a heard of their own. An army of MMA “noobs” who will happily tell you on a Friday night at your local speak-easy that Brett Rogers would smash Brock Lesnar into oblivion. They will know this is true because they watched with their own eyes as Rogers laid waste to “the baddest man on the planet.”

I’m sure many of you remember the finale of TUF 1, a fight that is regarded by most as the most important fight in the history of the UFC. Depending on when you started following the sport, that fight meant different things to different people. While some viewed it as an all out war, others viewed it as a sloppy fight between two reality show fighters with no future.

Perception is reality, the UFC introduced their product on the biggest stage possible ( at the time) , the fight was exciting, and the entire company did their jobs and a whole generation of “Tuf noobs” were born.

Regardless of outcome, Strikeforce will have a similar opportunity with each passing CBS Primetime show.

Two men will fight in this weekend’s main event , and the story that plays out in the cage can only end one of two ways: Either….

A) Strikeforce has the number one heavyweight in the world and they have brought him to you for free on primetime broadcast television.


B) Strikeforce has the hottest up and coming superstar in the mixed martial arts world, Brett Rogers, a man who has defeated Andrei Arlovski, and now the consensus number 1 heavyweight on the planet Fedor Emelianenko. A superstar that speaks English, lives in the USA and is available for comment 24/7.

Not bad for a worse case scenario.

  • HonorableAggression says:

    I totally agree that its a win-win for SF, they’re much too strong an organization to be in “ruin” over any one fighter losing drastically, and if it happens it will up rogers value ten-fold, while not diminishing fedor’s rep as drastically as some might think, imo.

  • Angry Mike says:

    A loss by Fedor would shock the MMA community and the long-time fans, but they’re the only ones who appreciate the magnitude of it. Even UFC fans who regularly watch ppv’s won’t necessarily know who Fedor is.

  • larsenator says:

    TOTALLY agree!

    GOOD piece. :)

  • xtreme_machine says:

    either way SF still has Werdun and Overeen

    hey guys is this consider a blog?

  • edub says:

    Yes it is Xtreme

  • sides666 says:

    i would love to see rogers put an end to fedors mystique but alas its not gonna happen as we all remember the reason fagdor signed with strikeforce was so he would not have face real competiton and here we are strikeforce is telling us oh look at brett rogers hes so good he is undefeated but what was that he sucks oh yeah

  • BiG BaD BuLL says:

    awesome article Dave.Despite the disdain that Dana shows regarding strikeforce, I feel that Zuffa does see them as a legitimate threat. I feel like the UFC is signing fighters that they would normally cut or have no interest in simply to deny Strikforce the opportunity of having fighters that might be recognizable to the common populace. the perfect example being phil baroni.

  • MMApride19 says:

    My personal view on the fight…

    Although its a win – win for Strikeforce, i think it would benefit them alot more if Fedor wins. If he is being hyped up as he should be (i dont live in the US, so im not aware of any marketing they are doing on CBS), many ‘new’ fans that are going to watch the event, as it is being aired for free, will immediately buy into the hype, expecting Fedor to walk through this guy. They wil see how big Rogers is, and think Fedor must be unstoppable to beat a guy so big and dangerous. (This is not how im thinking lol, just what i think alot of people who dont watch MMA will think). But also hype Rogers up as a very dangerous brawler, so he seems like a legitimately tough test for this so called ‘unbeatable, baddest dude on the planet’ Fedor. Rogers is the unbeaten KO artist, ‘will Fedor be able to defeat the giant beast?’ Lol something like that you know. So.. Fedor wins… and all these people that are watching the event are instantly new fans of Fedor. And they will want to see him fight again. Fedor loses… huge disapointment, and all that hype just fizzles out on Fedors behalf, and more mainstream people just see the big strong heavy guy win. Where as id imagine, people would be far more intrigued and impressed in seeing the ‘lesser guy’ (in terms of appearence) winning. Imagine how many more people will start respecting MMA far more, seeing a fighter like Fedor win..

    IMO, Fedor is far easier to hype up than Rogers. A normal looking man… looks a tad overweight, so calm and relaxed, so humble… but yet steps in the ring and destroys his opponents. I think thats far easier to hype up, than a guy who looks like a thug lol.

    I may be abit biased in my assessment, as i am a long time fan of Fedor. I have followed the guy for years now. And i firmly believe, until he is beaten, he should remain P4P best in the world. Anderson Silva can claim no.1 spot if he continues to win should Fedor lose. But currently, Fedor should easily be considered P4P best. I dont see anyway that Rogers could possibly win. I honestly even think Fedor could out-strike Rogers. I think Fedor is one of the best counter punchers in MMA. He isnt known for it, but watch his fights…. his counters are awe inspiring. His striking, whilst not technically perfect, is delivered with such speed and power which makes up for the slight lack of technique. Rogers is powerful.. but so was Mirko Cro Cop (who IMO in his prime, was far more feared than Rogers!!!). Infact, at HW, most fighters have extreme KO power. Its one of the perks of being so big!!! I admit, i am impressed with Rogers striking, but not to the point that he is the most dangerous HW striker out there. He has powerful, fast hands… but id say he is quite predictable. Fedor has everything… kicks.. knees… punches. And then.. his ground game, which i dont need to talk about, as everybody should know that Fedors ground game is MILES ahead of Rogers. Imagine what would happen if Rogers bum rushes Fedor… i see a big sambo slam.

    I think Fedor will strike with Rogers for a while, maybe surprise Rogers, that he wants to strike with him. And then take him down. Where he will use that vicious GnP, then submit Rogers. I see it being relatively simple, and quite easy for Fedor. I hope Rogers proves me wrong, so i can see a war. But i think Fedor is going to dismantle Rogers quickly. If Rogers beats Fedor… I will shut my mouth and give him abit more respect. But i just cannot see it happening.

    I dont know about anyone else here, but if Fedor loses, in my opinion, it will be ‘the’ biggest upset in MMA history. Well that will definetly be the way i would be looking at it.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    “I dont know about anyone else here, but if Fedor loses, in my opinion, it will be ‘the’ biggest upset in MMA history. Well that will definetly be the way i would be looking at it.”

    Yep I agree.
    But all it takes is 1 lucky punch (or strike) to lose a fight. It has happened to Sylvia, Gonzaga, Gsp, Arlovski and nearly happened to Fedor when he fought Fugita.

  • BigDave says:

    Good read although the only way i see this being a win for strikeforce is kinda 2 and a half parted. First Fedor has to win and get a fight with Overeem for the title by January at the latest or Rogers needs to KO Fedor and by KO I mean absolutly devastatingly so. I don’t think win or lose that Rogers is going to be a big draw because lets face facts he isn’t the most flamboyent guy out there he isn’t a trash talker or overly wity to be able to hype a fight on his own.

    The best way for strikeforce to have made this a win/win would have been very simple and frankly should have been done months ago and that would be to have stripped Overeem of his totally undeserved title and made this fight a 5 rd battle for the belt.

    Right now in my mind the only thing that would make this a win for strikeforce is a Fedor win just because everyone with even a passing intrest in MMA wants to see Fedor rip overeems arms off and beat him with them then Take the belt and hang him from the rafters with it.(Ok a little over the top but you get the point….Ihope 😉 )

  • mu_shin says:

    Excellent points by Mr. Andrest. Strikeforce arrives on the MMA scene in a big way in either scenario, but like most other long time MMA fans, its almost impossible for me to imagine Brett Rogers winning this match. Emelianenko is human, and as such he can be beaten, I just don’t think it’s going to happen on Nov. 7.

    The biggest positive in business terms is developing new fans for the sport through the exposure on network television with no fee. While hardcore long time devotees may disparage the “noobs”, bigger fan base should translate to more of everything we like about MMA: more athletes attracted to the sport, more events for fans to consume, and perhaps even more financial opportunities for up and coming fighters.

    Posted previously that I watched many of Rogers’ previous fights up to and including Arlovski, and have seen very little in Brett’s style, conditioning, and experience to indicate he is a threat to an elite fighter like Fedor. My hope is that after he beats Rogers and Overeem, we’ll perhaps get to see Fedor against whoever wears the UFC belt, crowned the undisputed world heavyweight champion, unifying both the hardcore and the new fans in appreciating the most accomplished heavyweight in the short history of our young sport.

  • MMApride19 says:

    mu_shin: My hope is that after he beats Rogers and Overeem, we’ll perhaps get to see Fedor against whoever wears the UFC belt, crowned the undisputed world heavyweight champion, unifying both the hardcore and the new fans in appreciating the most accomplished heavyweight in the short history of our young sport.

    Whilst im sure Strikeforce would have no problem with this, i guarentee the UFC – or more likely Dana – would never allow it. But, as a fan.. that would be the biggest event in the world. And it would be a great day for MMA, when UFC actually willingly co promotes an event, which could possibly be the biggest event in MMA history!

  • rsevans64 says:

    new to this site and I am glad to finialy see some un-bias reporting on MMA. Ido feel it is a win-win

  • fraz says:

    How long is Rogers’ deal with Strikeforce?

    If he happens to destroy Fedor, how soon can he move to UFC and leave Strikeforce without a champ and with a Fedor who’s reputation has taken a huge hit?


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