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Strikeforce is a U.S.-basedmarker mixed martial arts (MMA) and kickboxing organization based in San Jose, Californiamarker. It is headed by Scott Coker and Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment, operators of the HP Pavilionmarker and the San Jose Sharks. Its events and fights are currently shown on NBC, HDNet as a part of HDNet Fights, and Showtime, and the promotion debuted on CBS on November 7, 2009 with Strikeforce: Fedor vs Rogers.


Strikeforce was founded in 1985 as a kickboxing organization. It became involved with mixed martial arts in 2006 with its first MMA event, Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Gracie, on March 10, 2006, at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Californiamarker. The event was California's first regulated MMA event and broke the previous record for largest audience at a MMA event in the United States, previously held by UFC 57, with its 18,265 in attendance. The record was since broken by UFC 68 and K-1 HERO'S Dynamite!! USA, although Shamrock vs. Gracie retained the paid attendance record of 17,465.

2008-2009 Expansion

In February 2008, Strikeforce held its first event outside California with Strikeforce: At The Dome at the Tacoma Domemarker in Tacoma, Washingtonmarker. Since then it has held three additional events outside California: October 2008 in Broomfield, Coloradomarker and two during June 2009 in St. Louis, Missourimarker and Kent, Washingtonmarker respectively.

In March 2008, Strikeforce partnered with NBC to broadcast weekly highlight and fighter-profile series, Strikeforce on NBC from April 12. In February 2009, Strikeforce purchased several assets, including a video library and several fighter-contracts, from ProElite, owner of the defunct EliteXC promotion. Days later it also announced it had agreed to a three-year broadcast deal with Showtime for up to 16 events per year, as well as a deal with CBS for an option to produce up to four events for them. In addition to Strikeforce's primary events being broadcast on Showtime, it also announced it would produce ShoMMA: Strikeforce Challengers, a event-series similar to ShoXC and ShoBox, where they would highlight up-and-coming fighters.

During August 2009, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker announced that they had signed formal alliances with Japanesemarker MMA-promotion Dream and Russianmarker promotion M-1 Global. Coker said the partnership would allow for co-promotion and fighter exchanges for events both in the US and Japan, and he mentioned Shinya Aoki versus Josh Thompson or Gilbert Melendez as well as Melvin Manhoef versus Robbie Lawler creating the best match ups possible that wouldn't have existed before.

On August 15, 2009, Strikforce was available to be viewed online through the Showtime website. For a small cost "Strikeforce: All Access" is an online interactive event for the fans that streams simultaneously with the live event enabling the user multiple camera angles of the fights such as the "cage cam" exclusively offered by Showtime. A small camera is attached to the referee and fans are able to see from their perspective in real time. "Strikeforce: All Access" adds other features such as pause and instant replay. This was not the first time Strikeforce events were streamed on the Showtime website but was the first time the live stream was available to audiences and internet users outside the United States such as in Europe, Japan, Brazil, and Canada.

Strikeforce continued to expand by signing a major sponsorship deal with Rockstar Energy Drink, making it the official energy drink of Strikeforce. This in addition to having sponsors from Electronic Arts Video Games, Bodog and Full Tilt Poker. Strikeforce is also expected to air events live on prime time television on CBS starting in 2009. Their collaboration with Dream will soon lead to Strikeforce events being held in Japan.

First female championship

In June 2009, Strikeforce announced its August 15 bout between Gina Carano and Cris "Cyborg" Santos would be for its newly-created female MMA championship. The bout would also historically be the first womens' match to headline a card by a major U.S. organization. It was aired on the Showtime premium cable channel where Santos won the fight by TKO with one second left in the first round.

After the events CEO Scott Coker said he was looking at holding eight-fighter female tournaments at both 145 and possibly as early as before the end of 2009. The winner at 145 lb. would then become the number one contender for Santos.


Strikeforce employs the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. Ordinary matches consist of three five-minute rounds, while championship matches are five five-minute rounds. All rounds have a one-minute break between them. They do however deviate slightly from the formula layed out by the Unified rules (the rules state that organisations may opt for additional rules as long as they abide by the overall ruleset) by not allowing elbows on the ground.

Previous to June 2009, all womens' bouts in Strikeforce consisted of three three-minute rounds as opposed to the men's five-minute rounds. However, on June 16, 2009, Strikeforce announced it had received approval from the Washington- and California State Athletic Commissions to use five-minute rounds for all womens' bouts, including five five-minute rounds for its championship bouts.


Every men's and women's round competition is five minutes in duration. Title matches have five such rounds, non-title matches have three, and all rounds have a one-minute break between them.

Weight divisions

Match outcome

Matches usually end via:
  • Submission: a fighter clearly taps on the mat or his opponent or verbally submits.
  • Knockout: a fighter falls from a legal blow and is either unconscious or unable to immediately continue.
  • Technical Knockout (TKO): If a fighter cannot continue, the fight is ended as a technical knockout. Technical knockouts can be classified into three categories:
    • referee stoppage: (the referee determines a fighter cannot "intelligently defend" himself; if warnings to the fighter to improve his position or defense go unanswered—generally, two warnings are given, about 5 seconds apart)
    • doctor stoppage (a ringside doctor due to injury or impending injury, as when blood flows into the eyes and blinds a fighter)
    • corner stoppage (a fighter's own cornerman signals defeat for their own fighter)
  • Judges' Decision: Depending on scoring, a match may end as:
    • unanimous decision (all three judges score a win for fighter A)
    • majority decision (two judges score a win for fighter A, one judge scores a draw)
    • split decision (two judges score a win for fighter A, one judge scores a win for fighter B)
    • unanimous draw (all three judges score a draw)
    • majority draw (two judges score a draw, one judge scoring a win)
    • split draw (one judge scores a win for fighter A, one judge scores a win for fighter B, and one judge scores a draw)
    • disqualification (outcome can be overturned due to testing positive for banned substances)
Note: In the event of a draw, it is not necessary that the fighters' total points be equal. However, in a unanimous or split draw, each fighter does score an equal number of win judgments from the three judges (0 or 1, respectively).

A fight can also end in a technical decision, disqualification, forfeit, technical draw, or no contest. The latter two outcomes have no winners.

Judging criteria

The ten-point must system is in effect for all fights; three judges score each round and the winner of each receives ten points, the loser nine points or fewer. If the round is even, both fighters receive ten points. In New Jersey, the fewest points a fighter can receive is 7, and in other states by custom no fighter receives fewer than 8.


The Nevada State Athletic Commission currently lists the following as fouls:
  1. Butting with the head
  2. Eye gouging of any kind
  3. Biting
  4. Hair pulling
  5. Fish hooking
  6. Groin attacks of any kind
  7. Putting a finger into any orifice or into any cut or laceration on an opponent. (see Gouging)
  8. Small joint manipulation.
  9. Striking to the spine or the back of the head. (see Rabbit punch)
  10. Striking downward using the point of the elbow. (see Elbow )
  11. Throat strikes of any kind, including, without limitation, grabbing the trachea.
  12. Clawing, pinching or twisting the flesh.
  13. Grabbing the clavicle.
  14. Kicking the head of a grounded opponent.
  15. Kneeing the head of a grounded opponent.
  16. Stomping a grounded opponent.
  17. Kicking to the kidney with the heel.
  18. Spiking an opponent to the canvas on his head or neck. (see piledriver)
  19. Throwing an opponent out of the ring or fenced area.
  20. Holding the shorts or gloves of an opponent.
  21. Spitting at an opponent.
  22. Engaging in unsportsmanlike conduct that causes an injury to an opponent.
  23. Holding the ropes or the fence.
  24. Using abusive language in the ring or fenced area.
  25. Attacking an opponent on or during the break.
  26. Attacking an opponent who is under the care of the referee.
  27. Attacking an opponent after the bell (horn) has sounded the end of a round.
  28. Flagrantly disregarding the instructions of the referee.
  29. Timidity, including, without limitation, avoiding contact with an opponent, intentionally or consistently dropping the mouthpiece or faking an injury.
  30. Interference by the corner.
  31. Throwing in the towel during competition.

When a foul is charged, the referee in their discretion may deduct one or more points as a penalty. If a foul incapacitates a fighter, then the match may end in a disqualification if the foul was intentional, or a no contest if unintentional. If a foul causes a fighter to be unable to continue later in the bout, it ends with a technical decision win to the injured fighter if the injured fighter is ahead on points, otherwise it is a technical draw.

Match conduct

  • After a verbal warning the referee can stop the fighters and stand them up if they reach a stalemate on the ground (where neither are in a dominant position or working towards one). This rule is codified in Nevada as the stand-up rule.
  • If the referee pauses the match, it is resumed with the fighters in their prior positions.
  • Grabbing the cage brings a verbal warning, followed by an attempt by the referee to release the grab by pulling on the grabbing hand. If that attempt fails or if the fighter continues to hold the cage, the referee may charge a foul.
  • Under unified rules, antics are permitted before events to add to excitement and allow fighters to express themselves, but abusive language during combat is prohibited.

Strikeforce events

This is a list of events held and scheduled by Strikeforce. Upcoming events are listed in italics

No. Event Date Venue Location
1 Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Gracie March 10, 2006 HP Pavilion at San Josemarker San Jose, Californiamarker
2 Strikeforce: Revenge June 9, 2006 HP Pavilion at San Josemarker San Jose, Californiamarker
3 Strikeforce: Tank vs. Buentello October 7, 2006 Save Mart Centermarker Fresno, Californiamarker
4 Strikeforce: Triple Threat December 8, 2006 HP Pavilion at San Josemarker San Jose, Californiamarker
5 Strikeforce: Young Guns February 10, 2007 San Jose Civic Auditorium San Jose, Californiamarker
6 Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Baroni June 22, 2007 HP Pavilion at San Josemarker San Jose, Californiamarker
7 Strikeforce: Playboy Mansion September 29, 2007 The Playboy Mansionmarker Beverly Hills, Californiamarker
8 Strikeforce: Four Men Enter, One Man Survives November 16, 2007 HP Pavilion at San Josemarker San Jose, Californiamarker
9 Strikeforce: Young Guns II February 1, 2008 San Jose Civic Auditorium San Jose, Californiamarker
10 Strikeforce: At The Dome February 23, 2008 Tacoma Domemarker Tacoma, Washingtonmarker
11 Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Le March 29, 2008 HP Pavilion at San Josemarker San Jose, Californiamarker
12 Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Thomson June 27, 2008 HP Pavilion at San Josemarker San Jose, Californiamarker
13 Strikeforce: Young Guns III September 13, 2008 San Jose Civic Auditorium San Jose, Californiamarker
14 Strikeforce: At The Mansion II September 20, 2008 The Playboy Mansionmarker Beverly Hills, Californiamarker
15 Strikeforce: Payback October 3, 2008 Broomfield Events Centermarker Broomfield, Coloradomarker
16 Strikeforce: Destruction November 21, 2008 HP Pavilion at San Josemarker San Jose, Californiamarker
17 Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz April 11, 2009 HP Pavilion at San Josemarker San Jose, Californiamarker
18 ShoMMA 1: Evangelista vs. Aina May 15, 2009 Save Mart Centermarker Fresno, Californiamarker
19 Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields June 6, 2009 Scottrade Centermarker St. Louis, Missourimarker
20 ShoMMA 2: Villasenor vs. Cyborg June 19, 2009 ShoWare Centermarker Kent, Washingtonmarker
21 Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg August 15, 2009 HP Pavilion at San Josemarker San Jose, Californiamarker
22 ShoMMA 3: Kennedy vs. Cummings September 25, 2009 SpiritBank Event Centermarker Bixby, Oklahomamarker
23 ShoMMA 4: Gurgel vs. Evangelista November 6, 2009 Save Mart Centermarker Fresno, Californiamarker
24 Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers November 7, 2009 Sears Centremarker Hoffman Estates, Illinoismarker
25 ShoMMA 5: Woodley vs. Bears November 20, 2009 Memorial Hall Kansas City, Kansasmarker
26 Strikeforce: Evolution December 19, 2009 HP Pavilion at San Josemarker San Jose, Californiamarker
27 Strikeforce 22 January 30, 2010 BankAtlantic Centermarker Sunrise, Floridamarker

Current champions

Men's division Upper weight limit Champion Since Title Defenses
Heavyweight Alistair Overeem November 16, 2007 0
Light Heavyweight Gegard Mousasi August 15, 2009 0
Middleweight Jake Shields November 7, 2009 0
Lightweight Josh Thomson June 27, 2008 0
Gilbert Melendez (Interim) April 11, 2009 1

Women's division Upper weight limit Champion Since Title Defenses
Lightweight Cristiane Santos August 15, 2009 0

Notable Strikeforce fighters

The following fighters have either headlined an event in Strikeforce's main event-series (not Young Guns or ShoMMA) or held a Strikeforce World Championship.



Light Heavyweight





In other media

Video games

  • EA Sports MMA will be released in 2010 featuring Strikeforce along with global MMA enterprises.

Action figures

Figures are available from the company Round 5. A Series of their figures includesCung Le and Gina Carano. The Cung Le figure was released at the 2009 San Diego Comic Convention. An exclusive special version of the Cung Le figurine was released thereafter in which he has different colored shorts and design.

See also


  2. NSAC Regulations: Chapter 467 - Unarmed Combat. Nevada State Athletic Commission. Retrieved April 3, 2006.
  3. MMA rules explained. Nevada State Athletic Commission. Retrieved June 30, 2006.

External links

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