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Showtime Exec Says Talent Pool, Injuries Killed Strikeforce Partnership

January 8, 2013 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

Showtime Sports Executive Vice President and General Manager Stephen Espinoza recently spoke with MMAjunkie about the end of Showtime’s partnership with Strikeforce and more. Check out the highlights:

On when the writing was on the wall: “Somewhere in the latter part of the year, it became clear that the talent pool was such that we really couldn’t deliver the kind of first-class premium television events that Strikeforce and Showtime have become known for.”

On Showtime’s MMA plans: “Going forward, we would have to be comfortable that whatever promoter or promoters we were going into business with that there is a sufficient talent base to put on the number of events that we were talking about.”

On Dana White’s comments earlier in 2012 against Showtime’s production team: “I wasn’t happy about those comments, but the goal here is to put on high-quality events, and that’s the standard that the Strikeforce/Showtime relationship should be judged on – not whether Dana is nice to us.”

On the succession of injuries that caused card cancellations: “We hit a patch where we were just getting injury after injury, and things become more than just an isolated incident, but really a trend that reveals a talent-pool issue…The communication was somewhat difficult at times. We were dealing with unpleasant circumstances … that really neither side had anything to do with causing, and neither side was very happy with. There were a range of conversations about how to respond to that.”

On possibly signing broadcast deals with multiple promotions: “If you look at one small regional promoter and an exclusive deal with them, it probably wouldn’t make sense because we wouldn’t be able to sustain more than one or two events a year.”

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Jeremy Thomas

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