Shortly after news broke that Ronda Rousey would be joining the UFC, a story of perhaps greater importance also came down the wire. MMAFighting.com confirmed that an earlier TMZ.com report was accurate and that Strikeforce, the California-based promotion that has been home to many top mixed martial artists over the years, will be closing its doors in January.
The promotion was bought out by Zuffa LLC, the UFC's parent company, in March 2011. Zuffa has acquired and disbanded numerous promotions in the past, including the WFA, WEC and Pride FC, which led most fans and journalists to speculate that Strikeforce's days were numbered.
A complicated deal with premium cable channel Showtime, for better or worse, delayed its liquidation, but with terms set to expire in the next few months, Zuffa is now mobilizing plans to dismantle what, for a time, was one of the biggest promotions in the world.
Strikeforce remains home to many highly-ranked fighters, but was forced to cancel recent events due to injuries to headliners Frank Mir, Luke Rockhold and Gilbert Melendez. The promotion is now planning to have a final hurrah in January with a stacked card featuring three title fights: Gilbert Melendez vs. Pat Healy, Luke Rockhold vs. Lorenz Larkin and Nate Marquardt vs. Tarec Saffiedine. The card will also feature a bout between Heavyweight Grand Prix winner Daniel Cormier and Dutch kickboxer Dion Staring.
After this, the promotion will close its doors. Showtime and Strikeforce officials are refusing to comment at this time.
Keep an eye on Bleacher/Report's MMA section for more developments as news continues to break.