It's this setup that has led to frustration among many fighters healthy and able to fight, who have simply not been utilized on Strikeforce's cards as often as they perhaps should. The latest to voice his concern is lightweight Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante, who made his Strikeforce debut last October with a close and controversial split decision loss to Josh Thomson.
In an interview with Tatame.com, Cavalcante vented some of his anger about the situation, and expressed some hope that things might change with Zuffa now in charge of Strikeforce.
"[Things with Strikeforce are not] good at all. They've been promising me a fight since December and every month they say the same thing: that I'll be on their next card, next month," he said. "Meanwhile they've offered me two bouts with five days in advance and I asked them some time to think about it. They called me in the morning and I asked them to give an answer in the evening. Then, when I called them, they have found someone already, and they didn't tell me anything, they didn't call me... I hope that with Strikeforce's purchase [by Zuffa], its organization will improve, and also its structure."
His frustrations are compounding with not getting a fight in Strikeforce, as he claims he has still not yet been paid by DREAM for his last fight in Japan, a split decision win over Katsunori Kikuno.
"My manager called them, but nobody [responded], nobody answers," he said about his attempts to get what he's owed. "It's disrespectful, the guys disappeared. The situation in Japan's not good, because of the tsunami, but it's no excuse, because it's been a year. They should, at least, answer me, because there are people saying they plan to produce another event.
"I'm considering, I'm looking for a [lawyer], trying to find another agency in Japan, somebody from there, who's closer to it, so that I can get this cleared up."
It's another reason Cavalcante sees Zuffa's purchase of Strikeforce as a good thing, though he believes an eventual monopoly of the sport wouldn't be a good thing. That said, he hopes some other promotions are able to start up, and he hopes to keep his options open in the future.
"It's never good when there's a monopoly, it's complicated," he said. "For now, it's good because it's two different events, with individual contracts. If you have a contract with UFC, you have nothing to do with Strikeforce. It'll be good for the sport, because in the end of the day, you can have super fights, with people from both events, and you can reach different markets, but I'm waiting for other events too. The world is too big, and I hope that other countries grow and that new shows come up."
Link to Full Interview
Penick's Analysis: If Showtime was willing to air preliminary card fights to fill time on cards instead of simply going off the air once the main event is finished, even with time remaining on their broadcasts, it would help take care of some of these issues. There are a bunch of fighters on the roster that don't get fights because of recent losses that keep them off the main cards, or because they have names and contracts too big for the "challengers" series. Having even two or three undercard fights booked by Strikeforce that could possibly be broadcast to fill time allows them to keep more fighters active and not on the sidelines for overly lengthy periods of time.