Need some new Heavyweights? You’ll need some PR too…

Posted: September 14, 2010 in Bellator, Marketing, PR, Strikeforce

This week there was an announcement I did not think I would ever hear again.  Former heavyweight champions Josh Barnett and Ricco Rodriguez were both signed to major MMA promotions. Barnett will now be part of the growing STRIKEFORCE family and Rodriguez will try his luck in the tournament setting of the Bellator Fighting Championships.

For those new to MMA, let’s look at these two warriors:

“The Baby Faced Assassin” Josh Barnett*:
Record 29 – 5 – 0
Wins: 7 (T)KOs; 17 Submissions; 4 Decisions; 1 Other
Highlights: Former UFC Heavyweight champion, Former King of Pancrase Open weight Champion, Finalist in Pride Open weight Grand Prix
Lowlights: The only MMA fighter to test positive for anabolic steroids 3x; Single handedly caused the fall of Affliction MMA promotions.

Ricco “Suave” Rodriguez*:
Record 44 – 11 – 0
Wins: 12 (T)KOs ; 23 Submissions; 8 Decisions; 1 Other
Highlights: Former UFC Heavyweight champion.  Has wins over Andrei Arlovski, Jeff Monson, Randy Couture, and Paul Buentello.
Lowlights: Suffered repeated battles with drug abuse and has appeared on the VH1 reality television show Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.

Although I am all for second chances, I’m not for third, fourth, etc….  I would love to see come from behind stories for both MMA fighters, but I think this is a mistake for both promotions.  Neither fighter brings what these organizations crave most: fan interest, brand interest and ultimately ticket sales purchases.

PR teams, be on call the day of drug testing….

*Stats from

  1. […] and be another venue for MMA fans to see great cards and fights. Based on their continued desire to sign former stars, this may never actually […]

  2. […] As I’ve written in the past, this is another miss in my eyes for STRIKEFORCE.  Rather than host a tournament of “new blood” or try to create a new breed of STRIKEFORCE heavyweights they are grabbing on to those the UFC let go. (Don’t get me wrong, I love all of these guys as fighters).  Instead of learning from what the UFC continues to do with TUF, which is farm new talent, they keep trying to grow their brand on existing fighters.  The mystique of Emelianenko is over.  Find the next “Emperor” – he or she will more likely to help you draw in fans that will stick around for years to come. […]

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