Strikeforce on CBS: The Importance of a Great First Impression

James Ryan

From the first moment that any new customer comes into contact with a business, they are immediately judging the quality of its services. This first impression becomes the standard against which all other contacts are measured.

On Saturday November 7th, the Strikeforce promotional debut on CBS will no doubt open up a whole new market for both Strikeforce and MMA in general. Now all Strikeforce has to do is put on a good enough show to keep new viewers interested enough to come back.

I can just imagine that the CBS Executive’s must still be reeling from the EliteXC let down (in case you missed it or forgot; Kimbo Slice got knocked out in one of the most over-hyped, do-nothing fights in the history of MMA). It didn’t exactly leave the newly acquired, “non-traditional” fans wanting more.

If the hardcore fans were left disenchanted, imagine how someone may have felt who didn’t follow the sport more regularly. How embarrassing.

Consider this:

First impressions are often permanent impressions.

This first impression process occurs in every new situation.

Once the first impression is made, it is virtually irreversible and the content of your future speech or actions will not likely change it.

In my opinion, the pressure is really on Strikeforce here to put on an amazing show. How many times have you rented or watched a UFC pay-per-view anticipating one of the best shows ever (based on the line-up) only to be disappointed? Well, that’s the UFC. As the “new kid”, Strikeforce will not have the luxury of putting on a sub-par performance and maintaining loyal, eager fans in the process.

The Strikeforce organization has no room for error. The fighters must perform at their career best and they must do it with class.

I say “good luck” to Strikeforce this weekend and I mean that sincerely. I am looking forward to some of the best MMA fights ever to be televised.

Then again, if I am not immediately impressed, I can always switch over to the UFC on Spike.

That’s always an option.

James Ryan
James Ryan



  1. Kevin

    Great article! I cant wait to watch this.

  2. Michael

    Good article. You bring up an interesting point about the Strikeforce event this Saturday. Good job.

  3. Stoker

    ..exactly my friend!! ..first kimbo and elite xc gets their ass k'od on national tv, and now fedor is about to meet the “Grimm Reaper” on cbsssss

    ** I can't help feeling bad for all the FEDOR fan-boys who will tune in this weekend to see their emperor hero become nothing more than and emperor penguin—,flapping around on the canvas after being knocked out cold by the the Big Brett!!
    ….good bye last emperor!!! , go back to steroid-ville( japan) ..and beat up some more sub par Asians and ex-ufc has beens. ..bbbhahaha

  4. Joey

    Good read…

    Do you think the first impression left by CBS and EliteXC has been removed by causal fans? People that enjoy the sport will be watching, but do you think it will be hard to draw new fans given the last time CBS had free fights they seem to leave the casual fan unimpressed?

    I think CBS (Strikeforces) biggest challenge is erasing the memory of EliteXC, and having people realize that Strikeforce is a brand of it's own and is not a lesser product of the UFC and very different then EliteXC. This is a real legit card and I hope people tune into to watch~

  5. James

    Hey Joey,


    I personally think that less people would be inclined to tune in if it were another EliteXC show, but I am hopeful that more people will be willing to give this show a “second chance” given that it is a separate company.

    I also think that Fedor is a better “mainstream” attraction than Kimbo anyway, so that may help.

  6. KK

    “Once the first impression is made, it is virtually irreversible and the content of your future speech or actions will not likely change it.”

    No wonder its so hard for me to get a girlfriend!


    Good read brah

    CBS wont be let down a second time, thats for sure :)

  7. Darren

    Couldn't agree anymore about this being Strikeforce's big shot. Unfortunately, they're already hamstrung by their terrible broadcast team.

  8. davemorrison

    Great points James. Really solid stuff. I am a fan.

  9. Todd

    Couldnt agree more. They are in a very unique position, go loud or go home. They could wrap up an audience that the UFC could never reach with Spike TV. They must first impress with the event. As you said, it could equally alienate the same crowd if something less than entertaining is presented. That is the double edged sword of our sport. It can rivet you one moment, and have you channel surfing the next. Hopefully its the first not the latter for Strikeforce. They dont need a Griffin Bonnar but a couple good fights could go a long way for their first primetime major network card. It really is bigger than just Strikeforce too. Hey, lets face it, we all watched one thing that captured our attention once upon a time, then after some homework we learned that it wasnt just one promotion putting on good fights. If SF can lure some new fans, they will almost become MMA fans by default, not just SF fans, and some of that love will trickle into promotions like the UFC or the like.

  10. SF

    Cold comment indeed to finish off your article James – but it illustrated your point perfectly.

    For Strikeforce, this is their “shot” – the Kimbo debacle proved that major networks don't have time for costly mistakes. A big night here makes them the #2 MMA promotion in North America. A bad night will lose them their network contracts. It's all or nothing.

    The real pressure, though, is on Fedor. He has to prove he can be a major draw outside of hardcore MMA fans, and this is his last and greatest chance to do so. All or nothing, again.

    A friend of mine recently told me he wasn't going to be watching the Strikeforce card this Saturday. He's as big a fan of MMA as me, so this was pretty surprising news. When I asked him why, he said that he was frustrated with the direction of both Strikeforce and Fedor and wouldn't watch out of principle.

    Now, people who have read my writing know i've said some less then flattering things about Fedor Emelianenko in the past. This dude knew I agreed with him when it came to Fedor's career, and was probably expecting me to agree with him and join his little boycott. Let's just say I disagreed.

    Say what you will about Fedor, about M-1, or about “Gracieforce” – after the corrupt, embarassing fiasco that was the Elite XC network offerings last year, I'm damn proud of the fact that it's Fedor Emelianenko that's headlining a major MMA card on network TV. Simply put, he represents everything the sport should be about – the hard work, the lack of trash talk, the martial spirit – and everything Kimbo Slice and Elite XC wasn't.

  11. King J

    you Canadians get CBS up there?

  12. James

    LOL :) King J!!! We get it until 11pm. Then we lose electricty once they turn Niagara Falls off :)

  13. Nate

    Good read.

    I think Strikeforce has made an excellent effort to pack their first CBS card full of potentially great fights which is great for the fans.

    Surprisingly they've stepped up the promotional push lately too. I've seen tons of big banner ads on most of the big MMA sites as well as on CBS NFL and college football games.

    The 360 program on Showtime was very well done and made me even more interested in both Fedor and Rogers.

    My only worry is regarding the production and the commentating. Previous CBS MMA broadcasts were, well, bad. Very bad. I hope they've put some attention into the details of making a well put together broadcast.

    Whenever Frank Shamrock grabs the mic I cringe. He comes off as a douchy goof which really isn't the best thing for Strikeforce. I hope he's been actively taking classes at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting during all this downtime.

  14. I’d pay good money to see Fedor vs Brock!

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