Strikeforce gets licensed

With the exception of a few hiccups-- including the absence of a huge chunk of their back catalog on DVD -- the UFC has absolutely embarrassed any other combat sporting entity in the licensing department.

Do you want a UFC flask? You can buy a UFC flask. Do you want an Anderson Silva Fathead? Maybe that's best left for past tense, but you can get one. Toy aisles are filling up with UFC merchandise. A child reared on playing make-believe hematoma fests is going to grow up a UFC fan. It's the McDonald's model: get the hooks in early.

Strikeforce, the No. 2 promotion by a fairly wide margin, hasn't displayed any real hustle in this area. (There have been licensing deals with some of their major players, but nothing bearing the Strikeforce logo.) The EA Sports video game deal was a good, early step. Now the company is pursuing a more aggressive arrangement with Collective Licensing International (CLI). The deal calls for Strikeforce apparel, footwear and ancillary stuff.

The UFC brand is so predominant that you're not going to squeeze them out for shelf space, but where Strikeforce can excel is in appealing to a demographic that wants to present a more subtle public appreciation for the sport and not a skeleton putting an armbar on a Cyclops.