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Monday, Jul 16, 2012

Media Watch: Are Showtime Contracts Preventing Several Strikeforce Fighters From Going To UFC?

Are the contracts of certain Strikeforce superstars like Luke Rockhold (left) preventing these fighters from going to the UFC? Photo credit: Esther Lin/Strikeforce

By Michael Hatamoto

The relationship between Showtime and Zuffa remains rather fickle, with some of Zuffa-owned Strikeforce fighters desperately seeking the opportunity to join the UFC.

However, according to Dave Meltzer in a post on the Wrestling Observer Forums, several Strikeforce fighters are locked into a near-impossible contract:

“I was told by one of the fighters who got it straight from Stephen Espinosa that certain guys are Showtime fighters as long as the Zuffa/Showtime contract is in effect. The fighter was a main guy on a list agreed to be Showtime and Zuffa when the new deal went down and the agreement was all fighters on the list are Showtime fighters as long as they are under contract to Zuffa and as long as Showtime airs Strikeforce.

Zuffa and Showtime can sign a new contract that changes the stips between Zuffa and Showtime now or when this deal expires, but he was told he can’t transfer to UFC as long as the current deal is in place and could not fight on a UFC card unless Showtime gives the okay.”
Due to Zuffa’s current contract with Showtime, Strikeforce superstars won’t be able to wait out their contracts and simply re-sign before joining the UFC.  If Showtime is still hosting MMA, then it appears that fighters are foreseeably locked into a contract and won’t be able to join the UFC.

Fighters such as lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, middleweight champion Luke Rockhold and women’s MMA superstar Ronda Rousey cannot join the UFC as long as Zuffa and Showtime have a contract in place.

Showtime remains quiet about mounting criticism regarding its efforts with Strikeforce, but UFC President Dana White (not surprisingly) had something to say.

Here is what he posted on the UG:  “Dave has lost his mind!! Now he is just making s**t up.”

White hasn’t publicly said anything about it on Twitter, but it’s likely his Twitter feed has been bombarded by questions from MMA fans.

I find it sickening that fighters such as Melendez aren’t able to jump to the UFC already, as Showtime clearly doesn’t care to promote Strikeforce.  Regardless of what Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker says about the current state of Strikeforce and Showtime, the events – and the MMA superstars – simply aren’t being promoted the way they should be.

However, exact contract issues remain centralized on fighters and their camps along with the fickle relationship between the UFC and Showtime.

posted by FCF Staff @ 1:46 pm
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