Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ronda Rousey NOT fighting in UFC anytime soon

A while back after the disappointing ratings for UFC on FOX, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer suggested that if the UFC wanted a ratings boost, they could put Ronda Rousey on FOX. Several members of the MMA media jumped on this particular bandwagon with no reservation. Of course they should have known that nothing in the fight business is that simple. Obviously I would love to see Ronda in the UFC. But as I have said before, I don't want her to be a one shot deal. I would want women's MMA to be a regular part of UFC. The Strikeforce deal with Showtime runs through 2014. I don't expect Showtime to agree to let Ronda fight on UFC on FOX as long as this agreement is in effect. But now it appears the Showtime deal is more restrictive than this. Dave Meltzer says he spoke to a Strikeforce fighter and selected fighters are actually under contract to Showtime, not Zuffa. You may recall that last year Strikeforce fighters like Alastair Overeem and Nick Diaz went the UFC. Showtime agreed to a new deal but didn't want that to happen under the new contract. So let's say Zuffa and Showtime part ways after 2014, selected Strikeforce fighters remain with Showtime as long as Showtime remains in the MMA business. So let's say Showtime signs with ProElite. Those selected Strikeforce fighters go to ProElite because their contract is with Showtime. The other restriction is that if a selected Strikeforce fighter leaves Showtime, he or she is prohibited from working for Zuffa. They can work for Bellator or anyone else but not Zuffa. I think you will agree with me that Ronda Rousey is one of the selected Strikeforce fighters under contract to Showtime. Though I'm surprised that Zuffa would agree to terms like this, they made their bed and they have to lay in it. This means that I think we can expect Strikeforce to continue as long as Showtime wants to be in the MMA business. Because Zuffa can't benefit from the selected Strikeforce fighters unless Showtime allows it. Some have suggested the deal is illegal. I don't know. I don't even play a lawyer on TV. However, Zuffa signed the deal willingly and I suspect a judge would not be sympathetic to them. I suppose fighters could sue but that's expensive and risky. So I don't expect this to be challenged in court. Remember last year all these supposed experts were expecting Zuffa to kill Strikeforce after the purchase. I said that Lorenzo Fertitta didn't spend $40M on Stikeforce to kill it. Well, he got what he wanted. I guess Strikeforce will live longer than any of us would have expected.

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