Showtime exec 'happy' for Ronda Rousey but will 'continue to look for and develop female fighters'

Showtime Sports Vice President, Stephen Espinoza, says despite Ronda Rousey's departure from Strikeforce, they will continue to look for and develop future female stars in mixed martial arts (MMA).

The Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) gain, was ultimately Strikeforce and Showtime Sports' loss.

Ronda Rousey became the first-ever woman to sign with the world’s leading mixed martial arts (MMA) organization a few weeks ago, leaving her old employers behind with nothing but great memories to hold on to.

It's all probably for the best, really, seeing as how the San Jose-based promotion is rumored to be going under after its Jan. 12, 2013 "Champions" event.

Bolting for the greener pastures of UFC, which will undoubtedly lead to more exposure for the former Olympic Judoka with pay-per-view (PPV) events -- like UFC 157, the one she is set to headline against Liz Carmouche on Feb. 23, 2013 and potential appearances on FOX, Rousey did what any other athlete would do to advance his/her career ... and fatten their bank accounts, too.

See Gina Carano, who also left the Strikeforce ranks in favor of the bright lights of Hollywood.

Now, since the first time of Ronda's split from Strikeforce, Showtime Sports Vice President, Stephen Espinoza, talks to Fight Hub TV about Rousey's departure, saying it was ‘difficult' to see her leave, but is happy she is living her dream of fighting for the UFC and why he is confident the network will continue to look for and produce more female stars in MMA:

"It was difficult to see her go because we were sort of with her from the start. We were the only network that she's been on, you know, in terms of fighting. But, I'm very happy for her personally. I know it was always her dream that she would go into the UFC and I am happy that she achieved that. I'm confident we're going to continue to discover and develop good fighters. I'm genuinely happy. She seems like she's very happy at the opportunity. The women's division, there's a long history in Showtime. As long as we've had MMA we've had a women's division. Even when it wasn't the cool thing to do. I think anything we do going forward in the MMA space is going to involve the women's division. We sort of found and help develop Gina (Carano) and then when Gina went off and go into her other interests, I don't think anyone really thought there would be another female star that was developed on Showtime. And I'm not saying that Gina and Ronda are a dime a dozen because they are really once in a lifetime stars. But, there's plenty of talent out there and we are going to continue to look for and develop them."

So does this mean Strikeforce isn't going under? Or is Showtime planning to create their own MMA brand down the road?

Time will tell.

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