No UFC for you!
That's the word regarding Strikeforce contracted talent like Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey, Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez, and Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer dropped what amounts to a bombshell in casual conversation on his radio show last night.
Our friends at BloodyElbow.com with the transcription:
"They made this list of guys and they said 'these are our guys' and, even if their contract expires, they can't move to UFC. That's part of their deal with keeping this alive. So these guys are stuck. ... He [Gilbert Melendez] couldn't go to UFC. He could go to Bellator if he wanted to, but he couldn't go to the UFC. ... There's a list of guys, not everyone on Showtime is on the list, but Ronda Rousey is on the list, Gilbert Melendez is on the list, Luke Rockhold is on the list... It's for as long as Showtime broadcasts MMA."
"The list." It sounds so intriguing, right?
Actually, it sounds miserable for those few "name" talents left with the San Jose based promotion. For what it's worth, Meltzer's co-host, Bryan Alvarez, openly questioned the legalities of a such a thing, wondering aloud how it could be possible that Showtime could keep these fighters away from the UFC, even if they were no longer under contract to Strikeforce.
I'm certainly no lawyer and can't speak to any contracts I haven't been privvy to looking at. Meltzer isn't a lawyer either, he's simply going on what he's been told by those who are in the know on such matters.
It all seems so strange.
Alvarez would continue to challenge Meltzer's report, asking if a fighter could take this to court, how would it play out. Meltzer's response:
"They can't because it's a contract the UFC has, it's not a fighter deal. I've had the whole thing explained to me by one of the fighters on the list. Zuffa isn't going to do it to be in breach of contract. The contract is between Zuffa and Showtime that this list of fighters are Showtime fighters and if they're in the Zuffa organization they will fight on Showtime."
So essentially, it sounds as though all parties knowingly entered into this deal with the possible exception of the fighters currently contracted to Strikeforce. As Meltzer explained it, Showtime needed a way to stop UFC from stealing all its top name talent and in turn, killing the ratings when they actually do broadcast MMA.
Can't blame them for that.
Again, though, there's a lot of information that we don't know, so I would hold off on too much speculation. Still, this is quite the newsworthy item regarding why exactly fighters like Melendez and Rockhold are left fighting lesser competition than what they probably should be.
Thought on all this, Maniacs?