Last Monday, July 16, Stephen Espinoza of Showtime Sports has repudiated the rumors of a list containing the names of fighters banned from joining the UFC in accordance with the Strikeforce deal with Showtime Sports. During the weekend, Dave Meltzer, a veteran journalist in MMA has reported the three companies: Strikeforce, Showtime, and Zuffa have all agreed to list fighters that cannot cross the division between Strikeforce and UFC. This also applies even after contract expiry thus enabling them to be free agents. Moreover, Luke Rockhold, Gilbert Melendez, and Ronda Rousey are but few of the fighters listed.
Espinoza’s Deal with the Issue
During the MMA Hour last Monday, Espinoza finally bashed the reports about an existing list of Strikeforce fighters. Espinoza even added that Showtime is not responsible for promotions of any MMA fighter which only means that they cannot prohibit any activity or business they deal with. Showtime is only responsible for promoting the talents of Strikeforce. “All this stuff about controlling people when they’re free agents and things like that, that’s not true,” Espinoza added. Significantly, fighters’ contracts are exclusively dealt by Zuffa or Strikeforce. Showtime does not have any privilege whatsoever to be involved with such contracts. However, Espinoza recognized the rule that UFC cannot meddle with any fighter having current deals with Strikeforce, as this is the case for all professional sports.
Generally, having any contract with Strikeforce at present inhibits a fighter to sign any deal with UFC. The news of Strikeforce fighters to come over UFC may not be happening sooner than anyone thinks. Nonetheless, this is definitely possible once Strikeforce’s fighters become free agents. Fighters can then entertain any deal coming from UFC. Whichever the case, there is no truth to the news on Showtime, Strikeforce, and UFC listing banned fighters. People are negating these circumstances but it actually boils down to one thing and that is, money.