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Report: Rockhold, Rousey, Melendez, and Others Are Showtime Fighters, Not Zuffa Fighters

What does it sound like when the hearts of thousands of MMA fans break at once? Strangely, it sounds a lot like Dave Meltzer’s most recent podcast. Since the Zuffa purchase of Strikeforce, fans have been clamoring to see several dream fights take place inside the octagon. Unfortunately, Meltzer has reported that it may never happen.

The departures of Alistair Overeem, Nick Diaz, and Dan Henderson (some of the California-based promotion’s biggest draws) left a bad taste in the mouths of Showtime executives, who ostensibly feared that more fighters would jump ship to head for greener pastures. This means Luke Rockhold, Ronda Rousey, Gilbert Melendez, and several of the promotion’s largest draws have clauses in their contracts which bind them to Showtime, not necessarily Strikeforce.

“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… It’s for as long as Showtime broadcasts MMA.”

The idea that many fans held on to, that once Strikeforce was folded into the UFC, the top fighters would be free to come over, is now dead in the water. These fighters would be locked into a contract with whatever MMA promotion Showtime chooses to do business with. In short, the only way for fans to see these dream fights happen would be for the UFC to sign a Showtime deal, even then, these fighters can only compete on Showtime.

What seems odd is that Zuffa actually signed off on this contract, waiving any rights to fighting it. These restrictive contracts have dashed the hopes of man by locking some of the world’s premier talent out of the big show.

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