UFC-Strikeforce Showtime info, More TRT exemptions, Bellator returns, Cormier's next fight, and more
UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator and the hot button topic of TRT.
--UFC president Dana White went on The Underground to deny Dave Meltzer's claim that Strikeforce's top stars aren't allowed to fight in the UFC, due to a clause in Showtime's contract with Zuffa.
I think this whole thing is a bit misinterpreted. Meltzer on his podcast did initially say as long as Showtime broadcasts MMA, Strikeforce fighters can't fight for the UFC even if their contracts expire. What he meant was as long as Strikeforce and Showtime have a deal, no fighter like Luke Rockhold or Ronda Rousey can cross over to the UFC banner without Showtime's permission. Meltzer clarified his report on today's podcast, as well as the F4Wonline.com forums. He did say a Strikeforce fighter told him about the deal and that if there were any particulars passed on to him that were wrong, he apologizes.
Whether fully accurate or not, it's clear Showtime is protecting their investment. And really, who could blame them? It does suck for guys like Gilbert Melendez, who would be better served fighting Ben Henderson than Pat Healy, but for now--that's just the way it is. There is a silver lining in a sense that more fighters have an opportunity to compete on a national stage with Strikeforce still in existence, but obviously, the brand lacks the star power and talent level its big brother UFC has.
--According to Larry Pepe and later confirmed by MMAJunkie.com, Forrest Griffin was giving a testosterone use exemption (TUE) by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, prior to his UFC 148 co-main event trilogy bout with Tito Ortiz. All the drug tests from UFC 148 came back clean.
--UFC president Dana White told Todd Grisham in a recent interview with ESPN that if it were up to him, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) would be illegal. As of now, it doesn't look like stricter measures have been taking against exemptions by the NSAC. It shoud be noted that while Griffin is only 34, White did tell FUEL TV's Ariel Helwani that Griffin "looked old" following his win over Ortiz.
--Strikeforce heayvweight grand prix champion Daniel Cormier returns to action September 29 under the Showtime banner. His opponent has yet to be named. Presumably, with the win. Cormier will be transferred to the UFC due to Strikeforce's lack of a heavyweight division.
--The co-main event for UFC 150: Henderson vs. Edgar II on August 11 in Denver will be Donald Cerrone vs. Melvin Guillard , in what should be an exciting lightweight fight. A win by either one puts them back in the title mix, especially for Guillard, who had lost two straight before recently beating Fabricio Camoes via unanimous decision. Cerrone is coming off of a dominant win over veteran Jeremy Stephens.
--Bellator Fighting Championships returns Friday night on MTV2 and EPIX 2 with Bellator 72, headlined by the $100,000 welterweight tournament final between Karl Amoussou and Bryan Baker. Other notable fights include Waachiim Spiritwolf vs. Marius Zaromskis III and UFC veteran Paul Daley in his Bellator debut vs. Rudy Bears.
--Our own JGeorge Estrella interviewed Waachiim Spiritwolf over the week. You can listen to the interview here.