Zuffa, the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, has purchased top rival Strikeforce, UFC President Dana White announced Saturday in an exclusive interview with MMAFighting.
White said both promotions will continue to run as usual, with Strikeforce remaining a separate promotion and honoring its existing deals, including broadcasts on Showtime.
“I dont wanna disclose any of the details of how the deal was done. We now own Strikeforce”, White said. “Strikeforce is gonna continue to run business as usual. There are contracts in place (with fighters and Showtime). All those contracts are going to be honored. Could guys leave the UFC and end up in Strikeforce? Yes, absolutely. We’ve signed a deal with Scott Coker to stay on.”
That includes the likes of Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Dan Henderson, Nick Diaz, and Paul Daley, who according to White, will remain in Strikeforce.
“We honor contracts. We honor the deal. We will do the same there. M-1 (Global) has a deal with Showtime that is completely separate. Fedor (Emelianenko) will continue to fight in Strikeforce on Showtime.”
White said the deal was primarily to add more fighters as the UFC continues to expand, particularly into international markets.
“We need more fighters. We need more fights,” White said, but dismissed potential superfights between the promotions. “There wont be any superfights…we dont co-promote.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Strikeforce’s upcoming schedule includes “Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley” on April 9 in San Diego and the continuation of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix on June 18 in Dallas, which will go on as scheduled airing on Showtime.
According to ESPN, the UFC is expected absorb Strikeforce like it recently did with World Extreme Cagefighting once the promotion’s deal with Showtime is complete.