Celebrity site TMZ.com is tonight claiming that Strikeforce is set to fold in January after one last show, while Ronda Rousey has signed up to become the UFC’s first ever female fighter.
So far both the UFC and Strikeforce have not commented on the situation, but according to TMZ, Rousey has “officially joined Dana White’s MMA organization … and automatically becomes the 135 lb women’s champion.”
MMAfighting’s Ariel Helwani has since confirmed that sources close to the situation that both stories are indeed true.
Speculation was already rife that something may be afoot this evening after Strikeforce, who had previously canceled their last two shows in September and November, suddenly announced a stacked January fight card featuring three of their current champions, Gilbert Melendez, Nate Marquardt and Luke Rockhold plus their heavyweight tournament winner Daniel Cormier.
Given their limited roster that appeared to be a strange move if they planned on having another event any time soon, but with Showtime apparently deciding not to take up the option due early in 2013 to broadcast Strikeforce shows for a further year – a move that would all but guarantee the end of Strikeforce as an organization – then the pieces of the puzzle all fall into place.
There’s no question that this is another major milestone in the UFC’s history.
Not only does it mean that woman will finally be able to compete on the sport’s biggest stage, but it’ll also inject the UFC’s roster with a number of genuinely talented fighters including the aforementioned Melendez, Marquardt and Rockhold, while Rousey could become a genuine PPV star, especially if a fight with Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos can be arranged.
According to Helwani further details on this developing stories are expected to be released next week.