In a conference call with the media today, Phil Baroni and Frank Shamrock fielded questions about their upcoming headline bout for Strikeforce. In the midst of the banter back and forth between the two, Baroni made a few comments about his future that caught a lot of attention.
Baroni and Shamrock are fighting for the vacant Strikeforce middleweight title and Joey Villasenor and Murilo “Ninja” Rua are fighting for the vacant EliteXC middleweight title on the June 22nd event. Asked whether the winner of him and Shamrock would fight the winner of Villasenor-Rua, Baroni commented, ” I haven’t talked to them about it, but I’m sure it’s in the works. I’m sure they’re thinking about it and either one of those guys would be a great opponent for me.”
Baroni’s follow-up statement is what really drew interest though. “I have a multiple fight contract with Strikeforce,” said Baroni, continuing with, “It’s also non-exclusive, so I’ll be able to fight for the UFC title which Dana White promised after I knock [Shamrock] out and defend my Strikeforce title… I look to unify titles.”
Of course, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has a policy of exclusivity with its fighters. So, even with a non-exclusive contract with Strikeforce, it is unlikely that Baroni would be able to fight in the UFC, let alone for a title, before his contract with Strikeforce has been fulfilled.