Zuffa Officials Meet With Showtime, Paul Daley Expected to Fight April 9

March 21, 2011

UFC president Dana White

UFC president Dana White

The changing climate in the world of MMA took another step towards the future on Saturday night when Strikeforce advertisements aired during the UFC 128 pay-per-view broadcast.

When Zuffa purchased the second largest MMA organization, everybody knew the crossover appeal would happen sooner rather than later, but it still caught a few people off guard when it happened.

In addition to the advertisements about the upcoming Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley event, middleweight Jason “Mayhem” Miller took over the UFC Twitter account during the pay-per-view to give his thoughts on the show, while Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson sat in the front row for the action.

When asked if there would be more of those types of things happening between the two promotions, UFC president Dana White answered ‘yeah.’ The top man at the UFC will not, however, be attending the next major Strikeforce show saying ‘probably not’ when asked if he’d be front and center for Diaz vs. Daley.

The deal to purchase Strikeforce has been one of the biggest, if not the biggest story in MMA since Zuffa took over the struggling UFC some years ago.

One major point that White and UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta have maintained all along is that all current Strikeforce contracts will be honored, including their deal with Showtime. According to White, UFC officials met with the brass at Showtime last week and it appears all is good to go for the future between the promotion and the cable network.

“There was a meeting the other day with the Showtime guys… I didn’t attend,” White said with a chuckle. “I heard it went well, so we’ll see how it goes.”

One other contract that Zuffa plans to honor, and they hope the same out of him, is that of former UFC welterweight Paul Daley, who is slated to face Nick Diaz in the main event of the April 9 show in San Diego, Calif. Daley expressed displeasure about the sale of Strikeforce to Zuffa.

He was released from the UFC following his suckerpunch to Josh Koscheck after their fight in 2010. Since that time, UFC president Dana White has said time and time again that Daley would never have a home in the Octagon.

After the Strikeforce sale to Zuffa, Daley posted on his Facebook account that he was considering withdrawing from the fight, but as of now White expects the British bomber to be ready to go on April 9.

“He’s got a contract, I’d imagine he’s fighting,” White commented about Daley.

As far as beyond the here and now, White still says that Strikeforce will run as a separate entity from the UFC, with CEO Scott Coker in charge of the day to day business. What will happen after the Showtime deal expires? That’s anybody’s guess.

“We’ll see what happens with these guys,” White commented.

The business at hand for now is to concentrate on the April 9 show in San Diego, which will be the first major Strikeforce show under the Zuffa banner of ownership.

Damon Martin is the lead staff writer and radio host for MMAWeekly.com.
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