While news of a ProElite sale might seem like a big deal at first, it’s not for the reasons you might think. In the end, ProElite’s sale does nothing more than end the purgatory that it’s fighters are legally stuck in. Past that, it doesn’t mean that all the fighters will be fighting together under a new organization, or that the organization will end up on Showtime or CBS. Midsy outlines the situation:
So would Strikeforce become the home of Kimbo, Carano, Shields and Lawler if it purchased EliteXC? Not necessarily. The early indications are that most of the fighters’ contracts aren’t transferrable, so they would become free agents, and they wouldn’t necessarily sign with Strikeforce. In fact, my own guess is that none of those four would end up in Strikeforce; I think Kimbo is going to fight in Japan, while Carano could become Zuffa’s first female star by signing with the WEC, and Shields and Lawler would probably sign with UFC.
Then there’s the matter of the CBS contract. I believe CBS will televise live MMA programming in prime time at some point in 2009, but it won’t necessarily be with Strikeforce or anyone else who ends up with EliteXC’s assets. CBS just wants to televise MMA because it views MMA as a way to draw a young, male, advertiser-friendly audience. The network doesn’t much care whether that MMA is EliteXC, Strikeforce or any other organization.
The main bit of excitement I get out of the sale is the fact that it frees up Gina Carano, which sets up a potential female MMA revolution in 2009. Look at this: regardless of whether Gina goes to Strikeforce or the WEC or somewhere else, she’s established herself as a star so big even the UFC can’t ignore her any more. If she ends up somewhere else, will Zuffa sit by and allow another organization to use women’s MMA as a wedge to get it’s foot in the door? Or will they finally start booking women, if only to thin the ranks out for other organizations?
Even if Zuffa doesn’t go ahead and wage war with female divisions, Gina will still be out there fighting, raising the profile of the women who fight her and women’s MMA in general. The only fear I have is if the promotion Gina goes with decides to run a Gina-only division similar to what EliteXC was running. Strikeforce currently runs it’s women’s division like a celebrity sideshow / beauty pageant, so there’s always a possibility the whole thing can be fucked up.
Still, I’m feeling pretty positive about the whole situation. Gina Carano has been sitting on the sidelines long enough for everyone to get an appreciation for just how valuable a commidity she is to whoever lands her. I can only hope that the decision she makes in regards to her future involves an iota of consideration towards the future of ALL female MMA fighters, not just her own.