A women’s MMA division in the UFC is “absolutely going to happen”, according to UFC president Dana White - its just a question of when.
There is no time frame for the inclusion of female fighters, White told Sports Illustrated, but it is definitely in the pipeline. “It could happen tomorrow, it could happen a year from now,” he says. The likelihood is that it will be less than a year from now, but it probably depends on the continued life of Strikeforce.
Women’s MMA is attractive to the UFC and White only because Ronda Rousey has become a media darling and is achieving an unexpectedly high level of attention in the US.
That will translate well into pay-per-view sales - if the UFC can get her on board. At present she is the female bantamweight champion of Strikeforce and while Zuffa, parent company of the UFC, owns that brand, there are barriers to fighters moving over.
That’s because the Showtime network, which airs Strikeforce events, became annoyed at the talent-stripping that went on once Zuffa acquired the event. And so the renewed deal between Strikeforce and Showtime came with a proviso attached - fighters cannot leave Strikeforce to go to the UFC.
Rousey is not the only one affected. Top talents like Daniel Cormier are also stranded in limbo while Strikeforce lumbers on in its present half-dead state. There was supposed to be a Strikeforce event on November 3 but it was cancelled when Frank Mir pulled out of a fight with Cormier and middleweight champion Luke Rockhold pulled out with an injury.
The brand is supposedly staging its next event in January but pundits are not holding their breath. The general consensus is that it would be better if Strikeforce could now die a dignified death and allow its top talents a move to the UFC.