Report: Strikeforce bantamweight champ Rousey signs with UFC
Las Vegas, NV, United States (4E Sports) – A celebrity website reported late Thursday that Strikeforce female bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey became the first woman to sign with UFC.
While describing the TMZ report as “totally cool”, Rousey, who has three fights remaining on her Strikeforce deal, has not confirmed her transfer and so was UFC president Dana White.
“Seems totally cool,” Rousey said. “I would like it to be that way. I haven’t signed any bout agreements. I don’t know exactly what’s going on yet. I know just as much as everybody else knows right now.”
Darin Harvey, Rousey’s manager, has denied that a deal was reached between his client and UFC.
In addition, TMZ reported Strikeforce, which airs on Showtime, would cease operations after a previously announced event Jan. 12.
Zuffa, parent company of the UFC, purchased the Strikeforce brand in March 2011. An extension to keep the promotion on Showtime was signed in December, with a network option to continue into 2013.
The 25-year-old Rousey has become a major star on Showtime, capturing the 135-pound title with a first-round submission over Miesha Tate in March.
A former member of the U.S. Olympic Judo team, Rousey has a 6-0 MMA record and has finished all of her opponents via armbar in the first round.
In previous interviews, White has taken a lukewarm stance to the idea of adding a female division but changed his mind during a Sports Illustrated interview last month.
“It’s absolutely going to happen,” White told the magazine.
Rousey is waiting for former Strikeforce featherweight champion Cristiane Santos to respond to her challenge to drop to 135 pounds for their blockbuster fight to happen.
Santos was stripped of the Strikeforce 145-pound title and was suspended for a year after testing positive for an anabolic steroid after a fight last December.