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Strikeforce-Showtime deal was contingent on keeping Melendez, Rockhold

More and more information continues to be released concerning the recent Strikeforce-Showtime extension that was worked out last week. Strikeforce recently held an event on the television network that featured Gilbert Melendez defending his Strikeforce lightweight title against Jorge Masvidal.

Melendez, who seemed to be a lock to follow the likes of Dan Henderson and Jake Shields into the UFC, was part of the agreement between Strikeforce and Showtime that allowed the deal to be made. Also, Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold was worked into the contract, as well, according to Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker.

“That was just a situation of the Showtime agreement,” said Coker to MMAWeekly after last night’s Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal event. “That was part of the deal, that these fighters would stay. UFC feels that they have enough challengers in their divisions now. We’re going to keep building our league and keep plugging in new fighters that aren’t for the UFC into Strikeforce. There’s plenty of fighters out there and we’re gonna keep building them.”

Rockhold will be in the main event of the first Strikeforce card of 2012, as he defends his title against former UFC veteran Keith Jardine. As for keeping Melendez, Coker was extremely pleased with that deal.

“Gilbert fought for Strikeforce in 2006. He’s one of the cornerstones of Strikeforce,” Coker said. “I’m happy that he is with us and he’s gonna stay with us.”

PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE