Morning Report: Ronda Rousey becomes first female UFC fighter; Strikeforce goes out in spectacular fashion

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

If you feel asleep early last night, to put it simply, you have some catching up to do.

For starters, Strikeforce is dead. Dead like EliteXC dead. Actually, I take that back, they're not quite there yet. First they're trying to challenge WEC for the mantle of ‘greatest closeout show in MMA history.' In a last-ditch peace offering to Showtime, Strikeforce is targeting three title fights for the stacked January 12, 2013 card they promised, plus Daniel Cormier is fighting some dude that looks like Guile. But then they're dead. Finally.

Which leads me to my next point. Right now, as you read this, Ronda Rousey is a UFC champion. That's right, the moment we all knew was coming, actually came. The budding superstar that Dana White described as "a f---ing dude trapped in this beautiful body" is officially the first female UFC fighter in the promotion's history.

Obviously there are more angles to these two game-changing revelations than it's even possible to count. Even the low-hanging ones -- What happens to 75-percent of the Strikeforce roster? Will there be unification bouts? Does Scott Coker have a Gus Fring-like hazard pay system in place for emergencies? Will Frank Shamrock ever work again? -- are all completely up in the air right now.

All that's certain is, with the promise of Anderson-GSP, Aldo-Edgar, Jones-Sonnen, Overeem-Someone, Diaz-GSP, potentially Rousey-Cyborg, and whatever else Joe Silva can cook up with his suddenly gold-plated cupboard, the UFC is in line for a superhuman 2013 campaign. This should be interesting.

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

Rousey joins UFC. Strikeforce superstar Ronda Rousey will become the first female fighter to compete in the UFC. Rousey is expected to make her ground-breaking debut sometime in 2013. TMZ first broke the news.

Strikeforce folding after mega-card. As promised, Strikeforce officials announced a stacked card featuring three title fights -- Gilbert Melendez vs. Pat Healy, Luke Rockhold vs. Lorenz Larkin, and Nate Marquardt vs. Tarec Saffiedine -- and the return of Daniel Cormier for January 12, 2013 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, OK. Strikeforce is ceasing operations immediately following the event.

Pros react. The mixed martial arts community reacts to news of Ronda Rousey's induction into the UFC and the impending demise of Strikeforce.

Henderson vs. Machida. A long-rumored potential No. 1 contenders bout between Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida is set to take place at UFC 156, Henderson confirmed to the crew of Spike TV's MMA Uncensored Live.

UFC on FUEL 6 preview. Get ready for tomorrow's UFC on FUEL 6 event with comprehensive dissections and predictions of the entire main card.

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MEDIA STEW

"Not since Muhammad Ali has a guy been able to talk as well as he does, and fight as well as he does." -- Joe Rogan describing Chael Sonnen during the sneak peek of UFC Unrestricted, a backstage look at the tenuous 36 hours prior to UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen II. (For international geo-blocked users, try this.)

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This fight is only 10 seconds long, but I bet it still surprises you. (Jump to :30 to skip the ad.)

(HT: MiddleEasy)

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Objectively speaking, the thumbnail for this edition of Ultimate Answers may be the most perfect thumbnail ever.

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The All Elbows crew was granted behind-the-scenes access for last weekend's World Series of Fighting debut, and with it they put together this fantastic retrospective. Check out 6:00 to see Tyrone Spong busting out his fatality on poor Travis Bartlett.

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Prebek, sir, you have outdone yourself this time.

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HISTORY

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FORGOT ABOUT THAT

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ONE WAY TO RESPOND

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YUP

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Thursday, November 8, 2012):

  • UFC 156: Dan Henderson (29-8) vs. Lyoto Machida (18-3)
  • Strikeforce: Gilbert Melendez (21-2) vs. Pat Healy (28-16) booked for January 12
  • Strikeforce: Luke Rockhold (10-1) vs. Lorenz Larkin (13-0) booked for January 12
  • Strikeforce: Nate Marquardt (32-10-2) vs. Tarec Saffiedine (13-3) booked for January 12
  • Strikeforce: Daniel Cormier (10-0) vs. Dion Staring (28-7) booked for January 12

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes from Tkeaner, who looks at yesterday's news and proposes: UFC and Invicta could be ideal partnership

Now that the inevitable has finally taken place, the dissolving of Strikeforce, women finally seem to have a place in the UFC. Or at least Ronda Rousey does. Ronda Rousey is surely a star who has the rare ability to transcend the MMA world. The UFC is doing the logical thing in attempting to capitalize on her star power under their brand. But what about these other women the UFC is supposed to employ? Dana White said himself that WMMA is not deep enough to fill out entire weight classes worth of a women's roster. To Zuffa, promoting a women's fight is most likely only beneficial in a one off situation where Rousey, Meisha Tate or Cyborg are fighting. They are the few women fighters who have proven to be a draw thus far.

There are a number of other issues that come with importing 25-30 women (at least) to help fill out that side of the roster. First, you would have to find these women fights, which most likely would often be on the prelims, and pay them. Secondly, with the sudden influx of new talent, Zuffa would have to trim the UFC roster elsewhere. And while I do agree some of the fighters at the bottom of the roster may not belong in the UFC, this is something that would compromise the brand's commitment to growth. It would also make the task of putting on upwards of 30 shows in 2013 much more difficult.

These potential problems need a solution and Zuffa could take a cue from their soon dissolving property in Strikeforce. The UFC should form a fighter sharing partnership with Invicta. The upsides are there for both sides. The UFC can still have Ronda Rousey and the other large one off fights to promote under their umbrella. They can do so without having to employ an entire women's roster. Invicta will benefit from the exposure their fighters will get when fighting under the UFC brand. The UFC would help see to it that Invicta thrives because without it, the growth of WMMA would very likely be stunted. A partnership such as this has the potential to help both promotions flourish.

I present this suggestion not as a way to keep WMMA down, but help continue its growth. I would hate to see it drown under the UFC's need to cash in on one name fighter.

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in Monday's column.

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