Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi may be out from under the management umbrella of the often reviled M-1 Global company, but he’s still far from free agent status. Sherdog broke the news this morning that the young star had officially cut ties with his old management, which caused speculation to immediately and prematurely turn to Mousasi signing with the premiere American MMA promotion, the UFC.
Mousasi has expressed interest in fighting for the UFC in the past, citing that the organization has the most skilled and famous light heavyweight fighters in the game, today. And M-1 Global’s prior inability to do business with the UFC concerning the management company’s flagship fighter, Fedor Emelianenko, led many to believe that M-1’s presence was the major stumbling block for seeing Mousasi in the octagon. Now that Mousasi has cut ties with M-1, it seems only logical that his next stop would be the UFC.
Except that Mousasi isn’t likely to leave his home at Strikeforce any time soon.
While the specifics have not been released, Strikeforce and Mousasi have been in the process of renewing their contract into a long term agreement for 6-8 fights since Mousasi took the light heavyweight title in August. Further, Mousasi has already announced his intention to fight in the DREAM light heavyweight grand prix in 2010, which would be impossible under the UFC’s non-compete clause standard in every contract.
Though the popular conspiracy theory going around is that Mousasi’s leaving of M-1 is step one of a plan to jump ship on his upcoming contracts and leverage them into a big payday with the UFC, it is far more likely that Mousasi, unhappy with his relationship with M-1, simply wanted to change his management before his new ventures in 2010 began.
Mousasi is famous for setting high benchmarks for the amount of fights he takes per year, stating he wanted to fight a super-human seven to nine times in 2010, alone. Only 24 years old, Mousasi can fight under the DREAM banner and burn through his Strikeforce contract with plenty of good years left in his career to head over to the UFC.
Even if Mousasi could become a free agent within the next year, Strikeforce is highly unlikely to give him up without a fight. Mousasi can only expect an offer from the UFC as long as he keeps winning in Strikeforce. And, if he keeps winning in Strikeforce, then the organization would likely pay everything they could afford to keep him.
While his split with M-1 Global makes a trip to the UFC possible for Mousasi, it is neither certain nor in the near future.