About a week ago MMAFighting.com had a piece entitled Sarah Kaufman: Strikeforce Champion Without a Fighting Home. Please go read the entire piece but I have to borrow some quotes to make my case here.
My question is Did Strikeforce act in bad faith with Sarah Kaufman by not negotiating a fair contract extension with her and instead just automatically extending her contract?
Kaufman entered the Hashi fight with one fight left on her contract that Strikeforce acquired from EliteXC. Normally, the champion and challenger enter into a new agreement with the promotion to avoid a champion walking away from the promotion without defending the belt. Kaufman says she does not understand why that was not the case for her, especially after all this time.
"I'm not sure if they haven't realized, even though we kind of mentioned [before the Hashi fight], 'Hey, this is my last fight,' or they have so much going on that they kind of forgot about it. I don't really know," Kaufman said. "As I say, I don't want to walk away from Strikeforce by any means. I think they have done a good job of getting the females out there, it just needs to be a little more often for me. I'm just getting a crazy a little bit. I understand when you get higher up and to the top, you do have to wait for other people to make their way up to challenge you, but I don't think that needs to take a year. Hopefully they get on board and kind of realize, 'Hey, we made a mistake and you finished without a contract, and we need to get that sorted out quick.'"
This appears to state that Sarah Kaufman had no negotiations what so ever with Strikeforce about extending her contract. It's also clear that at that point in time Sarah Kaufman was under the impression she was no longer under contract with Strikeforce.
Then MMAFighting.com adds this update to their piece.
Editor's Note: According to Strikeforce Director of Communications Mike Afromowitz, Kaufman's contract was automatically extended after her fight in February.
How can it be possible that Sarah Kaufman's contract was automatically extended in February and in the middle of May she was clearly unaware of that?
That says to me that Strikeforce avoided what I consider would be the necessary steps before automatically extending the champions clause. Shouldn't there be a fair good faith negotiation process for Sarah Kaufman in extending her contract? Sarah Kaufman as a champion had at least earned the right to some kind of negotiation before being automatically extended on her previous deal. It's clear she was not given that opportunity.
In my opinion Sarah Kaufman got screwed by Strikeforce not entering into good faith negotiations before automatically extending her contract and making her fully aware of that fact they were doing so.