Dave Meltzer took to the Wrestling Observer Forums in the wake of the podcast earlier that dropped the bomb that there is a list of Strikeforce fighters who can't sign with the UFC because of a deal between Zuffa and Showtime. On the forums, Meltzer clarified some of the details.
Here's the info:
I said as long as Zuffa and Showtime have a deal, they can't fight on a UFC show unless Showtime gives the okay. It's in the Zuffa/Showtime contract. (Ed. note: actually, he said "as long as Showtime broadcasts MMA." but that's unimportant)
I was told by one of the fighters who got it straight from Stephen Espinosa that certain guys are Showtime fighters as long as the Zuffa/Showtime contract is in effect. The fighter was a main guy on a list agreed to be Showtime and Zuffa when the new deal went down and the agreement was all fighters on the list are Showtime fighters as long as they are under contract to Zuffa and as long as Showtime airs Strikeforce.
Zuffa and Showtime can sign a new contract that changes the stips between Zuffa and Showtime now or when this deal expires, but he was told he can't transfer to UFC as long as the current deal is in place and could not fight on a UFC card unless Showtime gives the okay.
The fighter was told by Espinosa that in specifics because they insisted on the deal after what happened with Dan Henderson where his Strikeforce contract expired and they signed him to a new deal but brought him to UFC at a time when nobody knew the future of Strikeforce. This stip was insisted on by Showtime so something like that couldn't happen with their however many exclusive stars.
So it's not quite as dire as it first seemed. But it's still clear that Zuffa basically sold the ability for the Strikeforce fighters to play out their contracts until they run out and then move on to the big stage of the UFC.
I'd be pretty unhappy were I on "the list" because control of my career has been taken out of my hands.