UFCJunkie is reporting that Marvin Eastman may make a return to the Octagon at UFC77 in Cincinnati. It’s been a while since Eastman has fought in the UFC … his last match was a loss to Rampage Jackson. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t been keeping busy … just a few weeks ago he won the headlining fight at the first Steele Cage Promotions show. Which makes me wonder: when is it okay for fighters to fight in other organizations and when is it not?

Everyone knows the UFC is hardcore on the exclusivity clause. However, we’re seeing more and more instances where the UFC waives the clause and lets it’s fighters participate in other organizational events. Off the top of my head I can name Joe Riggs, Sam Stout, Jonathan Goulet, Sean Salmon and now Marvin Eastman as guys still under contract with the UFC who are fighting in other organizations. I think Jeff Monson was part of that gang as well but I’m not 100% sure.

The official line is these guys are allowed to fight for other promotions in order to gain more experience and improve their records. My question is this: Does the UFC still have a say in who these guys fight for? I don’t think they’re helping the dudes pick up fights, but I’ll bet dollars to donuts there’s a list each fighter is given of promotions they’re not allowed to participate in. And who’s at the top of this list? EliteXC and the IFL, most likely.

This whole situation is interesting because it says something about the relationships between the UFC and other promoters. We’ve mentioned before that so long as you’re willing to suck their dicks, the UFC is generally nice to you. Does part of this mean they’ll let their contracted fighters participate in your shows? It certainly seems like it. So as time goes on we should be able to put together a list of the ‘In’ and ‘Out’ promoters.