Gilbert Melendez Signed By Bellator
Shocking news coming down the wire today in MMA news, the revelation that Gilbert Melendez may be headed to Bellator for his next fight. It had been made known the UFC and Melendez were having issues coming to an agreement on his next contract, and Dana white offered on Thursday that Gilbert should ‘test the market’.
Apparently Melendez took the UFC President at his word, because that is the news that was reported when Melendez tweeted the following:
In a statement released by Bellator, Bjorn Rebney commented on Melendez and Bellator’s desire to sign him:
“The moment Gil was legally able to explore the free agent market, Gil’s management team reached out to me and we began figuring out how to bring Gil to Bellator. It’s no secret that I’ve been a big ‘El Nino’ fan for many years. Gil was one of the first fighters I tried to sign when I launched Bellator back in 2008, and he’s grown and developed into one of the best and most exciting lightweights on earth. Gil has a vision for what he wants to accomplish both inside and outside the cage and we can help make his vision a reality. We are in the business of developing and showcasing the greatest fighters on earth. That’s what we intend to do here with Gil and it’s what we’ll continue to do in the future.”
The UFC does, however, have a matching clause on Melendez’ contract. If they desire, they can match Bellator’s offer and retain him as a UFC fighter. Voices around the MMA community seem to doubt that the UFC will exercise this option. Whether it be money or pride, it seems Melendez will be making another move from promotion to promotion.
Dana White, as usual, had a comment on the situation:
“I like Gilbert Melendez. I have absolutely no problem with Gilbert Melendez whatsoever. I think he’s a great kid. I think he’s smart. I think he’s a talented fighter. We’ve just got to get a deal done. It’s not about him. Let me just remove myself from that. Let Lorenzo deal with that. I don’t give a fuck. I’m over it. Lorenzo’s dealing with that, not me.”
Whether Melendez fights next in Bellator or the UFC remains to be seen, but with the UFC lightweight division looking so formidable (Pettis, Bendo, Thomson, Khabib, dos Anjos, Nate, Grant, Alvarez likely later this year) it would be a shame to not see Gil compete for UFC gold.
Image courtesy SBNation