Gilbert Melendez To Leave UFC For Bellator MMA?
By Brandon Stubbs, Contributing Writer
Could we have the first power shift in MMA promotion? A new #1? It was announced Friday that former Strikeforce Lightweight champion and current UFC contender, Gilbert Melendez has agreed in principle to a multi year and fight deal with Bellator MMA.
Details on the deal have not been released by either side, but both seem happy with the pairing. Gilbert went to Twitter to break the news. “As soon as I was a free agent, I had my team call Bellator, and [CEO Bjorn Rebney] made an amazing offer that would allow me to reach my goals,” Melendez wrote.
To hear Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, the game plan sounds like they are wanting and willing to make Gilbert one of the main faces for the promotion. “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.”
Now the deal is far from official at this time. UFC does own contract matching rights with Melendez and there is no know timetable for when that period will expire. We do know talks between Gilbert’s team and the UFC had broken done over the course of the last few weeks and UFC President Dana White had removed himself from the negation table. “It’s not about him, but let me remove myself from that. I’m over it. Lorenzo [Fertitta] is dealing with that, not me.”