Oct 18, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Gilbert Melendez during the weigh-in for UFC 166 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

Bellator MMA agrees to terms with Gilbert Melendez, UFC has matching rights

Bellator MMA has agreed to terms with free agent and top lightweight, Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (22-3). As of now, the UFC still holds the rights to match Melendez’s contract offer.

The former Strikeforce and WEC Lightweight champion, has gone 1-1 in the UFC with a fight of the year candidate victory over Diego Sanchez, and a close split decision loss in a title fight to Benson Henderson. Melendez is currently the #2 ranked lightweight on UFC Rankings.

A quote from Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney on the press release by Bellator MMA:

“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,” said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. “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.”

On Wednesday (February 12th), MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani had tweeted that according to Dana White, Gilbert Melendez’s contract negotiations were not going well. And that Dana had told Melendez to ‘better start looking elsewhere’.



As of Thursday, in a meeting with journalists in Las Vegas, Dana had told the media that Lorenzo Ferttitta had taken over the contract negotiations with Gilbert Melendez:

Potential matchups in Bellator for Gilbert Melendez—if UFC were to not match the contract terms—include: currently lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, Michael Chandler, and Will Brooks.

A fight that former Bellator Lightweight Champion, Michael Chandler was already open to, tweeting:


Gilbert Melendez tweeted his thoughts:




source: http://www.bellator.com/articles/bellator-gilbert-melendez-agree-on-structure-to-bring-top-lightweight-to-bellator

Tags: Bellator MMA Gilbert Melendez MMA UFC

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