Apr 20, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; Gilbert Melendez prepares to fight against Benson Henderson (not pictured) during the lightweight championship bout of the UFC on Fuel TV at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Grappling with the Issues: Melendez, Fight Night 36 & More

Let’s check out some of the major MMA stories making news today!

Gilbert Melendez and the UFC Parting Ways?

The big news of the day is that Gilbert Melendez and the UFC appear to be parting ways – with the former Strikeforce champion and UFC lightweight contender potentially making a move to Bellator. Anyone that has ever listened to Dana White knows that he doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his feelings. It’s his greatest strength and greatest weakness as the lead promoter of the UFC brand. When he announced that he was “done” being a part of the negotiation process with Melendez, I figured it would only be a matter of time before he signed with someone else. As much as I understand that a career in the fight game is a short one, and each fighter needs to capitalize on their situation as quickly as possible, this is a mistake for Melendez. Being a big fish in a small pound will ultimately lead to career regrets. Whether he wants to admit it or not, glory in MMA comes through success in the UFC. At least he has some top level competition in the form of Eddie Alvarez (if he sticks around, though he most likely won’t) and Michael Chandler to battle with; yet not being able to see him battle the likes of Anthony Pettis, TJ Grant or even Jose Aldo will tarnish his ability to be considered the best pound for pound fighter in MMA. Now the question is, what does the UFC do? Will they match the Bellator offer or do they let him walk? My guess . . . we’ve seen the last of Melendez in the UFC, at least for a little while.

Ultimate Fight Night 36

There are some tremendous previews for Saturday’s event you can find here and here. They include staff predictions and provide some really great in depth analysis. Fight nights tend to get lost in the shuffle and with a big pay per view the week after, this card has the potential to fall into that trap. However, I’m a firm believer that this card will be a tremendous one. The main event has the potential to be an underrated fight of the year candidate, if everything plays out like it could. Machida and Mousasi are two of the most well rounded fighters in the game, and with a title shot on the line for Machida, you know he’s going to want to come out and prove he deserves to be next in line. That fact could also lead him to play it safe – except for the fact that the co-main event features another top middleweight contender: Jacare Souza. If Souza defeats a very tough, Francis Carmont, there is a very real possibility he could leap ahead of Machida and become the number one contender.

Check Em’Out

Ben Askren helps prove my point about the hypocrisy of the UFC, as written by Kevin Thang here

The downfall of the Tito Ortiz continues here

Enjoy the fights on Saturday! As always, I will have live coverage and analysis starting live at 10:30pm


Tags: Bellator MMA Dana White Gilbert Melendez Lyoto Machida

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