Strikeforce lightweight champion Gil Melendez‘ coach Cesar Gracie recently told Tatame that his fighter is still injured, not “training hard,” and will not fight on what many assume will be Strikeforce’s final event in January. “I think he never recovered from the shoulder injury and will not be able to fight in January,” Google Translator tells us that Gracie told the Portuguese outlet.
Melendez already pulled out of a no-win title defense against Pat Healy and, though we have no doubt he is still battling injury, has to also realize that other than the purse he’d get for fighting, he would be risking far more than he might gain by fighting one last time in the doomed organization. If Strikeforce is dissolved while Melendez is the champion he will almost certainly, at long last, be brought into the UFC fold.
Should he lose, he might still be brought over but if he is, he would be worth far less and would probably have a longer route to a UFC title shot. As Strikeforce champion, Gilbert could always make a claim for an immediate or close-to-immediate title shot under the “let’s unify this thing” type of argument made most recently and successfully by his teammate Nick Diaz.