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Gilbert Melendez and UFC Fail to Reach Agreement on New Contract, “El Nino” Told to “Start Looking Elsewhere”

(One day, you’re putting on one of the greatest fights in UFC History. The next, you’re fighting Ben Askren at a catchweight in One FC. *cries into whiskey glass* Photo via Getty.)

You guys remember Gilbert Melendez, right? You know, the Gilbert Melendez who was the final Strikeforce lightweight champion and one half of an amazing trilogy of fights with Josh Thomson? The Gilbert Melendez who came over to the UFC and beat then lightweight champ Ben Henderson but lost anyway because Ben Henderson? The Gilbert Melendez who put on a Fight of the Century performance against Diego Sanchez at UFC 166? Thought so.

Well hold onto those memories, Nation, because it looks like we should already start asking what could’ve been in regards to Melendez’s UFC career, young as it was. On last night’s edition of UFC Tonight, it was reported that, after months of attempting to negotiate a new contract with the promotion, Melendez’s management and Dana White have all but reached a stalemate. Said White:

I’m done. It’s not going well and I couldn’t care less at this point. I like Gilbert Melendez very much. I just don’t like his management. If Gilbert Melendez wants to fight in the UFC he better call Lorenzo Fertitta quickly, but he should also probably start looking elsewhere.

Two thoughts:

-At least DW managed to avoid calling anyone a “f*cking scumbag” or something of the like.


And now, a couple facts…


Contracts & Lawsuits – Eddie Alvarez, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney Go Public With Conflicting Stories on Fighter’s Deal

(“Keep laughing, Eddie, because as soon as you lose that belt, your ass is mine.”) 

Former President Clinton once made infamous the phrase, “It depends on what your definition of the word ’is’ is,” while answering questions from the Independent Counsel’s office on the all-important subject of Monica Lewinsky. With former Bellator lightweight champion/UFC hopeful Eddie Alvarez and his boss, Bjorn Rebney, the discrepancy appears to depend on what one’s definition of the word “matched” is.

It has been no secret that the UFC wants Alvarez under their banner. The top lightweight fought the last fight under his Bellator contract last October but the promotion has the right to match any contract offered to Alvarez and thus keep him with them.

The UFC did indeed recently make an offer to Alvarez, but it is here where the stories from the former champ and the Bellator CEO begin to differ.

First, Alvarez sat down with The MMA Hour and claimed that Bellator had not matched the UFC’s proposed terms. Rebney then went on MMA Weekly Radio and said that his organization had, in fact, matched the UFC’s contract offer to Alvarez, point for point.

And then things got really awkward.


The UFC Allegedly Spent $700,000 on Hector Lombard’s Awful Debut

(Last warning, Hector. If you grunt like that one more time we’re going to revoke your membership.)

In a new report about Eddie Alvarez’s impending free-agency, got Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney to share details of a similar situation in which his promotion got into a bidding war with the UFC. It happened six months ago with their former middleweight champ Hector Lombard, and in that case, it didn’t exactly work out for either party:

Lombard hit the open market, where he was immediately offered a lucrative deal with the UFC. Rebney said that contract, which according to him paid Lombard a $400,000 signing bonus, a $300,000 starting purse per fight and pay-per-view participation points, was cost-prohibitive from Bellator’s standpoint.

If the UFC came in with a similar offer for Alvarez, who is considered by most observers to be right around the top five lightweights in the world, it is believed that would make him the highest-paid 155-pounder in the UFC. On the other hand, Lombard’s debut in the UFC was considered a disappointment, as he lost a lackluster split-decision to Tim Boetsch. That development could cause the UFC to reconsider a big-money offer for another free agent.


Friday Link Dump: Dana’s Latest Tirade at Greg Jackson, Bellator’s Tricky Contracts, Brutal NFL Hits + More

(Fighter escapes power-bomb to land big knockout on neckbearded savage, via MMA: Inside the Cage.)

Dana White Goes Off Again on Jon Jones, Greg Jackson (MMAFighting)

Contracts, How Do They Work? The Bellator Story (BloodyElbow)

UFC 153 Timetable: How The Rio Card Recovered From Devastation (HeavyMMA)

- Matt Lindland Discusses His Future, Fedor Emelianenko, Fallout With the UFC, And More (Fightline)

Woman vs. Workout: Model Lauren Berlingeri Learns the MMA Basics With Louis Gaudinot (

- Must…resist…horsemeat joke… (

A Female MMA Fighter Will Be a Character in the Upcoming ‘Dead or Alive 5′ Game (MiddleEasy)

- The 25 Fittest Football Players (MensFitness)

- The 50 Most Brutal Hits in NFL History (Complex)

Movie Supercut Video: Animals Covering Their Eyes With Their Paws (FilmDrunk)

- The 50 Coolest Kids in the History of the Internet (WorldWideInterweb)

How to Fight With Your Wife (MadeMan)

- 20 Extremely Remote Landmarks (EgoTV)


Rumor of the Day: Mamed Khalidov Has Signed With Strikeforce

(If that kick had been thrown in the UFC, there’s a 99% chance it would have knocked Santiago out.) 

According to Swedish news source mmanytt, Polish middleweight phenom Mamed Khalidov has supposedly reached an agreement with Strikeforce and will make his debut in early 2013. Khalidov, whom you may recall was offered a contract with the UFC a few months ago that was plain laughable, has won his last five fights by way of stoppage, with all of those wins coming within the first three minutes of action. It appears that his desire to get, get, get, get get, get that paper has actually paid off, as he has not only been offered a much higher payrate per fight with Strikeforce, but will also be free of the contract exclusivity that UFC fighters face. As long as he does not become champion, that is.

A skilled submission fighter with equally as deadly striking, we have sang the praises of Khalidov for some time now here at CP, and it’s good to see that he may finally be getting the chance to show off his skills to a wider audience. Let’s hope he doesn’t blow it (we’re looking at you, Mr. Lombard.)

We will have more on this possible signing as it develops.

After the jump: A trio of fight videos that sees Khalidov wipe the floor with UFC veterans James Irvin, Rodney Wallace, and Jesse Taylor.


Going Down Without a Fight: Mayhem’s Departure Makes It Clear Zuffa has No Long Term Plans for Strikeforce

(Jake, you be Strikeforce. Jason, you be the UFC. Now, show us how the next few months will go … / Photo via Sherdog)

It’s been three days since Jason “Mayhem” Miller’s sudden jump to the UFC and we still haven’t heard anything substantive on the topic from Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker or anyone else in the lame duck MMA company. A week ago Coker went on a popular MMA “radio” show and danced around the issue of Miller’s future in Strikeforce. He said the promotion was talking to Mayhem’s management about a fight this summer. No mention of the fact Miller was twisting in the breeze without a contract. No mention that the UFC might stick its beak in. Used to be, it felt like a waste of time to ask Coker questions because it was hard to get a straight answer out of the guy. Now it feels like it’s a waste of time because he may no longer even know what’s going on inside his own company.

For all his talk about his ongoing commitment to “growing Strikeforce and making it work,” it’s pretty clear that Coker (and maybe Strikeforce itself) has become the metaphorical equivalent of a WWE referee. He’s just a dude standing the middle of the ring in an official-looking outfit, desperately pleading for order while the battle rages heedlessly around him. No one is listening. No one is even pretending he has any power anymore. That’s sad, because Coker seems like one of the sport’s legitimate good guys, but the quiet loss of Miller last week is maybe the most compelling evidence yet that it’s only a matter of time before that phone call from Vegas comes in, informing the Strikeforce staff that the charade is over.


Hippowatch: Anthony Perosh Scores Four-Fight Deal With the UFC

Anthony Perosh Mirko Cro Cop Filipovic
("Hmm. This is not how things went down during my positive visualization sessions." Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

After being soundly thrashed by Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic on two days’ notice at UFC 110, Anthony "The Hippo" Perosh has been signed to a four-fight deal by the UFC, according to a report on InfiniteMMA. Perosh sports a career record of 10-6, a UFC record of 0-3 (including losses to Jeff Monson and Christian Wellisch in 2006) and victories over a bunch of random Australians. On paper, he has absolutely no chance of making an impact in the UFC’s light-heavyweight division, and the UFC’s next Australian event won’t be until next year at the earliest. But it just goes to show you that dreams do come true when you ignore your natural instinct for self-preservation and take guaranteed losses against larger MMA legends who have gone through actual training camps. Kudos, Anthony.

We’re still waiting to hear if anybody got un-signed after UFC 110. As predicted, Keith Jardine and Stephan Bonnar are in danger after taking their third-straight losses, but Dana White’s affection for the Dean and the Psycho could potentially save their jobs. Igor Pokrajac is toast, though, no question. Stay tuned…


Gegard Mousasi Will No Longer Require the Services of M-1 Global

Gegard Mousasi Strikeforce

According to a report on Sherdog, Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi has ended his professional relationship with M-1 Global, the promotional outfit best known for handling the career of Fedor Emelianenko. As Mousasi wrote in an e-mail:

“After careful consideration, I have decided that it is in my best interest to part ways with M-1 Global. During the time I spent under their wing, M-1 Global, as a promoter and management company, allowed me to achieve many great things. I appreciate all they have done for me…My management is [now] being taken care of by someone close to me."

Mousasi added that he’d like to come back to the U.S. to train with Josh Thomson at American Kickboxing Academy; the two fighters recently became acquainted in Miami during the last Strikeforce show. So what spurred Mousasi’s split with M-1? Apparently, they wouldn’t keep him on the payroll for life. Mousasi’s former manager at M-1, Apy Echteld, told MMA Junkie that the Last Gypsy broke ties when M-1 refused to sign him into a long-term management deal that would give the Dutch-Armenian fighter "lifetime security" — a contract setup reportedly enjoyed by Fedor Emelianenko.

Mousasi is still under contract with Strikeforce for as many as seven fights, and plans to enter DREAM’s light-heavyweight grand prix later this year. His next match is rumored to be against Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal in April.


Exclusive: Strikeforce CEO Talks Contract Acquisitions, Future Plans, and What’s Next for Kimbo Slice and Others

After purchasing “select assets” including fighter contracts from Pro Elite last week, Strikeforce quickly went from a surprisingly successful regional promotion to a major player in the MMA scene almost overnight.  In this exclusive interview CEO Scott Coker talks about the deal and the acquisitions, as well as what his organization has planned for its new talent.  Thanks for talking with me, Scott.  Since you purchased the fighter contracts, how has the transition been going?  Do you find that the fighters are eager to fight for Strikeforce now?

I’ll tell you, we’ve had about twenty or so, or about half of the roster, that we’ve reached out to as of this morning and had good conversations about scheduling and match-ups.  I think that, at the end of the day, a lot of these guys just want to get back to work and get back to fighting so they can continue their careers.  So I’d say the transition has been going well.

What about any fighters who might have been hoping to get free of their Pro Elite contracts and sign with the UFC?

I’ve only had that conversation with one fighter.  And we’ve had two or three conversations with that fighter since, and now I think they may be feeling a different way than they were before.  And I can understand the frustration that a lot of these fighters are feeling, because they’ve been out of work for a while.  Not everybody fought on the last show in October.  Some of them haven’t fought since June or July of last year.  

We dealt with that frustration at the very beginning and we understood where it was coming from, but a lot of these guys I’ve known for a long time, their managers are friends of mine, so I think the ice has all been broken.  And the fighter who was originally looking to go to the UFC is now saying, ‘Do you think I could fight by May?’  So I think they see what we’re doing and it’s going to be okay.


Unemployment Crisis Hits the UFC: Clementi, Fioravanti, Wellisch + Others Sacked

Rich Clementi Gleison Tibau MMA UFC
("No Love" has "No Job." Photo courtesy of

Now that the country is losing jobs at a rate of almost 20,000/day, it was only a matter of time before the UFC’s contracted fighters began to feel the crunch. FiveOuncesofPain reports that the following fighters have been released from their contracts — and will now enter the worst job market since World War II:

Rich Clementi was dropped shortly after tapping to a guillotine choke in the first round of his match with Gleison Tibau at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 17. It was his second-consecutive loss in the Octagon, following a previous decision loss to Gray Maynard at UFC 90. This is actually the third time that the UFC has given Clementi his walking papers; he was also dropped after losing his first UFC fight to Yves Edwards in 2003, and again after going 1-2 following his stint on TUF 4 in 2006-7.

Luigi Fioravanti was also cut after UFC Fight Night 17. Though he was able to score a decision win over Brodie Farber at "Fight for the Troops" in December, his first-round TKO loss to Anthony Johnson on Saturday was his fourth loss in his last six UFC appearances.