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Friday, Feb 14, 2014

(Updated) Multi-Fight Deal Between Bellator And Gilbert Melendez in Place, UFC Holds Matching Rights


By FCF Staff

Earlier in the week UFC President Dana White relayed Gilbert Melendez “should start looking elsewhere”, as a result of stalled contract negotiations, and it appears the lightweight was already doing so.

According to a press release sent out Friday from Bellator MMA, the promotion has reached a multi-fight, multi-year agreement with Melendez. The announcement adds that the UFC currently holds matching rights for the 31 year-old’s services.

“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,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney was quoted saying in the announcement. “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.”

Melendez joined the UFC last year as the Strikeforce lightweight champ, and after losing by split decision to Benson Henderson in April, he decisioned Diego Sanchez this past October.

The 22-3 fighter, who is currently ranked #2 in the UFC’s lightweight division, Tweeted about the news:

posted by FCF Staff @ 7:18 pm
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