The UFC is not the monster the NFL is yet in terms of contracts, but UFC lightweight contender Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (22-3) showed he was willing to test the free-agent market.
When contract talks between the UFC and Melendez broke down, Melendez was told he should test the market. He did, and the former Strikeforce lightweight champion was offered a multi-fight and multi-year contract with UFC rival Bellator. Melendez signed the offer sheet, but the UFC still had the right to match the contract, which they did.
The terms of the deal were undisclosed and Melendez showed an unprecedented type of free-agent sign and match deal for a fighter of his caliber. Melendez will now coach season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter opposite UFC lightweight champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. Pettis was originally slated to do a superfight against UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, but now it will be a showdown between two of the best lightweights in the world.
“I think I’m a great matchup for Anthony Pettis,” Melendez said. “He’s evolved in front of our eyes and he’s very tricky. He’s a great fighter, but I don’t think he’s fought someone like me — well rounded and not scared of him.”
UFC 170 had no shortage of controversy, as Ronda Rousey defeated Sara McMann by TKO in the first round — a fight that referee Herb Dean took a lot of heat for, with many saying they thought it was quick stoppage. Replay did show Dean made a great call (Read our report here), with McMann eating strikes and not defending.
In the co-main event, Daniel Cormier took care of Patrick Cummins in the first round by TKO and felt the victory was sweeter because of Cummins comments saying, “I made him [Cormier] cry while we were training together,” had gotten to him. Cormier looked good in his debut at 205, and it should be a good fit for his size. TV Mix was cageside in Las Vegas — read our round by round coverage here.
Cyborg and the UFC
Last week after Tito Ortiz stepped down as manager of Cris “Cyborg” Santos, she made a statement saying that she would drop down to 135 and face Rousey for the title. At the UFC 170 post-fight conference, UFC President Dana White, said Cyborg needs to fight at 135 and get some momentum going before she is to join the UFC.
David Kano is lead writer for MMA Show News and co-host of The Hollywood MMA Show. You can follow him on Twitter @TheDKano.
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