Gilbert Melendez Agrees To A Deal With Bellator; UFC Can Match The Offer

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UFC President Dana White stated earlier in the week on “UFC Tonight” that he was done with the negotiations involving Gilbert Melendez. White said that if Melendez wants a deal done to stay in the UFC, call UFC CEO Lorenzo Fetitta and if the situation didn’t improve, Melendez better start looking for a new fight promotion.

Melendez took that advice as he agreed to a multi-fight and multi-year deal with Bellator. The UFC does have the right to match the offer, but how long they have is unknown at this time. The former Strikeforce lightweight champion is 1-1 in the UFC with a loss to former lightweight champion Benson Henderson in the main event of UFC on Fox 7 last April by a controversial split decision and defeated Diego Sanchez by unanimous decision in a fight of the year candidate at UFC 166 in October.

“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 CEO Bjorn Rebney said in a press release.

“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 made a statement on Twitter saying what went down.

Will the UFC match Bellator’s offer?

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Ben Askren Gets His Release From Bellator

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All Ben Askren wanted to do after he completed his contract with Bellator was to go to the UFC. Now he will get that chance as Bellator has released the now former welterweight champion.

It was a weird road to get to this point for Askren. “Funky” completed the last fight on his Bellator in July when he stopped Andrey Koreshkov by TKO. The UFC was reluctant to offer Askren a deal under the matching period, that lasted one year due to the Eddie Alvarez. Bellator officials went as far as offering to release Askren if he was guaranteed an immediate bout with the UFC welterweight champion.

After the UFC rebuffed that notion, it seemed like Askren was going to have to sit out an entire year before he can negotiate with another organization. That was until today and Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney wishes the best for Askren in the future.

“I’ve said it many times, Ben’s a completely one-dimensional fighter who is utterly dominant in that dimension,” Rebney said. “I had a number of discussions with Ben and it became clear it was time for both parties to move in different directions. We’ve relinquished any right to match here and Ben can sign with whoever he chooses to sign with. Ben’s been at Bellator since the start of his career, I respect him and what he’s accomplished and wish him the best wherever he goes.”

Bellator stated that the welterweight title is now vacant until Douglas Lima faces the winner of the Season 9 Welterweight Tournament later this winter when the new Bellator Welterweight Champion will be crowned.

Askren released a statement on Twitter about his release and says he is ready to test his skills in the UFC.

If Askren does indeed sign with the UFC, how do you think he will fair?

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Tito Ortiz Has A Fractured Neck, Bellator 106 Will Now Be on Spike TV

It has been confirmed by Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney that Tito Ortiz has suffered a fractured neck and will be out of his Bellator 106 fight next Saturday with Quinton Jackson. Rebney then said the card will switch from pay-per-view to a three hour event on Spike TV and the people who had already ordered the event will get reimbursed.

We had reported earlier today that Ortiz was going to be out of the fight.

Rebney and Spike TV executive Kevin Kay held a conference call earlier today to make the announcement of the switches.

“I’ve got bad news, and I’ve got great news,” began Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney. “The bad news is that I can confirm that Tito has fractured his neck and will be unable to fight next Saturday. His doctors confirmed that fighting with Tito right now could have dire consequences, so Tito is off the card and our thoughts and prayers are with him in what we hope will be a great and full recovery.

“The great news that I’ve got, because I’ve got the greatest partners on Earth at Spike and Viacom like Kevin Kay and people like Wade Davis, we’re going to give Chandler-Alvarez II for the lightweight title, (Muhammad)Lawal versus Emanuel Newton II for the light heavyweight interim world title, [Pat] Curran versus [Daniel] Strauss II for the featherweight world title, and a bevy of other really great fights, all to the best MMA fans on Earth, for free on Spike TV, Saturday night at 9 o’clock Eastern time.”

Every main card fight will be moved up now with the rematch of Michael Chandler and Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title. Rebney said that the “Fight Master” finale between Joe Riggs and Mike Bronzoulis will now be apart of the main card.

Rebney stated that Ortiz could be sidelined for more than six months before the Bellator can get a better timeframe on an Ortiz return. In terms of when Jackson will make his Bellator debut, Rebney would like to get Jackson ASAP.

“On the Rampage front, literally as quickly as possible,” he said. “Obviously there have been a lot of moving parts with Kevin and I and the team and Spike and Bellator and everybody working together to put this magical show on Spike TV for free, but don’t think that we’re not thinking about Rampage and we’re hopefully going to be in a position in the next week to make some great announcements on that as well.”

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Joe Warren Not Allowed To Compete in Co-Feature Of Bellator 98

It was announced a short time ago by Bellator MMA that former featherweight champion Joe Warren wasn’t medically cleared to fight at Bellator 98 tomorrow night. The Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation deemed Warren unable to compete. Warren’s condition wasn’t revealed to us at this time.

The former champion was scheduled to fight Nick Kirk tomorrow night at Bellator 98. Kirk has been pulled from the card as well.

Warren was a coach on Bellator MMA’s reality show, “Fight Master” and no plans were announced by the organization as to if and when this fight will take place. Belltor MMA CEO Bjorn Rebney released a statement regarding Warren not being able to compete.

“I’ve been fortunate to work with one of the best commissioners in the sport in Mike Mazzulli, and after carefully reviewing Joe’s medical documents, everyone agreed to err on the side of caution with the goal of ensuring our fighters safety. It was determined Joe would be unable to compete this Saturday at Mohegan Sun. Joe’s been with us since the beginning and as is the case with every fighter here, it’s incumbent on me to ensure Joe is 100% healthy and medically cleared to fight before he steps into the Bellator cage.”

Bellator 98 takes place tomorrow night at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn, with the main card airs on Spike TV following the prelims on Spike.com.

Here is the revised card of Bellator 98:

MAIN CARD (Spike TV, 8 p.m. ET)
•Alexander Shlemenko vs. Brett Cooper – for middleweight title
•Andreas Spang vs. Justin Torrey – Season 9 middleweight tournament opening round
•Perry Filkins vs. Jeremy Kimball – Season 9 middleweight tournament opening round
•Mikkel Parlo vs. Brian Rogers – Season 9 middleweight tournament opening round
•Jason Butcher vs. Giva Santana – Season 9 middleweight tournament opening round
•Derek Anderson vs. Patricky Freire

PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike.com, 6 p.m. ET)
•Mike Mucitelli vs. Jeff Nader
•Brennan Ward vs. Dave Vitkay
•Andrew Calandrelli vs. Ryan Quinn
•Matt Bessette vs. Nick Piedmont
•Glenn Allaire vs. Rico DiSciullo
•Josh Diekmann vs. Parker Porter

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UFC Podcast: UFC 164 Preview

In today’s podcast Steve talks to Fighthype.com lead writer Percy Crawford. Steve and Crawford preview tonight’s UFC 164 featuring the main event between UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson defending his title against Anthony Pettis, with the co-main event of Josh Barnett facing off with Frank Mir.

The guys also recap UFC Fight Night 27 from Wednesday night and what is next for the main card winners and losers from the show, discuss the situation between Bjorn Rebney and Dana White and all the latest news in the MMA world.

Crawford and Steve then discuss the latest involving the fight between Canelo Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather on Saturday, September 14, the All Access ratings and if Showtime should be worried and all the latest news in the world of boxing.

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Michael Chandler and Bellator MMA Agree To Long Term Contract

Michael Chandler wanted to stay in Bellator MMA and Bellator MMA wanted Michael Chandler to stay in Bellator MMA. Both sides got what they wanted.

Bellator MMA announced in a press release that Chandler has signed an eight fight extension to remain with the organization.

Chandler had around one year left on his deal, but wanted to remain with Bellator.

“Since I signed with Bellator back in 2010, Bjorn laid out a plan for me of how he saw my career progressing and what type of levels we could reach together, and everything has come true,” Chandler said. “I couldn’t be happier with the situation I’m in right now. Bellator is my home, it’s where I want to be, and it’s where I’m going to continue to defend my belt. Over the last few months you’ve continued to see Bellator go out and sign some of the best talent in the world, and the tournaments continue to be loaded with talent that I’m ready to take on. I believe in this format and what Bellator is doing, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. My focus right now is solely on David Rickels, and making sure we put on a show July 31st.”

Chandler defeated the likes of Marcin Held, Lloyd Woodard and Patricky Pitbull before winning the Bellator MMA lightweight champion by defeating top ten lightweight Eddie Alvarez in November of 2011.

Bellator MMA CEO Bjorn Rebney was very happy to be able to keep one of the top lightweights in MMA in his organization.

“In all my years in combat sports, I’ve never seen the growth and development in a fighter like we’ve all witnessed with Michael Chandler,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “I believe Michael is the best lightweight in MMA. And, given that, I felt it was paramount to keep Michael at Bellator for the long term. Both inside and outside the cage, Michael is a tremendous representative for our Bellator. And, now as one of the highest paid lightweights in MMA, he’s without question earned that distinction.”

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Video: Preview of Tonight’s “Bellator MMA Unrivaled: The Russian Invasion”

One thing people about watching Bellator MMA is a great crop Russian fighters.

Tonight on Spike TV, you will learn a little bit more about the fighters as the promotion debuts, “Bellator MMA Unrivaled: The Russian Invasion”. The half-hour premieres at 11.p.m. ET/PT.

The show will feature Russian fighters like: (including Alexander Volkov, Alexander Shlemenko, Andrey Koreshkov and Shahbulat Shamhalaev). There will also be commentary from the likes of Bellator MMA President Bjorn Rebney, Frank Shamrock, Greg Jackson, Duke Roufus and Anthony Pettis.

Watch the preview above.

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Rampage Jackson Conference Call – June 5, 2013

rampage-jacksonQuinton “Rampage” Jackson talks to the media about his partnership with Spike TV, Bellator and TNA Wrestling, why he is so excited about this new deal, leaving the UFC and why this will be different and better for him, when he will be able to fight next, if he likes the tournament style in Bellator, being a wrestling fan growing up, actually getting in the ring and wrestling for TNA, his goals in fighting now, how much longer he would like to fight for, upcoming movie roles and more.  Also on the conference call are Bjorn Rebney of Bellator and TNA Wrestling President Dixie Carter.

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