By Zach Arnold | February 24, 2014
Bellator made a smart move in attempting to sign free agent Gilbert Melendez. Suddenly, Dana White was all “we’re not a monopoly!” and “I thought this is what you guys wanted?” in bunches of rhetorical flourishes.
It was time for the UFC to put up or shut up. They had to put up. They really had no other choice. Letting Melendez walk away would have emboldened Bellator to go after more UFC fighters.
— MMA Supremacy (@MMASupremacy) February 24, 2014
The good news is that it appears there will be some PPV points at stake. The bad news? The UFC continues to believe that The Ultimate Fighter is the key vehicle to build up big PPV fights. TUF doesn’t matter as a vehicle if you have coaches that don’t have dynamic personalities like Ronda Rousey or Miesha Tate, and even the ratings for their series were low.
It appears that any prospects of an Anthony Pettis vs. Jose Aldo fight are out the window. Melendez has a real shot of winning the Lightweight title, so it’s a gamble for UFC if they are banking on Pettis retaining the belt and then doing the Aldo superfight.
As for Bellator, I suspect they will make some future offers to UFC Lightweights. Getting in a bidding war with UFC over Light Heavyweights or Heavyweights will be too pricy given Viacom’s budget for Bellator. However, the fighters in the smaller weight classes cost less in the current MMA marketplace and thus become more attractive to make offers to. I don’t blame Bellator one bit for making an offer to Melendez. A trio feud with Melendez, Chandler, and Alvarez would have really made Bellator’s year in 2014.
Free market system requires Bidding @BjornRebney not matching. The UFC, to whom Gil's value is highest–never bid. That isn't "free market"
— Rob Maysey (@MMAFA) February 24, 2014
The one thing that I remain annoyed with is the continued narrative that somehow big bad Dana was the roadblock in a fighter not being able to sign a new deal but generous, benevolent, patient, all-being Lorenzo Fertitta saved the day as the voice of reason and came through with a new deal. Dana isn’t doing anything out of turn without the permission of Lorenzo or Frank Fertitta. As Randy Couture once stated, Dana is the laser beam that Lorenzo points at to play bad cop while he comes in as Superman to save the day. Continuing to buy into this narrative is as foolish as buying into the narrative that Sig Rogich-founded WSOF isn’t an unofficial UFC bastard child that can function as a stalking horse to sign fighters that otherwise would have considered signing with Bellator.
Lorenzo Fertitta retweeting hilarious stuff right now. Fans saying how they were so bummed Gil would be in Bellator. Subtle jabs.
— Fight_Ghost (@Fight_Ghost) February 24, 2014