It emerged last night that contract negotiations between the UFC and Gilbert Melendez have hit a major stumbling block that’s left the former Strikeforce lightweight champion on the verge of being released from the promotion.
On the latest edition of the ‘UFC Tonight’ show on FOX Sports 1, reporter Ariel Helwani relayed a conversation he’d had with Dana White about Melendez, and the UFC president wasn’t hiding his frustration at how the contract talks were proceeding.
“I’m done,” Helwani quotes White as having said. “It’s not going well at this point. I like Gilbert Melendez very much, but I don’t like his management.
“I couldn’t care less anymore. If Melendez wants to fight in the UFC, he should talk to [UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta] quick or [Melendez] better start looking elsewhere.”
The UFC took on Melendez’s contract (which called for a basic salary of $175,000, win or lose) when he joined the UFC in 2013. His contract has now ended and so the two parties have been attempting to strike a new deal.
Melendez lost out in a title clash with Ben Henderson in his UFC debut last year, but then rebounded with a win over Diego Sanchez in one of the best fights of 2013, leaving him ranked as the No.2 contender in the lightweight division and still very much a hot commidty at this moment in time.
In fact, Dana White had indicated recently that Melendez could be next to fight current champion Anthony Pettis for the 155lb title.
With that in mind it seems that there’s still a good chance that a deal will be struck, but from the sounds of things White is personally washing his hands of the situation and Melendez’s management will have to tread carefully if and when they do head into further negotiations with Fertitta.