In a bizarre turn of events DREAM bantamweight champion Bibiano Fernandes has stated that he’s not signed for the UFC despite the fact they had already chalked him up to fight at UFC 149 in July.
On the UFC’s official website recently Fernandes was revealed to be fighting Roland Delorme at UFC 149 in July, but according to the fighter himself that’s not going to happen.
“I would like to make perfectly clear the news concerning my involvement with the UFC,” Fernandes told fans on his Facebook page. “It was announced that I, Bibiano Fernandes have been contracted to fight for the organization at UFC 149 which will take place in the city of Calgary on the 21st of July. I would like to make it clear that I am not a UFC athlete as I did not sign any contract with the UFC organization.”
Fernandes, who holds an 11-3 career record and has won both the DREAM featherweight and bantamweight titles in Japan, admits talks about signing with the sport’s premier promotion did take place, but later fell through.
“Negotiations between the UFC and myself did take place; however, we could not resolve the issues on the table and as a result we did not come to an agreement.”
There’s now rumors that the Brazilian may be getting courted by Asian promotion ONE FC, but he does leave the door open for a move to the UFC at some stage in the future if they can meet his terms.
“I did not find the terms set before me by the UFC beneficial to my family and as a result an agreement could not be reached and no contract was signed. It should be noted that the UFC is the largest MMA organization in the world however, my personal and professional obligations have brought me to the decision that I will not be a part of the UFC organization at this point in time. The day that an agreement is reached and the terms set forth are beneficial to both parties involved, I will have the most pleasure and satisfaction to fight for the organization while always representing my beloved country.”
As well as being a somewhat embarrassing situation for the UFC, it also leaves them with yet another gap on the UFC 149 fight card which has already been subject to a number of call-offs due to injuries.
At the same time, playing hardball with the UFC over financial terms is a risky strategy from Fernandes who is a very good fighter, but doesn’t have the kind of star power that would enable to have much clout at the negotiating table with the promotion.
At the age of 32 and with the popularity of the UFC exploding in his native Brazil you would have thought he’d have jumped at the chance to finally be able to compete on the sport’s biggest stage, but if he doesn’t make the move now there’s no guarantee he’ll still be able to do so at a later date.