More on Melendez to Bellator story

February 18, 2014

MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer has more information on the evolving Gilbert Melendez to Bellator story which brings up some interesting questions about the future of business for Bellator and the UFC.

Meltzer also indicated on his weekly Wrestling Observer podcast (subscription required) that a definitive answer on whether the UFC will match Bellator’s offer to Melendez will occur sometime in mid-March.  Based on a previous standard fighter contract proposed to Eddie Alvarez, the UFC’s opportunity to match is 15 days.  Thus, if we assume that Melendez was offered the contract around the day news broke, the UFC would have by the end of February/early March to match the contract offered by Bellator.  It could even mean that Bellator could have a big announcement when it returns to Spike TV on Friday, February 28th.

In the MMA Fighting article, Rebney indicated that “this wouldn’t be the last time something like this would happen.”  Bellator plans on attempting to go after fighters when they are “legally allowed to,” according to Rebney.

Rebney indicated the Melendez contract is a multi-fight deal which also includes a PPV upside as well as other opportunities outside of the ring.

If the UFC decides not to match, Melendez could be in a Bellator ring as soon as this spring.

Payout Perspective:

It will be interesting to see what the UFC does as to whether or not match Bellator’s offer.  The Melendez offer invokes the UFC’s “right to match” clause in its fighter contracts which unveils a new battle between Bellator and the UFC.  Bellator may begin to put pressure on the UFC when it comes to re-signing its talent causing the UFC to make a business decision on how much a fighter is worth to its company.  It would also mean the UFC has less leverage over the free agent fighter.  The move would mean that Bellator is willing to open up its checkbook to sign top-flight fighters whereas it had not done so in the past.

From Bellator’s perspective, signing Melendez may be a gamble if he does not produce immediately.  If Melendez were to be upset (e.g., King Mo) in his debut with Bellator, the acquisition will appear to be a bust.  Moreover, whether to put Melendez in the lightweight tournament is another question.  Bellator’s tournament model is a staple of the organization and it’s not clear whether Melendez will be placed in it as there may be some risk of him losing before the big payoff of facing the LW champ.

It appears that the future is a PPV fight with Eddie Alvarez assuming everything falls in place.  This would mean that Bellator would be making amendments to its usual tournament style in order to appease an incoming fighter and ensure its investment is not tarnished by an unfortunate upset.

4 Responses to “More on Melendez to Bellator story”

  1. wqewqeqw on February 18th, 2014 1:59 PM

    Murdoch is burning through money on FS1 and FS2 and nobody is watching….

    How much longer is Murdoch going to let this madness go until he decides to pull the pull ?

    I’m thinking the over/ under is 2.5 years.

  2. rob on February 18th, 2014 4:22 PM

    @wqewqeqw Murdoch will not pull the plug until after the 2018 or 2022 World cup which will be on all the Fox properties. It’s almost impossible for them to pull the plug because they’ve invested nearly 40 billion in sports rights, Nascar, US Open (Golf), MLS, UFC, MLB, NCAA football, Big East Basketball. They have so many rights that don’t start until 2015 so we’ll have to evaluate the progress after the 2015. This is a long term process We’re only 6 months in. This is not “madness” yet. Is it ideal? No, but it’s far from a failure after just 6 months of being on the air.

  3. N2 on February 18th, 2014 9:47 PM

    The FoxSports strategy is a decade plus long strategy. None of their big sports properties have even started yet.

  4. Sampson Simpson on February 19th, 2014 10:02 AM


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