For a while there, it seemed like one of the UFC’s best lightweights was going to jump ship and swim to the idyllic shores of Bellator Island. But it just wasn’t meant to be. As per a release by the UFC, they’ve come to an agreement on terms with Gilbert Melendez, and with his new contract in hand, he’ll coach TUF 20 opposite champ Anthony Pettis.
(If you’ll recall, TUF 20 is the season with all the 115-pound female fighters.)
The UFC was mum on the specific terms of the contract, but MMAFighting has some additional color:
Per the terms of the agreement, according to several sources, Melendez’s deal guarantees that at least 75 percent of the 31-year-old’s fights will be contested on pay-per-view moving forward. Additionally, income earned from Melendez’s contracted pay-per-view points will kick in at a lower minimum buy rate than for any contract in UFC history, meaning Melendez will still earn pay-per-view point earnings on an event that performs poorly at the box office.
Melendez will also earn pay-per-view income regardless of his placement on an event, i.e., regardless of whether he fights in the main event, co-main event or main card.
Altogether, the terms of the deal will likely make Melendez one of the highest paid fighters in the current mixed martial arts landscape.
At the end of the day, this is fantastic news not just for Melendez but for all fighters. The market conditions in an industry monopolized by one company never favor those in free-agency limbo; but take away that monopoly and introduce viable competitors – competitors who can bid on those free agents, thereby increasing their value – and you have a market that’s healthy and fair. And now, thanks to the bidding war Bellator and the UFC just fought, fighters everywhere can see that when it comes to making a decent living, there’s no need to be beholden to one particular master and that master’s terms.
Another added bonus, this one for the fans: Holy crap is TUF 20 going to be awesome!