Cesar Gracie: Gilbert Melendez 'hopefully' won't require shoulder surgery, return unknown

Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez was forced out of his last bout with Pat Healy due to a shoulder injury, which led to the cancellation of the event. Another event cancellation followed, but Strikeforce GM Scott Coker said they'd put on a stacked card in January. Will Melendez be on that card? According to his coach Cesar Gracie in an interview with Tatame, no one's really sure when he'll be back:

"I've been with Gilbert this week. He received the result of the MRI and hopefully will not need surgery. He will probably go through a lot of physical therapy, which he has been doing. I do not know when he comes back, but he will as soon as possible and he would like to face Pat Healy, because that was the fight he had in mind before he got hurt."

There's also the possibility that Strikeforce isn't even around anymore when Melendez is fully recovered. Gracie thinks that he'll probably fight in SF again, but wouldn't be surprised with a quick move to the UFC:

"It seems that he will come back to Strikeforce, but with the recent history the organization may end. And to tell you the truth, we do not know what will happen yet. A lot is depending on Showtime. I hope Strikeforce will continue, but if not, I can see Gilbert going to the UFC sooner than expected. Melendez still has four fights on his Strikeforce contract, but you have to remember that the UFC owns Strikeforce, so it does not matter much. If they want him to migrate to the UFC, they can do it anytime."

I tend to think that Strikeforce will survive long enough to see at least one more Melendez title defense. But I'm an optimist when it comes to SF, so who knows.

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