No more KO or Sub OTN bonuses, Perfomance instead
Today the UFC announced a significant change to how they give out fight night bonuses.
"He better start looking elsewhere," were Dana White's sentiments when it came time to give a final verdict on Gilbert Melendez's contract negotiations with the UFC. Melendez finished the final fight on his Strikeforce contract (as it was transported to the UFC when Zuffa shut the doors on the Showtime based promotion) with a memorable win over Diego Sanchez that had Zuffa brass and fans glowing. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to have bought him everything he's looking for when it comes to his first UFC deal. Dana White appeared on UFC Tonight on Wednesday and his words for Melendez and his management were less than kind. (transcription via MMA Fighting)
"I'm done," UFC President Dana White told Helwani. "It's not going well. I couldn't care less about it anymore. I like Gilbert Melendez, I don't like his management."
"Being Georges St-Pierre's best friend, doesn't make you a good manager," White said of Beaulieu.
"If he (Melendez) wants to fight in the UFC, he better talk to (UFC co-owner) Lorenzo (Fertitta) quick."
Assuming that Dana isn't overselling his displeasure here (which he very well could be), Melendez finds himself in the unfortunate reality of a Zuffa dominated MMA landscape. It's been that way for quite some time, but the recent folding of Strikeforce and the continued struggles of Asian promotions to create the kind of top level MMA environment where major stars can thrive have left fighters of Melendez's caliber with very few options outside the doors of the UFC.
Strikeforce contracts were notably lucrative for the stars that fought under them and Melendez reportedly made $175,000 in his loss to Benson Henderson. Henderson himself only made $200,000 in the win on his $100,000/$100,000 contract. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the the UFC wanted to knock off a major chunk of Melendez's base salary (half that would be more in line with most top end lightweights). If that's the case, it isn't difficult to see why the UFC and Melendez's manager Rodolphe Beaulieu (who also manages GSP) might be so far apart. Hopefully the issue resolves itself soon, because if not, we may not see Melendez fight in the UFC again for quite some time.
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