Cesar Gracie threatens to move all of his fighters from UFC to Bellator

Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Spor

A few hours after Bellator announced a deal with Gilbert Melendez, Cesar Gracie "warned" Dana White that Melendez might not be the only UFC fighter jumping ship.

The MMA world has been figuratively (not literally) turned upside down by news that Gilbert Melendez, regarded as one of the top 3 lightweights in the world and top 15 pound-for-pound in the UFC's own official rankings, is joining Bellator after unsuccessful contract negotiations with the UFC. While Bellator has just about brought out the welcome mat, the UFC still holds matching rights to Bellator's offer. Cesar Gracie, Melendez's trainer, has made it very clear to UFC president Dana White that Gilbert won't be the last to join Bellator if he's "not careful":

Cesargracietweet_medium

Well ... maybe he had a change of heart, because Gracie deleted the tweet about an hour after he posted it (5:07 PM PT), hence the screenshot instead of an embedded link. I'd certainly love to see him try and get Nick Diaz and Jake Shields to join Melendez in leaving the UFC, especially since Diaz is supposedly "retired" and Shields, for all he's done to get back into the top 10 at welterweight, is not exactly someone Bellator would pounce on as a free agent.

This definitely feels like an empty threat -- if anything it'll probably harm his guys more than help them -- but it's something to pass along as the Melendez to Bellator story continues to unfold.

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