clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Melendez Strikes Out of DREAM

Well the unbelievably awesome DREAM 154lb tournament is one fighter less awesome today. Gilbert Melendez has decided to fight at the Strikeforce event on March 29, and skip the opening round of the DREAM tourny on March 15. As he told MMA Weekly:

This month, on March 29, I will be doing the EliteXC/Strikeforce show on Showtime. I've got a commitment with Strikeforce, and I look forward to fighting in the States and getting some respect out here.

I think it's a great opportunity to fight in the Dream tournament. I love fighting in Japan, but right now I have a commitment with Strikeforce. I'm looking to just put my focus on Strikeforce; I've got a contract there and want to fulfill it.

Coming a week after Caol Uno's announcement that he wouldn't be fighting in the DREAM tournament, this leaves DREAM short two top lightweights. Here's how the card stands now with two slots left to fill:

Lightweight Grand Prix (16-man tournament):
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Kultar "Black Mamba" Gill
Shinya Aoki vs. Gesias "JZ" Calvancante
Mitsuhiro Ishida vs. Jung Bu-Kyung
Joachim Hansen vs. Koutetsu Boku
Kazuyuki Miyata vs. Luiz "Buscape" Firmino
Andre "Dida" Amade vs. Eddie Alvarez
Artur Oumakhanov vs. Katsuhiko Nagata

HT: MMA Weekly

Certainly any tournament with five top 10 fighters is no joke, but its certainly not as strong as it would be if Uno vs Melendez was the final opening round bout. I wonder if the CBS deal has convinced Melendez to concentrate on keeping Showtime/Elite XC happy or if he's in a hurry to finish his deal and move to the UFC or if it's just the difference between a bird in the hand (signed contract with Strikeforce) and a bird in the bush (verbal agreement with DREAM).

Update [2008-3-7 13:3:28 by Kid Nate]:

But wait, there's more:

Event producer Keiichi Sasahara said the tournament would proceed with seven tournament bouts for the time being. An eighth tournament bout wasn't possible due to injuries to Vitor Ribeiro and Caol Uno, as well as Gilbert Melendez's commitments to Strikeforce. However, Sasahara hopes to organize a bout between two of the fighters for the April 29 Dream card, with the winner then advancing to the quarterfinals on May 11. If that isn't possible, one fighter may be seeded directly into the May 11 quarterfinals.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bloody Elbow Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your MMA and UFC news from Bloody Elbow