Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney Believes the UFC Gave Gilbert Melendez a Coaching Slot on TUF Due to Bellator's Offer
Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 03.02.2014
Rebney discusses Bellator's offer to Melendez...
Following Bellator's season 10 premiere event, Bellator 110, last Friday in Uncasville, Connecticut, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney talked about Bellator's previous offer to UFC lightweight fighter and top contender, Gilbert Melendez. After Bellator made Melendez an offer, UFC exercised their matching rights on Melendez's contract which gave Melendez a coaching spot against UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis on The Ultimate Fighter and a future title fight against the champion. According to Rebney, Bellator's offer to Melendez is what got him his coaching spot as well as major TV opportunities and PPV points. Below are some highlights from Rebney discussing Melendez:
Rebney on if the UFC gave Melendez a coaching slot on TUF due to Bellator's offer: "I know they did. Being part of the Viacom family and having Spike (TV) as a legitimate partner, we can offer things to fighters like we've done with (Quinton Jackson) in terms of the theatrical stuff and the reality programming he's done. We offered some of those things to Gil. There was no way they could match the deal without giving Gil on-camera opportunities and huge pay-per-view participation. To the best of my knowledge, he'll have the best pay-per-view participation in the UFC now, which is great for Gil – he's a good dude, a heck of a fun guy to watch fight, and he's one of the good guys in the game. I'd have preferred he fight here, but he's going to have financial security for his family."
Rebney on the UFC exercising their matching rights to give Melendez another offer: "I think it's indicative of how the system should work. The UFC had matching rights. We've got matching rights. And you negotiate those rights up front when you sign a guy like Gil, or a superstar fighter. The idea is, if you support that fighter and build him up over the years, you should at least be able to give the equivalent of what someone else offered and be able to retain their services, because you've helped build them up, and the fighter's helped build up your organization. So we made Gil a great offer. It had a lot big perks in it in terms of on-air stuff and pay-per-view participation … We're going to get some of those guys, and we're going to lose some of them. If it helped the sport in terms of giving fighters like Gil a bigger stake in the game, which they deserve, I think it's a good thing."