After missing out on restricted UFC free agent Gilbert Melendez, Bellator MMA announced Monday they have inked current middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko (pictured) to a muti-fight, muti-year extension. Or as UFC president Dana White might say, Shlemenko signed his life away because he’s never getting out of that contract.
“Bellator has been my home for many years, and it’s where I want to be,” Shlemenko expressed in a statement. “[Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney] made me a promise and he lived up to that promise to provide me with a new deal. I have made a home here at Bellator, and I will continue to represent Russia in my efforts in the cage.
“I have gained millions of new fans both in the US and in Russia and around the world during my time with Bellator, and I will enjoy being Bellator’s longest running champion. I will continue wearing that belt with honor during my time with Bellator, which will now be at the peak of my career.”
Shlemenko breaks in his new deal March 28 by defending his throne against Season 9 Tournament winner Brennan Ward.
At just 29 years of age, “Storm” owns an impressive 49-7 professional record. He’s gone 10-1 under Bellator’s banner en route to capturing the crown.
“Alexander Shlemenko has been with this organization since its infancy, and has grown into one of the most dominant champions in MMA,” Rebney said. “I can say without hesitation Alexander has been a large part of the success we have enjoyed over the last five years and as the biggest name in Russian MMA, he’s been the catalyst to the largest TV deal in the history of MMA in Russia.
“It’s an honor to have him fight in this organization. I look forward to watching his career continue inside the Bellator cage for years to come.”