Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez (Pictured) has a critical title fight against Jorge Masvidal in 11 days, but the only questions that seem to come his way involve an inevitable transition to the UFC.
He signed a multi-fight extension to remain with Strikeforce this past February. However, that was exactly one month prior to Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of the UFC, purchasing the company, and now Melendez isn’t sure if he’s able to get out of his contract and join the major leagues.
“I can’t confirm that, I don’t know,” Melendez said of Zuffa’s ability to void his Strikeforce deal and ink him to a new arrangement with the UFC. “These contracts, it’s like they’re meant for us fighters not to understand them. That’s what these contracts are about. I have a lawyer and hopefully these guys that make the deals can get it going. That’s all I can really say about that.
“I do have a multi-fight with Strikeforce, I’m happy with everything and I’m very grateful for it, but I don’t know what exactly can be done. But I’m sure these guys have the power to do whatever they want.”
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker was also on Tuesday’s conference call, but unfortunately he wasn’t willing to offer up much information regarding the fine print in Melendez’s current contract.
“Obviously, we can’t get into any type of legal verbiage of what’s in the contract and what’s not,” Coker said. “Those are all bout-like confidentiality provisions. To me, what happens after this fight will depend on the outcome of the fight.”
“El Nino” owns an impressive 19-2 professional record and has rattled off five consecutive victories. When asked if he would be disappointed if he posted a lopsided win over Masvidal and didn’t get promoted to the UFC, assuming Zuffa has the ability to do so, Melendez respectfully made his intentions clear.
“Of course you want to be there, and I’m not trying to sound all perfect or anything like that, but I don’t have time to be negative,” he expressed. “I’m really grateful for being the main event on Showtime, and there might be some disappointment if things go perfect and things don’t go my way [after the fight], but I’m grateful.
“The goal is to be #1 in the world. If I have to beat Jorge, if I have to beat someone else, if I have to beat five more people before that, then so be it. But the sooner the better. I think I’ve deserved a chance at that UFC title for [a while]. So if I can get it as soon as possible, that would be great. It’s inevitable, I’m coming for that spot. The sooner the better.”