MMA veteran and fan favorite Gilbert Melendez has issued a statement following his release from the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Melendez, 37, was reportedly let go from the UFC last night in the midst of a five-fight losing streak, with his last victory coming in an absolute classic against Diego Sanchez back at UFC 166 in October 2013. “El Niño” has slowly but surely been transitioning over into the punditry world, working for ESPN on a number of big UFC events.
After the news was broken regarding his release, Melendez was quick to issue his own statement on the matter.
“It was a fun ride with the UFC that I really enjoyed,” Melendez told ESPN. “I feel I gave them one of the most entertaining fights in their history [against Diego Sanchez], and I appreciate all they’ve done. They have done a bunch of cool stuff for all of their fighters.
“That said, I do feel this release is mutual. I was ready to move on. I feel like, if I were to fight again, I would like to do it on my terms and steer my own ship. The UFC is a fantastic organization, but they have their agenda, and unless you’re a champion or a super strong needle mover, you don’t have as much say in your career. If I do get back in the cage, I want it to be with a company that agrees with the path that I want to be on. But I’m leaving the UFC on great terms”.
Based on these comments alone it certainly seems as if fighting for another promotion is on the cards, with Bellator being a leading contender in the eyes of many fans. For now, though, the praise continues to roll in for one of the UFC’s most popular lightweights ever.
What do you think is next for Gilbert Melendez?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/12/2019.