Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bellator Champ Hector Lombard offered UFC contract, Bellator to decide soon on matching terms

By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

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Bellator Fighting Championship's middleweight division may be without its Champion come next week, as Hector Lombard has officially received a contract offer from the UFC. Bellator is in a matching period with Lombard after his contract expired earlier this year, and Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said today that they will be going over the UFC's offer this week.

"We?ve received the final proposed UFC agreement from Hector?s attorney, and right now we are in the process of reviewing it to determine whether we?re going to match the agreement," Rebney said in an interview with Sherdog.com. "We?ve got the 60 pages of UFC contract that were forwarded to us by Hector?s counsel. We?ve been waiting on the actual contract itself to see all of the specifics and every conceivable detail and know exactly what is being offered. Now we have something really specific to look at."

Should they decide to match the terms Lombard has been offered from the UFC, he'll remain with the organization he's spent the last three years with. However, Rebney says it's not going to be a drawn out issue, and if they decide not to match it they are content - and actually happy - with Lombard being able to ply his trade elsewhere for that compensation.

"The reality is that Hector is going to do extremely well whether he is fighting in the Octagon or the Bellator circle, and I think everybody knew that," Rebney said. "He?s one of the best middleweights on the face of the earth. He hasn?t fought in a long time, and he had to wait through these periods contractually to get to a point where he could go out and seek an offer from a competing organization."

"Out of respect for Hector, I think we will turn [the UFC contract] around very quickly. Obviously, we have a huge event coming up Friday [Bellator 66]. As soon as that is over, we will sit down with our partners and go through the UFC contract line-for-line and make a strategic decision whether we?re going to match it or pass. [If we pass, we will] wish him the best and let him go knock out everybody in the UFC."

Penick's Analysis: This has also been Rebney's thoughts on Eddie Alvarez's situation, as he told our own Rich Hansen in the past month that he just wants to see Eddie get what he deserves; and whether they can give him that or whether he can get it from the UFC doesn't matter. It's a respectable approach as both Lombard and Alvarez have plateaued from a competitive standpoint in Bellator. Yes, Alvarez was bested by Michael Chandler, but it's not likely to be worth it for Alvarez to fight the names he'd have to fight to get back to a rematch there. For Lombard, there isn't much they can offer him from a competitive or name value standpoint, so for Lombard it will come down to if they can match what he'd have a chance to make in the UFC. I wholly expect that Bellator will bow out after going through this offer, and we'll likely see Lombard in the Octagon by July.

Source: http://www.mmatorch.com/artman2/publish/UFC_2/article_13060.shtml

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