MELENDEZ GETS IT, STRIKEFORECE PERFECT FIT FOR NOW
–Kenny Rice, Inside MMA Anchorman
The adage still holds. Necessity is the mother of invention. The UFC created the wheel that is MMA today: pay-per-view driven events; a devoted web following; an entity unto itself from marketing, fighters, ownership rights of all things UFC.
Gilbert Melendez gets it. The Strikeforce Lightweight Champ told us as much this week on Inside MMA while he negotiates a contract extension with the organization that he has been the face of for most of his professional life. It’s still a good fit for him and for the organization.
Not that he wouldn’t want to fight Frankie Edgar for a universal title of some type. Not that he wishes there wasn’t the gulf between the two main U.S. MMA groups. But Melendez is smart, like most of the champions are. He gets what is best for him at present, what is realistic for the sport at the moment. That any union of fighters, any working relationships with major organization, well the 800 pound gorilla that is the UFC, is at best as he agrees “five years away.” Even that time frame is a wishful stretch.
There will be plenty of time for Melendez to showcase his impressive talent, still opportunities for Strikeforce and Japanese organizations to work out match ups like his victories over Shinya Aoki and Mitsuhiro Ishida.
There is no necessity for the UFC to consider consolidation, compromise on any level for now. Fans have stuck with their format in the tough economic times to buy TV privileges, still almost unanimously fans consider the UFC the be- all- end- all of MMA. What pressure is there to change?
Strikeforce has done well with its Showtime deal and their stars like Melendez and his Cesar Gracie Academy teammate Nick Diaz are well known and respected as fighters throughout the MMA landscape. Strikeforce is putting on one of the greatest heavyweight tournaments in history in a few days. All is well on both fronts of U.S. MMA.
Necessity and plain common sense works for now for both Melendez and Strikeforce. It’s not about being tough, it’s about being smart.
Make sure to watch Kenny Rice, along with Bas Rutten and Ron Kruck every Friday night on Inside MMA
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