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Posted on June 13, 2012 by Jack Thurman
The UFC’s management is clearly a mess at this point and someone is obviously ‘asleep at the switch’. How else to explain the promotion booking DREAM bantamweight champion Bibiano Fernandes to face Roland Delorme at UFC 149 and publicly announcing the same when there was one little problem–Fernandes hadn’t signed a contract with the promotion. On Tuesday, Fernandes called a press conference to make that fact perfectly clear.
Apparently the two sides were close to a deal but there were a few issues remaining to be resolved. That resolution never came and in the meantime Fernandes’ wife–who is 7 months pregnant–convinced her husband to take as much time as he needed in making his decision. With the UFC on the ‘back burner’ the notoriously parsimonious promotion had been outbid for Fernandes’ services by the Singapore based Zero One promotion.
With the popularity of MMA in general and the UFC in particular slumping dramatically in the United States and the promotion looking to spend more time internationally out of desperation, Fernandes has rightfully figured that he’s likely better off fighting for a promotion that is familiar with the foreign markets they’re promoting in–and one that’ll pay him more to boot. Now it seems that Fernandes is delaying any decision until after the birth of his child so it’ll be a couple of months before this situation is resolved.
Although the UFC supplicants in the MMA media are reporting this as if he’s still weighing his options, he’s made fairly clear that he doesn’t have much interest in fighting for Zuffa. There isn’t much equivocation in his statement that “I did not find the terms set before me by the UFC beneficial to my family and as a result an agreement could not be reached and no contract was signed.” Fernandes went on to reassert that due to his ‘personal and family obligations’ he would not be a part of the UFC promotion at this time. That’s significantly different than the simplistic meme reported by the MMA media in the United States.
The 32 year old Fernandes has a professional MMA record of 11-3 including victories in 10 of his last 11 fights. He’s the reigning DREAM bantamweight champion by virtue of his victory in the promotion’s Grand Prix tournament held on New Years’ Eve 2011.