Melendez Will Coach Opposite of Anthony Pettis on 20th Season of The Ultimate Fighter

Published on February 24th, 2014 4:01 pm EST

It was an interesting last week for former Strikeforce Lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez.

Early last week, Bellator decided that they were going to sign free agent Melendez to a contract. Melendez and his team had been having issues with the UFC when it came to his negotiations - things were going so badly, in fact, that UFC President Dana White had publicly expressed frustration with Melendez and his management team.

Bellator turned up the pressure when they inked Melendez to a deal. The UFC, however, had matching rights, and they ultimately ended up keeping Melendez and inking him to a new deal.

The new deal is reportedly a very generous contract that gives Melendez a large base salary and rights to collect PPV points.

The UFC will be putting Melendez straight to work, as they revealed that he will be coaching opposite of UFC Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis on the 20th season of the Ultimate Fighter. Once the show airs on TV, Melendez will fight Pettis for the Lightweight title.

This is obviously interesting news for a number of reasons, including:

-this means that Jose Aldo will not be fighting Pettis for the title, at least for now

-this means that the Lightweight title will be held up for many months as Pettis/Melendez tape the show and then fight

-what happens to fighters such as Ben Henderson and TJ Grant? At best they are looking at a full year until they can fight for the title

There is also another angle to this recent development. Bellator has said that they plan on going after other high profile UFC free agents. In the end, this is good news for fighters, as it will be possible for them to receive much better deals with two promotions interested in their services.

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