JR Houck: An Interview with Gilbert Melendez
Colorado Springs – I consider myself to be a hard-core mixed martial arts (MMA) fan, although my scope of the fighting arts remains focused on the larger and more popular Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). As usual, I leave the underground scene and the other, smaller fighting organizations to other bloggers and reporters.
John “JR” Houck of Hacnews.com landed an interview with Strikeforce lightweight champion, Gilbert Melendez as the fighter recuperated from a hand injury sustained in his last fight. In interviewing Melendez, Houck revealed Din Thomas’ arrest for running an underground fight organization, which was news to me.
The interview itself with Melendez also offers a great rapport between Melendez and Houck, which is becoming a trademark of Houck’s excellent interviewing skills. Melendez discusses spending time at the Playboy Mansion, Hugh Hefner, and the fighters that Melendez wants to fight as his career rises up the MMA ladder. Melendez, who has had discussions with the UFC, remains content with his career as reigning Strikeforce lightweight champion. Still, his future goals include possible fights with BJ Penn, Sean Sherk and Joe “Big Daddy” Stevenson – all UFC stars.
Paotie’s PostScript: I posted an article earlier in October (Randy Couture: Resignation or A Bluff?) that explored the possibility that former UFC heavyweight champion, Randy Couture was bluffing UFC President Dana White into renegotiating Couture’s contract. White openly admits that Couture’s contract is less than former UFC light heavyweight champion, Chuck Liddell‘s contract pays.
Time.com quoted Couture as stating:
“I’m tired of being taken advantage of, played as the nice guy and basically swimming against the current with the management of the UFC,” he said. “I have a lot of other things going on in my life that I’m doing just fine with. I don’t need the problems. I don’t feel like I get the respect I deserve from the organization.”
Additionally, Tito Ortiz – another former UFC champion – has also complained about contractual issues relating to White’s handling of UFC fighters. In fact, Ortiz has gone so far as to quip, “Until Dana White is ready to fight me on a professional basis, I strongly urge him to keep his mouth shut.”
In fairness to White, the UFC has grown exponentially since the early 1990′s, and it’s safe to say that it would not have happened without White’s stewardship. Still, I can’t help sometimes but think that White is trying to manage too many things all at once. His match-ups (White personally selects fights himself) are sometimes viewed as questionable, such as his pairing of Rashad Evans, who fought Ortiz to a draw earlier this year, with British fighter, Michael Bisping. The Englishman won an extremely controversial and hotly-disputed decision over Matt Hamill in London, also earlier this year.
Perhaps White is over his head sometimes with regard to the way he manages both the UFC and the fighters’ match-ups. As this relates to Couture, there’s probably a good possibility that he may be right with regard to how the UFC handles it’s most popular fighters, and the hold-out may last indefinitely.
To Dana White: pay Randy Couture the money he wants. He deserves it. He’s done as much, if not more, for the sport than anyone else. Quit whining about “Hollywood agents” because in reality, you know your sport has arrived when “Hollywood agents” become part of the background of MMA. That’s just a fact of life – accept it.
It’s not like Couture is asking for baseball star A-Rod’s astronomically absurd contract. Drop your pride, Dana, and let Couture have whatever he wants. Oh, and find other qualified people to set up the match-ups better than you have.
Also, in Houck’s interview, he mentions the Diaz brothers fighting against one another. A little web crawling after reading the interview led me to find a YouTube clip of the brother’s playing around. The video is roughly 10 minutes long, but if you’re a Diaz Bros. fan such as I am, you might enjoy watching the video. Check it out.
Have a great weekend.