When Japan’s top MMA organization, DREAM officially announced its bankruptcy fight fanatics salivated at the thought of their top stars joining the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s famed octagon – For Bibiano Fernandes, we thought it was a reality, but we were all mistaken.
UFC officials announced that the top-ranked bantamweight would be the latest addition to the UFC 149 card in Calgary, Alberta, Canada facing The Ultimate Fighter alum Ronald Delrome but the Canadian product denied inking a deal with the top-ranked organization.
It turns out that Fernandes had verbally agreed to step into the cage on July 21 but was offered a larger contract from Asian-based organization ONE FC that would fatten his pocketbook significantly more than the one put on the table by the UFC officials
The dual division DREAM titlist has made a decision with his wife to hold off on making a choice between the two organizations until his third child arrives within the next two months, until then UFC President Dana White said he’s free to fight wherever he wants if he’s not inked to a Zuffa, LLC contract.
“If the guy says he didn’t sign, he didn’t sign. That’s why I don’t like announcing a lot of stuff, because these guys will have a verbal, and verbals suck. You can’t get anything done with a verbal,” He told MMAWeeklcom.com
“He’ a grown man, he can go fight somewhere else if he wants if he doesn’t have a deal.”
Fernandes, a Vancouver, British Columbia resident got his first mainstream exposure in FEG’s DREAM organization as a relatively unknown with a 3-2 record with defeats to Urijah Faber and “Kid” Yamamoto, both of whom were regarded as the top fighters on the lighter weight-classes at the time.
The 32-year-old opened eyeballs soon thereafter winning 10 of his next 11 fights in the Japanese organization’s ring dispatching the likes of Joe Warren, Hiroyuki Takaya, Joachim Hansen and Antonio Banuelos while snatching the featherweight and bantamweight titles.
While I understand that the Brazilian-born fighter has a growing family that he needs to support in the short-term it would seem that signing with ONE FC would be the smarter move but that isn’t definitely the case long-term.
Zuffa, LLC are the biggest organization with a license to print money right now, as a result they have the opportunity to look after the fighters they have under contract.
The UFC offers their fighters medical insurance, not to mention a bigger opportunity to get sponsors, fight night bonuses, under the table discretionary bonuses and possibly even a piece of the pay-per-view pie if he was able to rack together the victories and become a must-see commodity to challenge for a championship.
Having ONE FC offer him a lucrative deal only helps his situation, when the UFC sees a performer that has a real value and could be a player in their divisional rankings they are willing to fork out a bigger chunk of change to lure them to their side.
We saw this with Bellator Fighting Championship’s and Cage Fighting Championship’s middleweight champion Hector Lombard, the Chicago-based organization was willing to have a bidding war with the top-ranked organization and in return got Lombard a much bigger deal than he would have without that.
The five-time jiu-jitsu champion has never tasted defeat at bantamweight and is definitely skilled enough to tangle with the 135-pound fighters in the UFC – Joining the Nevada-based organization will give him the opportunity to make a lot of money and prove his worth as a top-ranked bantamweight.