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Gilbert Melendez: I'm not a millionaire, but the UFC offer I got was fair and I'm happy

He may not be on the Forbes list just yet, but with pay-per-view (PPV) points being a big part of his new contract and with a lightweight title fight looming against Anthony Pettis, "El Nino" will likely be in for big paydays down the road.


Gilbert Melendez put an end to his free agency when he decided to renew his relationship with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), signing a fight contract to compete inside the Octagon for what "El Nino" says could be the rest of his combat sports career.

This, after the former Strikeforce lightweight champion had already come to terms with Bellator MMA.

But after UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta took over contract negotiations, he gave Melendez an offer he couldn't refuse, which consisted of a coaching slot on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 20 opposite lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.

Shortly thereafter, "El Nino" and "Showtime" will fight for the 155-pound title.

After some of the details of Gilbert's new deal surfaced (see them here), many believed he had hit millionaire status, seeing as how pay-per-view (PPV) points were a big part of the equations. But according to Melendez, that's not necessarily true, but the deal he received is very fair and could lead to some hefty paydays.

He broke it down on a recent appearance on The MMA Hour:

"I feel like I got a fair offer. I'm very happy. I think it's fair and I think I've earned this and I think I'm a smart fighter. Everyone thinks I'm this millionaire or something now, but that's not the case. Things can go well and I feel like it's a very fair deal. I think I did well for myself and my team, we played it smart. I didn't try to go crazy on it. I got job security and I'm happy with it all. I think it's a great deal and I think it's fair."

While Melendez declared UFC was the only company he wanted to fight for, he did reveal that he was ready to make the jump over to Bellator, but a conversation with Fertitta changed his mind.

He explains:

"I felt like I was choosing my own adventure. Going into this, I was serious, I was ready to make the jump (to Bellator) and I was going to make the best out of it and succeed either way, in my mind. You do go back and forth, and, where I'm at right now, I'm completely happy. I'm fighting for the belt, I'm doing the TV show and I'm in the UFC. I'm very stoked on that. Once I had that conversation with Lorenzo, I was very happy to be a part of the UFC. It's the best platform out there, it's great to be here and to finally be somewhere where I can call a home to where I think will be the rest of my career."

TUF 20 -- which features the introduction of the new women's strawweight division -- is scheduled to begin filming in late May or early June of this year with the title fight between Pettis and Melendez going down in the latter part of 2014.

A bout that could prove to be a big payday for "El Nino" seeing as how it will potentially be the headlining bout to a massive UFC year-end PPV event.

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