Hector Lombard Could Be a Free Agent This Spring
Hector Lombard’s contract is up and he could be hitting free agency. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney has confirmed that Lombard’s contract is expired and that the fighter is in an exclusive negotiation period with Bellator. According to a source close to the talks, lawyers are negotiation with the exclusive period drawing to a close in April. Once that expires, Lombard enters a matching period where he can take other offers, with Bellator getting the opportunity to match the offer within 30 days. The length of the matching period is in question, though it is known that Bellator gets only one opportunity to match a particular offer.
Lombard is already being looked at by Dana White, who said while he was in Sydney that he’s been hearing a lot about the fighter. “I guess he’s pretty popular down here,” White said. “I hear he’s under contract though with someone else, so we’ll see. I’ll probably end up with him. If he wants to fight in the UFC, then we’ll probably end up with him.”
Lombard’s manager Monte Cox said, “I’ve had lots of guys go from other organizations into the UFC. I’ve never been in a position where the organization we’re leaving really has the money to compete with the UFC. So that’s what makes this so interesting. If Bellator really wants these guys – and I’m sure they would like to keep them – that puts the UFC in a tough position. Because if they offer up something that’s average, Bellator certainly will match it. I’m interested from a manager’s perspective on what kind of offer the UFC will make to get these guys that Bellator can’t match.”
Cox also added, “It’s a tough deal for the UFC. They can’t just open up the bank. At some point, they could choose to just offer a pretty good chunk and force Bellator to pay it, almost driving up the price.”
Rebney spoke about the negotiations, saying, “I think he’s the best middleweight in the world. We’re trying to work dynamics with him (and) see if we can put a deal together. If we can’t put a deal together, he’ll be able to go out to the open market and talk to the UFC, and if he gets an offer, we have the right to match it. So it’s going to come down to a business decision for him. He’s a tremendous, tremendously talented athlete. He’s at his peak; he’s at his prime. As a fan with my CEO hat off, I think Hector Lombard is the best middleweight in mixed martial arts. So we would obviously like to have him continue to fight here, and if we’re not able to come to an agreement, he’ll go and get other offers and then we’ll make a decision whether we’re going to match those offers or let him go.”