http://www.mmafighting.com/ufc/2012/4/2 ... -ufc-bound
Apr 24, 2012 - World-ranked middleweight Hector Lombard will leave his longtime home at Bellator and sign with the UFC.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney confirmed the move to MMA Fighting on Tuesday afternoon.
Bellator had a right to match the UFC's offer to the man who was their reigning middleweight champion, but Rebney cited differences between the two organizational models as the obstacle that could not be overcome when it came to matching the UFC's deal.
"We have a business model where we make decisions based on analyzing data," he said. "Since the first day we came into being, we made decisions based on real models, not hypotheticals. The UFC model is largely based on pay-per-view, and the offer they made to Hector is going to be monetized via pay-per-view. While pay-per-view could play a role in our future, today it doesn't. So, we did our due diligence to review the UFC contract, analyze it in terms of charging our audience to see Hector vs. putting him on free TV, and we decided to allow the UFC to sign Hector, where I am extremely confident he will win the UFC middleweight title on pay-per-view."
Lombard, along with former lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez, were the first two fighters Rebney signed when he began the promotion in 2008.
He went 8-0 with seven knockouts during his run in Bellator, capturing his championship in June 2009 with a fourth-round TKO of Jared Hess. He also successfully defended the belt in a unanimous decision win over Alexander Shlemenko, the only time in his last eight fights his opponent made it to the judges' scorecards.
"He was a great fighter here, and there's no doubt in my mind he'll be a great fighter when he goes to the UFC," Rebney said. "I've said for a long time he's the best middleweight in the world, and I think he'll win the UFC title in short order."