The UFC bolstered its bantamweight division recently with the signing of Bibiano Fernandes (11-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC).
There was just one one problem, though. According to Fernandes, he never signed with the promotion.
Fernandes, according to UFC.com, was expected to face Roland Delorme next month at UFC 149 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. But the promotion recently removed Fernandes from that bout on the site – though as of late Tuesday morning, a fighter profile page for him still exists there.
"I would like to make perfectly clear the news concerning my involvement with the UFC," Fernandes said in a statement on his Facebook page. "It was announced that I, Bibiano Fernandes have been contracted to fight for the organization at UFC 149 which will take place in the city of Calgary on the 21st of July. I would like to make it clear that I am not a UFC athlete as I did not sign any contract with the UFC organization."
Fernandes, the former DREAM featherweight champion and current DREAM bantamweight champ, did not deny being in negotiations with the UFC – but said talks came to an impasse.
"Negotiations between the UFC and myself did take place; however, we could not resolve the issues on the table and as a result we did not come to an agreement," Fernandes stated. "The recent reports that have been circulating in the media are false, contrary to what is being said, I am not a UFC athlete."
Bill Mahood, Fernandes' representative with the BCMMAA management firm, on Tuesday told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) he could not comment beyond Fernandes' Facebook statement. He said he had not spoken to the fighter since before the statement was posted.
Fernandes, in the statement, alluded to a possible disagreement over the financial terms in his negotiations with the UFC, though he didn't elaborate with specific numbers. But he didn't rule out signing with the UFC in the future.
"I did not find the terms set before me by the UFC beneficial to my family and as a result an agreement could not be reached and no contract was signed," Fernandes stated. "It should be noted that the UFC is the largest MMA organization in the world however, my personal and professional obligations have brought me to the decision that I will not be a part of the UFC organization at this point in time. The day that an agreement is reached and the terms set forth are beneficial to both parties involved, I will have the most pleasure and satisfaction to fight for the organization while always representing my beloved country."
The Brazilian-born Fernandes now lives and trains in Canada. But he has fought exclusively in Japan since 2009. In 2009, he won the DREAM featherweight tournament and title, submitting Joe Warren in just 42 seconds in the semifinals before taking a split decision later the same night against Hiroyuki Takaya. He defended that title with a win over Joachim Hansen in 2010 before losing it to Takaya in a rematch.
Fernandes then dropped to bantamweight and beat Antonio Banuelos this past December to win the DREAM bantamweight tournament and belt. He is widely considered to be one of the top-10 bantamweights in the world.