News of his signing was announced by Bellator Fighting Championships CEO Bjorn Rebney, who confirmed the news with MMAFighting.com today.
“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, analyzed 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 completed his contract with Bellator last fall after defeating Trevor Prangley in a 195-lbs catchweight bout at Bellator 58. The promotions first, and only middleweight title holder, went into negotiations with the Chicago based promotion but could not come to an agreement.
As time elapsed, it reached the point where the Ultimate Fighting Championship was allowed to step in to make their own offer, which Bellator could match, but it was obviously more than they were willing to pay.
Lombard will now join the top promotion in a thin division when compared to the rest of the UFC’s weight classes which feature multiple number one contenders. The Cuban born fighter will certainly make an impact with his presence and will carry a 25-fight undefeated streak into the Octagon when he makes his first appearance.
The Bellator middleweight strap will likely see Season Five middleweight tournament winner Alexander Shlemenko square off against the Season Six Tournament winner, which has yet to be determined.