Hector Lombard is “almost definitely” on his way to the UFC.
Lombard is the middleweight champion of Bellator FC. His contract recently expired but he is still locked into a ‘match period’ clause, which gives Bellator the option to match any offer made to him by other promotions.
Last weekend Bellator was issued, via Lombard’s representatives, with a copy of the offer that the UFC has made. A source close to the situation says that the package offered by the UFC is “unviable” for Bellator to match.
Lombard is a big name on their roster, but losing him will hardly kill the promotion. There is a certain loss of face to having your champion vacate his belt to go elsewhere, but then again Bellator has never made any pretence of being a rival to the UFC’s tenure of the number one spot.
That said, Bellator did recently sign a deal with Spike TV and receive investment from Viacom. It will begin airing on Spike from January 2013, filling the space that the UFC recently vacated by making a move to FOX.
Bellator has a middleweight tournament underway at present so when - rather than if - Lombard’s departure is finalised, the two finalists may well find themselves competing for the vacant belt rather than the chance to challenge for it.