Oh well, at least it was fun speculating while it lasted. MMA Fighting finally asked Dana White about the Royce Gracie at UFC Rio talk:
UFC president Dana White has indicated to MMA Fighting that the promotion has no interest in offering a fight to Brazilian pioneer Royce Gracie for the UFC’s upcoming August event in Rio de Janeiro, refuting previous reports that talks between the two sides could result in a Gracie return.
And in other ‘No’-related news, Scott Coker doesn’t 100% say Nick Diaz isn’t allowed to box – probably because Nick does have some sort of narrow contractual agreement that technically allows it – but it doesn’t sound like they’re going to cut Diaz the schedule slack to do it:
“That’s something where we’re going to have a conversation with Cesar and Nick,” Coker said Monday during a “Savage Dog Show” interview. “I know Nick’s always wanted to box. … We’ll see what happens in the future, but we’re expecting Nick to fight back in the cage before the end of the year. He’s going to be busy. We’re going to keep him on a busy schedule.”
Currently the top name Coker is considering is ‘T-Wood’, aka what Scott Coker and three other people call Tyron Woodley. Sure, he’s a wrestler and Nick hasn’t faced any wrestlers in a while. But having to fight a relative unknown who’s toughest opponent was Tarec Saffiedine just shows how right Diaz is about there being no real challengers to his belt.
In other negative news, Gilbert Melendez is also gonna be stuck with a meh challenger from Strikeforce:
Rumors started circling right after his fight with Kawajiri that the UFC was thinking about bringing in a title contender to face Melendez next. Names like Jim Miller started popping up right away, but it appears that fight or any cross-promotional fight won’t be Melendez’s next title defense.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker confirmed to MMAWeekly Radio that the next challenger for the 155-pound title will come internally. He mentioned a few names that could be inked to challenge for Melendez’s throne.
“We have some guys that are up-and-coming, we do some elimination fights. I think guys names like K.J. Noons; or maybe after a couple more fights a guy like Justin Wilcox, who is an amazing wrestler, could give Gilbert a hard time; or even Jorge Masvidal. There’s three guys that I think after a couple more fights could get there.”
So that’s no on Royce, no on Diaz boxing, and no on UFC fighters coming over into Strikeforce. Sad face