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Morning Report: Chris Weidman nearly signed with Bellator before last-second contract controversy

Chris Weidman is slated to challenge for Anderson Silva’s title at UFC 162. It’s a stunning accomplishment for a fighter who picked up the game less than five years ago. But in an alternate universe, one without his uncle’s caution, things could’ve gone quite differently. According to a new report from the New York Post, Weidman nearly signed a multi-fight contract with fledgling Bellator Fighting Championships back in 2010. Actually, nearly is an understatement. Back then Weidman was just a 26-year-old broke as a joke prospect hoping to make enough coin to pay his bills, and Bellator had the best offer. As the story goes, Weidman had the contract in hand, ready to sign, with a dinner reservation for his family at Bryant & Cooper Steakhouse booked to celebrate. It was a happy moment; vindication for a risky decision. But fate works in strange ways. Weidman’s uncle is a lawyer, who at the last second asked to peruse the document one last time, just in case he missed anything. And that’s when he saw it. According to Weidman, Bellator officials promised the contract would be a two-year deal. What Weidman’s uncle discovered, however, was a tucked away clause that potentially extended the contract’s life to anywhere from three to four years, depending on certain circumstances. I felt like I was betrayed by them, Weidman said to the New York Post. … They never told me that. It was a little sneaky. I was so upset. I was so let down. I was excited to go to Bellator. You already know how the rest of this story goes. Weidman spurned Bellator’s offer, and soon after made his UFC debut as a late replacement for the injured Rafael Natal. Had Weidman put pen to paper, he likely could’ve found himself stuck in a similar situation as Eddie Alvarez, struggling to break away from Bellator’s legal grasp as their middleweight champion. Everything happens for a reason, Weidman concluded. Thank God I took my time and didn’t just rush into it. 8 MUST-READ STORIES Weidman recounts Bellator experience. According to a report from the New York Post, UFC middleweight contender Chris Weidman nearly signed a longterm deal with Bellator in 2010 before a last-second contract dispute sunk the deal. Barnett signs. After months of contract negotiations, top-10 heavyweight Josh Barnett inked a multi-fight contract with the UFC. USA Today first reported the news. Mousasi wants Belfort at 185. Gegard Mousasi is currently rehabbing his injured knee, but when he returns, the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion wants to fight Vitor Belfort or another top-3 contender at middleweight. Bad to worse for Atchley. A day after WMMA pioneer Tara LaRosa accused Addison Sports Management president Brett Atchley of gross misconduct, the floodgates broke open as a slew of female fighters backed LaRosa’s claims. Bellator bookings. Undefeated Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren is expected to defend his title against season seven tournament winner Andrey Koreshkov in the main event of Bellator 97. Season eight welterweight tournament finalists Douglas Lima and Ben Saunders are also scheduled to battle on the night’s main card. Hall leaves Tiger Schulmann’s. TUF 17 prospect Uriah Hall relocated from Tiger Schulmann’s fight gym to Mark Munoz’s Reign MMA in Orange County, California. Barao officially out, Nelson in. UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao officially withdrew from his upcoming title defense against Eddie Wineland at UFC 161 due to torn ligaments in his foot. As such, UFC officials upgraded Dan Henderson vs. Rashad Evans to the main event, plus booked a heavyweight bout between Roy Nelson and Stipe Miocic for the pay-per-view card. Rosenthal update. The sentencing date of MMA referee Josh Rosenthal has been shifted to July 2, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. in Oakland, California. Rosenthal pled guilty to federal drug trafficking charges in January after agents discovered over 1300 marijuana plants valued at $6 million during a raid of a facility co-owned by Rosenthal. MEDIA STEW Choking out your girlfriend one second, proposing to her the next. Welcome to the romantic side of MMA. (HT: BigLeadSports) Three quick takeaways from Dana’s latest vlog: 1.) I don’t know why, but Chael’s little somersault at 5:10 surprised the hell out of me, 2.) Dana and Joe Silva’s collective ‘just saw a car crash’ expression as they first noticed Jones’ toe is classic, and, 3.) Michael Bisping, man of the people: Let’s get the f–k out of here, I’m getting f–king drunk. The latest from Metamoris 2: Props to New York Ric, who couldn’t be more excited for Metamoris 2 if he tried. Even with a handful of title defenses under his belt, Benson Henderson can’t escape the Showtime Kick. You just knew the Gracie brothers wouldn’t be able to stay away from Jacare’s slick UFC debut. Fightland’s latest profile subject: Ottavia Bourdain, wife of the Travel Channel’s Anthony Bourdain. THREE DAYS LATER To all my fans and to all the reporters that was there on the after…

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