Over a Million Dollars into His Deal, Is Hector Lombard Close to the Cut Line?

Damon MartinContributor IMarch 14, 2013

Jul 21, 2012; Calgary, AB, CANADA; Hector Lombard and Tim Boetsch (not pictured) prior to the middleweight bout of UFC 149 at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

In the world of major free-agent signings in MMA, the UFC landing Hector Lombard was supposed to be a landmark deal, as the champion from Bellator jumped ship to sign with another organization while still holding the title.

The deal Lombard signed reportedly paid him a $400,000 signing bonus, along with a $300,000 per fight starting purse along with points earned via pay-per-view bonuses.  The cost for Bellator to match those numbers was just too high, and ultimately Lombard inked a deal with the UFC.

Coming into the UFC, Lombard was riding an incredible 24-fight win streak while also capturing and defending the Bellator middleweight title.  Since joining the promotion, however, Lombard has fallen on much harder times.

His debut fight at UFC 149 was anything but impressive as Lombard dropped a split decision to Tim Boetsch.  He bounced back with a vicious performance to knock out Brazilian submission specialist Rousimar Palhares last December, but then he could not overcome the takedowns and ground control of middleweight contender Yushin Okami in his last fight at UFC on Fuel 8 in Japan.

If the numbers reported in his initial deal were correct, the UFC has spent upwards of more than $1 million on Lombard, and thus far he's produced a 1-2 record overall. 

UFC president Dana White isn't ready to give up on Lombard yet, however, and says that in this game sometimes there are going to be risks involved in signing a fighter from another promotion and the results can vary once they face the stiff competition in the Octagon.

"You can't ever look at a guy as a mistake," White said about Lombard when speaking to the media on Thursday.   "If a guy gets to a certain level and you bring him in, and just because you were great in all these other shows.  Like when people try to compare all these other shows to the UFC, it's like you might be great in all these other shows, but when you fight here, you never know how great or not great a guy is going to be."

White didn't say if there was any chance Lombard would potentially be released or is at risk of losing his job should he lose his next fight, but it's hard to ignore the contract numbers if he can't come away with a victory to bump his record to 2-2 overall in the UFC.

Lombard's next fight has not been scheduled yet, but all signs are pointing toward him at least getting one more shot to prove himself in the UFC.  Who he faces and how he performs will likely seal the deal on his future with the promotion.

Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report, and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.