MMA: Lesnar-WWE, Melendez-Masvidal, Lashley's Fight and the Week's Biggest News
Brock Lesnar - Rob Tatum/Bleacher Report
After a string of four straight weekends with UFC events, the MMA world finally got a chance to catch its collective breath over the past week.
That certainly didn't mean things were quiet on all fronts, however.
A former UFC champion signed a new deal with his former employer, but not for what you might think. Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez's next fight will not be for the UFC. And Shark Fights' newest heavyweight, Bobby Lashley, now has an opponent for his promotional debut.
Rob Tatum is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. You can also find Rob’s work at TheMMACorner.com. For anything related to MMA, you can follow Rob on Twitter @RobTatumMMA.
Brock Lesnar Inks WWE Licensing Deal ; Won't Wrestle While Under UFC Contract
Despite rumors floating around by non-MMA media outlets, UFC President Dana White made it clear that as long as former heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar is under contract, he won't be wrestling in the WWE.
The former WWE superstar dubbed "The Next Big Thing" transitioned to MMA in 2007 and earned the championship in only his fourth professional fight.
Lesnar has battled health issues for the past two years. White let it be known that while he supports Lesnar marketing his brand, he will not allow him to wrestle.
Source: Fighters Only
Gilbert Melendez Defends Strikeforce Belt Against Jorge Masvidal on Dec. 17
Valerie Macon/Getty Images
Just last week, there was speculation that current Strikeforce lightweight kingpin Gilbert "El Nino" Melendez would be heading to the UFC very soon.
It looks like that may have been premature. Melendez will defend his belt on Dec. 17 against Jorge Masvidal. The event was made official this week and will take place in San Diego.
The news does not rule out Melendez's eventual transition to Zuffa's other promotion, but will at least delay it until some time in 2012.
Bobbly Lashley Faces Darrill Schoonover at Shark Fights 21
Bobby Lashley - Esther Lin/Showtime
Former WWE entertainer turned fighter Bobby Lashley now has an opponent for his Shark Fights debut.
Lashley will take on Ultimate Fighter alum Darrill Schoonover on Nov. 11. The fight will be for the promotion's heavyweight belt.
Shark Fights 21 will take place at the Fair Park Coliseum in Lubbock, Texas. The event airs tape-delayed on Fuel TV on Dec. 23.
Eddie Alvarez Takes on Michael Chandler at Bellator 58
The delayed Bellator lightweight title showdown between champ Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler will take place Nov. 19 at Bellator 58.
Chandler earned a title shot by winning the Season 4 Lightweight Tournament over Brazilian Patricky Freire in May.
The pair were expected to meet at Bellator 54, but an injury to Alvarez forced the bout to be moved back until the November date. The fight will air live on MTV2 from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Tim Kennedy Headed to the UFC?
Tim Kennedy - MMAFrenzy
Middleweight Tim Kennedy is likely headed for the UFC.
The former Strikeforce title challenger announced on his Facebook page that the UFC was his employer. Later, a profile page for the fighter appeared on the UFC's website.
However, neither Kennedy's camp or the promotion have confirmed the transition and the profile has since been removed from the UFC site.
KJ Noons Returns to Action Against Billy Evangelista
KJ Noons (L)
Former EliteXC champ and Strikeforce title challenger KJ Noons will face off with Billy Evangelista on Dec. 17.
The two lightweight fighters were both defeated by current No. 1 contender Jorge Masvidal in their most recent bouts.
The fight will take place from the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. The main card will air on Showtime and the preliminary card will air on HDNet.
UFC Returns to 10 P.M. EST Time Slot for Pay-Per-View Events
Victor Decolongon/Getty Images
After less than a year of broadcasting pay-per-view events at 9 p.m. EST, the UFC will return to its previous time slot of 10 p.m. EST starting with UFC 141.
The promotion began the earlier start time with UFC 129 on April 30. Reduced numbers are said to the be reason for switching back to the later start time.
UFC 141 takes place on Friday, Dec. 30, from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Anderson Silva to Grace UFC Undisputed 3 Cover
Following a fan vote on the game's website, the cover athlete for the UFC's third installment of "Undisputed" will be middleweight champ Anderson Silva.
The Brazilian, who holds an undefeated record inside the promotion, beat out fellow champs Frankie Edgar, Jon Jones, Georges St-Pierre and Cain Velasquez.
The game is expected to be released in January of 2012 through THQ.
Din Thomas Injured in Car Accident on Way to Headlining Fight
Din Thomas - Dave Mandel/Sherdog
American Top Team fighter Din Thomas was slated to headline "Fight Time 7: The Return of Din Thomas" on Oct. 7, but was injured in a car accident en route to the event.
The former UFC competitor was scheduled to face M-1 veteran George Sheppard at the event, which took place at the War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The accident was serious enough that Thomas was sent to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Kenny Florian Undecided on Fighting Future
Kenny Florian (R) - Josh Hedges/Zuffa, LLC
Multiple-time UFC title challenger Kenny Florian has decided to take a break to contemplate his future following his defeat to Jose Aldo at UFC 136 on Oct. 8.
The loss marked the third failed attempt at UFC gold for the Boston-based fighter. Now competing at featherweight, the Ultimate Fighter veteran has competed in four separate weight classes within the promotion.
Florian stated a desire to rest, spend time with family and friends, and then evaluate his options.