One has the choice of taking a low road or a high road when being fired. In the case of former UFC lightweight Melvin Guillard, he took the latter.
In Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Guillard said he was at peace with the UFC’s decision to cut him after nine years with the promotion. “For me, honestly, I thought it was the best thing that could happen to me at this point in my career,” he said. “I was actually happy because I felt like I could sign with another company, and that company is gonna pay me way more than I make with UFC.”
Guillard was released last week following a unanimous decision loss to Michael Johnson at UFC Fight Night 37. A cast member on The Ultimate Fighter 2, “The Young Assassin” holds a 13-9 record in the UFC with notable victories over Mac Danzig and Jeremy Stephens. Still, Guillard believes that his future rests outside of the Octagon.
“I’m not upset with the UFC. I’ve still got love for Dana (White) and Lorenzo (Fertitta) and Joe (Silva),” Guillard said. “One day I might go back to the UFC. But right now, I want to explore my options. I want to go somewhere else. For me to be in the UFC for nine years and not even break the 50/50 mark in pay, that’s like working at a Fortune 500 and not getting a promotion at all.”
He went on to say that White suggested three-to-four fights elsewhere before coming back; a route Guillard would rather not take. Given his track record, Guillard will likely find the promotion he seeks with Bellator or World Series of Fighting, both looking for recognizable mixed martial artists. Another possibility is Russia-based promotion Legends who will court the fighter next week.
Whichever organization signs Guillard will have to take his questionable past into account. Following an April 2007 loss to Joe Stevenson, Guillard’s pre-fight urine sample revealed traces of cocaine. He was suspended for eight months and fined $2,100 by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Last March, it was revealed that Guillard left Jackson MMA due to multiple assault charges. He avoided jail time but is under supervised probation through June 2015.
Whether the issues affect past performances isn’t of Guillard’s concern anymore. In the end, he sees a profitable future ahead. “Right now I feel like a real professional athlete. I’m a free agent. So whoever brings the money, whoever is talking money, they can talk to me.”