When I first saw another Kevin Iole article regarding Matt Lindland, I was getting ready to be pissed. I hate ‘Bring Matt back to the UFC’ articles … they ignore the simple fact that Matt Lindland will never be back in the UFC so long as he doesn’t agree to an exclusive contract. That’s something the UFC will never bend on … not for Fedor, not for Gomi, and especially not for Matt Lindland.
But upon taking a closer look, things were not what they seemed. It looks like Matt Lindland is the one approaching Dana White about coming back:
The first, albeit tiny, steps toward middleweight Matt Lindland’s return to the UFC were taken last week when Lindland spoke to UFC president Dana White.
Lindland hasn’t fought in the UFC since UFC 54 on Aug. 20, 2005. He wore a shirt bearing the logo of a sponsor not approved by UFC management and hasn’t been back.
Lindland worked the corner of Chael Sonnen in Sonnen’s unsuccessful WEC middleweight title bid against Paulo Filho last week in Las Vegas. After the bout, he said he’d spoken to White about returning to fight in the UFC.
White said he is “not sure” of whether Lindland will return. In a text message, he wrote, “He told me he wants to come back and I haven’t thought about it at all.”
Well holy shit. All of a sudden, the ball really is in the UFC’s court. Of course, I wouldn’t expect Dana White to bite too soon. Most likely he’ll hum and haw until after the Silva/Hendo fight to see if he really needs to bust the bank on another famously independant ‘troublemaker’ like Lindland. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget that Lindland’s still tied up with the IFL. If Dana White was willing to torpedo Ken Shamrock over that, don’t think he’ll let it slide with Matt.
But there is one thing for sure … Lindland extending the olive branch definately does change the equation. People like me can no longer claim it’s all Landland’s fault that he’s not in the UFC.