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Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez reportedly out of January title-defense

In what has become a far too familiar tune, it looks like Strikeforce has lost a headlining fighter due to injury in the form of lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez. “El Nino” has apparently withdrawn from a scheduled defense against Pat Healy on January 12 after suffering some sort of affliction while training for the tilt. Melendez also withdrew from a September match-up with Healy for similar reasons, though it is unknown if his current status is related to the same situation with his shoulder or something else.

UFC President Dana White first hinted at the possibility of Melendez pulling out during a talk with fans in Montreal for UFC 154. The news has since been confirmed by TATAME who spoke to Melendez’s coach, Cesar Gracie.

Gracie also stated he expected Melendez to move to the UFC with the end of Strikeforce seemingly in sight.

No statement has been offered by Strikeforce officials or Melendez himself.