Two months before UFC lightweight Melvin Guillard announced via Twitter that he was returning to Team Jackson-Winkeljohn in Albuquerque, N.M., the gym’s leaders voted to keep him from doing so.
Guillard (30-12-2 MMA, 11-7 UFC) had inquired about a potential reunion through former teammates, who then passed word to the gym’s administration. The vote was unanimous.
“The Young Assassin” had angered the team in interviews he gave about a move this past year to Florida’s “Blackzilians” team, a source close to the MMA team told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
Adding to concerns, Guillard has two outstanding assault charges against him from separate incidents in Albuquerque in 2010, records show.
So when the fighter sent his tweet on Sunday – “Im no longer a blackzillian I went back to where I belong Jackson’s,” he wrote – the team was caught off guard.
“He’s not allowed back here,” said the source, who asked for anonymity given the sensitive nature of the talks and the team’s history with the fighter.
Guillard was unreachable for comment, and his last known management firm, Authentic Sports Management, refused to confirm whether he is still a client.
According to Bernalillo County (N.M.) court records, Guillard currently faces five charges: two misdemeanor counts of aggravated battery, to which he pled not guilty. Three misdemeanor counts of failure to appear in court were settled. A jury trial on the assault charges is set for April 10, where he faces six months in jail for each count, in addition to fines and probation.
Guillard, who burst onto the UFC scene as a cast member of “The Ultimate Fighter 2,” most recently appeared at UFC 155, where he lost a split decision to Jamie Varner. The loss put him at 1-4 in his past five outings, which followed a five-fight win streak that had him on a short list of contenders in the 155-pound division.
Despite his recent skid, Guillard is still considered among the best lightweights in the world. He boasts 19 wins by way of knockout.
UFC President Dana White repeatedly has praised the fighter’s skill while expressing frustration at his issues outside the cage.
“I’ve known Melvin for a long time, since ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ and I always thought he was a very talented guy and just never lived up to his potential,” White said. “He was out there not doing all the right things to become the great fighter that he had the potential to be.”
The move to Florida was touted by Guillard as a step toward revitalizing his career. Whether he remains there or finds another home is unknown.
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