Highly regarded as one of the top middleweight fighters in the world, but not having fought anywhere in nearly a year, Matt Lindland on Friday confirmed to MMAWeekly.com that he has just signed a contract with a new fight promotion.
He dispelled rumors that he had signed with the new Dream promotion in Japan, saying, “I've never talked to them. I actually did sign a contract (Friday) with another company, though.”
Dream is a partnership between Fight Entertainment Group (the parent company of K-1) and former staff members of Dreamstage Entertainment (the former parent company of Pride Fighting Championships).
Because of the sensitive nature of the promotion he has signed with, Lindland stopped short of saying who the new company is.
"I'm kind of holding off. I sent an email saying, 'when can we make announcements?' I can tell you I signed a very nice contract for three fights within the next twelve months,” he informed.
"June is supposed to be the first event and then from June (2008) until June (2009) I'll have at least three fights. I know it's been from April of last year (since I last fought). It's almost like I went into retirement or something."
Although he has experimented with other weight divisions in the past – losing a decision to current UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson and being submitted by former Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko in their respective weight classes – Lindland said that his three fights for the new American-based promotion would be at middleweight.
Despite lots of talk about a possible return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Lindland is happy with his new contract, especially monetarily.
"Everybody makes a big deal about not fighting in the UFC. I can tell you, I signed a contract and my first fight I'm going to make more than I made in like six fights in the UFC,” he stated. "The most I ever made in the UFC with the win bonus and the show money was $36,000. "
Though Lindland would not divulge his new employer’s identity, multiple MMAWeekly sources have confirmed that Affliction – a popular clothing company – is a primary partner in the deal. Sources also indicated that Affliction’s partner in the new promotion is Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions.
It is not yet known under what name the new promotion will operate, but indications are that its first event will take place in June in Las Vegas.