GILBERT MELENDEZ TO BE REPLACED BY CLAY FRENCH
11/06/2006

Gilbert Melendez has pulled out of his Nov 4th Pride Bushido show vs. Shinya Aoki with a reputed bursa sack (knee) and possible ligament and tendon damage in his elbow. His replacement, CLAY FRENCH (8 wins-1 loss)is on his way to Japan to make his debut in BUSHIDO.


"With my objection and due to my doctor's and manager's insistence, I have pulled out of my fight with Shinya Aoki, set for Bushido 13. I ruptured an infected bursa sac on my left elbow and am unable to extend my left arm, even after getting it drained multiple times. I am scheduled to get an MRI after more of the swelling goes down as my doctor suspects I may have ligament and tendon damage. This predicament and absolutely no other reason (so unfounded rumors and speculation can end), is why I am not fighting on Nov. 5. With PRIDE's understanding, I was forced to withdraw and they have found a replacement for me. I'm relieved that at least, MMA fans will still be able to watch Aoki fight.

I have been preparing intensely for this fight and have been looking forward to making my first appearance on PPV for a long, long time. This fight would have been a landmark in my career. I am at a loss for words to express my disappointment and frustration. Most of all, I am sorry for disappointing the MMA fans, my supporters, PRIDE and Aoki. I have expressed to PRIDE my desire to reschedule a match-up with Aoki as soon as I am able.