Fresh off a loss to Leandro Higo at Bellator 249 last weekend, Ricky Bandejas is once again under fire as fraudulent allegations from earlier this year have resurfaced.

The Bellator bantamweight had a good start to his 2020 with a KO win over Frans Mlambo, however not without controversy. According to documents provided to MMA Island, Bandejas was paid $1,350 in installments as part of a sponsorship deal authored by Gary Cantor, CEO of MMA Signatures. The agreed-upon contract would include that Bandejas and his team would wear the custom MMA Signatures shirts in the walkout of fight night along with the fighter completing a set list of other promotional objectives. This contract was never fulfilled according to Cantor.

Bandejas claims he did every task on his MMA Signatures contract except for one, which was him and his team wearing the provided t-shirt for the walkout to the Bellator cage in his February outing. However, Cantor refuted these claims by saying he only completed two tasks. The duet of obligations he did accomplish included signing 100 photos and his fight-worn gear against James Gallagher with his ‘John Hancock’.

The two agreements Ricky Bandejas officially completed: Signing fight-worn gear and 100 photos. Photo courtesy of MMA Signatures.

The Catone-MMA member had supposedly failed to do all of his other agreements in the said contract. One said agreement regarded posting about MMA Signatures on social media for promotion in 3 month span. However, Bandejas fell short online, only posting one day in that time period.

One of the biggest agreements in the contract which was “contingent” to the sponsorship was to represent MMA Signatures during the walkout by wearing custom t-shirts embedded with the logo to his Bellator 240 fight in February. However, this contract condition was also not completed.

Bandejas and his cornermen did not follow through on his promise even with the sponsor money already paid directly to him. In a controversial move, Bandejas did not wear the MMA Signatures t-shirt that was given to him on the way to the cage. Furthermore, his team decided to instead wear a shirt of another sponsor by the name of “Eat Clean Bro” despite contract obligations to MMA Signatures. Bandejas had ‘double-dipped’ in terms of sponsorship.

Ricky Bandejas
One of Ricky Bandejas’ autographs for MMA Signatures

“He did the autographs part, but they’re worthless.” said Cantor. “The whole point was to get the air time to advertise them, not just have them gather dust. It cost me more money to have the special edits made and print all the photos than I’ve even made selling them. So, REALLY Ricky should be paying me more than $1,000, but yes he does owe me the whole thing. It was contingent on him and his corner wearing the walkout shirts I had to pay to have customized and made.”

“Like the whole point was for him and his whole corner to walkout wearing custom shirts that I paid to have made that had our website on it too, so people would see it on TV and go to the website to buy his stuff.”

Bandejas’ team representing another sponsor, Eat Clean Bro, despite contractual agreement set with MMA Signatures.

The 28 year-old in the aftermath of the event, later explained to Cantor, that he was told to take off his shirt before walking out to the Bellator cage. Bellator 240 kicked off inside the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland with a total of 19 fights. Oddly enough out of all 38 fighters, Bandejas was the only person to not wear a shirt during walk-outs. His opponent, Frans Mlambo also sported a t-shirt while making the walk.

Post-fight, the CEO of MMA Signatures let Bandejas know he was disappointed with the fighter’s lack of promotion. The Bellator 240 victor response appeared to be apologetic.

“Hey total mistake man!” said Bandejas. “Don’t know what I was thinking, feel free to keep the rest of your money and if you want some back, I totally understand.”

“You know I would never do that intentionally.” The New Jersey native reached out, asking for an address to send his new fight-worn gear from his win over Mlambo.

Cantor then asked for only $200 back from his original contractual payment and provided an address for the agreed-upon fight kit to be sent to him. Despite apologetic claims and promises to make up for the broken agreements after the fight, the autographed memorabilia nor the $200 arrived on Cantor’s doorstep. After constant reminders to check up on his sponsored fighter, Bandejas kept pushing back deadlines and would go on to eventually block his number.

Cantor has been very vocal about his interactions and his business dealings with the Bellator star on social media. Speaking to Bandejas about the allegations, he said this:

“There are always three sides to a story… It was over a lousy 200 bucks in which I was giving him out of generosity. Going on a year now, poor guy is clearly desperate for attention.”

“On top of that, he owed me $300 which I said he can just keep. That’s all I got for you, I’m already giving this guy too much of my attention.”

Bandejas referenced the final ~$350 installment the owner of MMA Signatures was set to pay him upon receival of his autographed fight worn gear (this included the MMA Signatures walkout shirt that he didn’t wear as promised). However, the fight kit from the Frans Mlambo was never sent out as mentioned before.

“Ricky was an absolute nightmare to work with and I treat fighters really well. I feel for them. He comes off as the most innocent guy… He’s a terrible person. If you are doing business with him, he has no problem stealing from you.”

By Chris De Santiago

Founder and lead editor of MMA Island, former journalist at Asian Persuasion MMA.

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