Former Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez is in contract limbo between the UFC and Bellator MMA.
Alavarez completed his Bellator contract in October 2011 and was then able to receive an offer from other organizations while Bellator MMA had the opportunity to match and decide if they wanted to renew their relationship with Alvarez after a waiting period was waived.
The UFC offered, Bellator MMA has matched the offer yet Alvarez is still not signed to either organization.
It appears that Alvarez is growing restless with the situation as he has taken to his Twitter account to voice that he’s not the holdup in the process and that he has no control over where he fights:
Guys its not Up to Me , Who I fight for ,Trust Me
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney went on record saying that he didn’t want to hold up Alvarez’s career and even waved a dead period so that he could get an offer from the UFC to weigh his options. It also allowed Bellator MMA to weigh their options regarding Alvarez. The catch is if they apparently have the money to match the UFC’s offer, what is the hold up on announcing whether they wish to continue their relationship or let him go to the UFC?
Bellator has been down this road before with former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard who left the promotion to sign with the UFC.
It’s a sticky situation for Bellator MMA. They are about to begin arguably the most important relationship in the company’s brief history as they began airing Bellator MMA content on Spike TV on Thursday night. It would not be good for business to lose a fighter like Eddie Alvarez to the UFC for a couple of reasons:
- He was the centerpiece and first top fighter signed by Bellator
- He would be the second top ten fighter to leave Bellator and go to the UFC in less than a year
- It would give the impression that Bellator is inferior to the UFC
All of those points overlap one another in some fashion. If Bellator isn’t able to keep the fighter they originally built everything around, what type of signal does that send to fighters on the roster? What type of signal does that send to up and coming talent that Bellator has the potential to sign? It makes it appear that the UFC is THE place to be. Now, that’s already the perception among most casual fans and fighters alike, but you certainly don’t need things you can control enforcing that perception.
However, being silent on the matter and not being hasty in their decision making certainly benefits Bellator and lessens the blow should they lose Alvarez.
Bellator has leveled the playing field a bit with their content being able to air on Spike TV. The distribution of Spike TV is comparable to UFC content on FX and FUEL TV. Also, Spike TV is the former home of the UFC who still aired UFC content on Spike in 2012(due to having rights to the UFC library) even though the UFC had moved over to FOX. So there are still casual MMA fans tuning into Spike TV for MMA content.
Bellator MMA has been smart to be silent regarding this situation with Alvarez. It’s a calculated move and Bellator certainly is playing chess here.
IF Bellator chooses to allow Alvarez to sign with the UFC it gives the impression that he was expendable. They have Michael Chandler as their Bellator lightweight champion who defeated and finished Eddie Alvarez for the title.
Choose wisely Bellator.