Former Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez made some bold statements earlier this week regarding the Bellator MMA promotion that he’s currently battling in court. Alvarez told Ariel Helwani on “The MMA Hour” that he believes Viacom and Spike TV are now pretty much running Bellator, not Bjorn Rebney.
He believes Rebney may have some say so on things, but ultimately most of the power is now with Viacom/Spike TV. He also stated that Bellator tried to change his contract on the sneak tip by sending him and his management two different contracts.
However, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney wasted no time in firing back at Alvarez saying he was making false statements, while also making it clear that his ultimate goal is to overtake the UFC as the number one MMA organization in the world:
Ed’s made a series of statements about Bellator and Spike over the last few weeks that are completely untrue. You know, it bothers me – for as hard as this company works, and as much as Spike has meant to mixed martial arts and mixed martial artists, and providing the revenue, the ability and the platform for so many fighters to earn a great living in this space – for Ed to make the kind of statements he’s been making about Bellator, Spike, and Viacom, is offensive. And they’re untrue statements.
When you sign a contract with an organization like ours, or any of the other top organizations, of which there is only one, the UFC – the expectation is that you’re going to honor that contract. We didn’t get into this industry nor are we in this industry to be a developmental program for anybody. We didn’t get into it to be a stepping stone. We got into it to be the #1 mixed martial arts organization in the world. And in 4 years, we’ve gone from being #6 to #2. The intent was never to be #2.
Ed, for some reason, either through his own accord or at the direction of third parties, has literally started making false statement after false statement after false statement about Bellator. So, at this point, we’re not going to be in a position to settle until such time as Ed stops making false statements and admits those statements were false, we’re not going to sit down and discuss a settlement with him. It’s just not going to happen.
So there you have it. Emphasis mine:
If there’s no settlement between the two parties then it’ll go to trial. Which basically means that Bellator will drag this out as long as they can, and bleed Alvarez monetarily which could ultimately force him to negotiate a settlement. It’ll be similar to the Randy Couture/UFC feud a few years back. Alvarez has already had to sell some financial property to use as income since he’s currently not fighting. It’s pretty clear that Rebney and company are taking Alvarez’s accusations personally, and will probably look to make an example out of him if possible.
The other interesting note is Rebney’s stance towards the UFC. This may be the first time that he’s openly implied that he wants to compete with the UFC. In the early days he would avoid making such statements regarding not being a stepping stone of sorts for fighters trying to get to the UFC. However, now that he has financial backing from Viacom, things could get interesting in the next five to 10 years if Viacom is clearly behind the sport of MMA.