The UFC vs Bellator: The Case of Eddie Alvarez
This week, the drama barometer was raised in the case of free agent MMA Lightweight Eddie Alvarez and his former promoter, Bellator. Bellator boss Bjorn Rebney was on the air with the ‘Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour’ when Alvarez called in asking to talk to Bjorn on the air. Bjorn refused, instead offering to set up a private meeting. Alvarez wanted to talk, and came on the air after Rebney was off, and he made statements such as ‘Bellator told bold face lies’, leading the public to speculate about whether this issue has an easy resolution or not. So when are we going to get to bet on Eddie Alvarez, or against him if your not a fan? Looks like it could be a long time.
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The two parties are in the court system. By Rebney’s own admission, he took the UFC’s contract and substituted the company names, (Bellator for FOX, Spike for FOX, PPV is PPV), therefore the contract is matched word for word. Alvarez’s argument is that the two are not equal at the end of the day in terms of money in his bank account. Not by a long shot.
Rebney’s interpretation that ‘cutting and pasting’ indicates they have matched the contract’s obligations ignores several big factors. The big factor is that Bellator could do a PPV, they have been around long enough. But they never have. Offering Alvarez the same percentage as the UFC on a PPV is a complete game of shells. What does it say when Rebney, a lawyer, is hiring a lawyer?
The fact is that Bellator could put on a PPV with relative ease. What Bellator can in no way assure alvarez is that they will reach the threshold of PPV sales that the UFC does, and they have no past history at all to fall back on. Companies that are not UFC that have put on MMA PPVs have done unbelievably low numbers.
with the UFC, Alvarez was offered a co-main event spot with a proven PPV star as the main event. Eddie Alvarez versus Michael Chandler on PPV? Bellator is nice free watching, but they have not invested nearly enough in the promotion needed for real PPV numbers. No one is going to plunk down $50 for Chandler Alvarez, especailly when only a few hundred thousand people saw the original fight live.
Alvarez said it in the same interview. ‘I don’t want to sit out. I’ve been sitting for three months, I just want to fight’.
As long as Rebney insists on the fallacy and the fantasy that Bellator is equal to UFC and continues to try and work this contract instad of doing the right thing and letting Alvarez go, tha tis exactly what is going to happen. Alvarez will sit and wait out the year, losing a year in his prime. thanks Bjorn.