UFC President Dana White‘s only comment on the Eddie Alvarez negotiations has been ‘they could get ugly’. Well ugly is right, as Bellator has made what they believe to be a matching offer to what the UFC sent Eddie’s way, and it is going to be decided by the courts as Alvarez appears to be leaning toward the UFC offer being the best deal for his future. So let’s take a look at this mess.
Bellator exec Bjorn Rebney has extended what he believes is a matching offer to the UFC’s contract. Alvarez disagrees and it will be decided by the courts.
Rebney has conducted himself in a generally professional manner at Bellator, avoiding the conflicts and ‘bull in a china shop’ bravado of White, so this stance by Bellator over Alvarez is a bit of a change for them. Maybe the new found arrogance comes from the VIACOM deal, the move to SPIKETV and the previous work done with SPIKE product TnA Wrestling to cross promote. What the UFC offers is something Bellator could never equal completely, and Rebney is being disingenuous in implying they can.
Rebney is quick to point out the cross promotions with TnA Wrestling as one of the features of their brand.
Honestly, I watch TnA Wrestling, and their in ring performers such as Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy and Austin Aries just to name a few a second to none. But TnA is not the WWE when it comes to the wrestling business. They are a smaller time production, and it shows in their attendance and ratings numbers.
Eddie has appeared on TnA broadcasts as a guest announcer in the past. It was probably fun, hanging out, watching the show, but did it improve his Q score? Let’s be realistic, it did nothing for him.
And did you see the incredible (oozing with sarcasm) cross promotion with King Mo serving as a special referee on TnA? It was directionless and in fact made Mo look bad. Keep in mind they were not competing against the UFC for King Mo, they had chopped him, but they gave him the full treatment in his contract anyway. Not a wise move, and not one that King Mo can say has done him any good.
The UFC contract uses typical vague contract language to basically dangle a carrot – a title shot on PPV against Benson Henderson with a piece of the PPV sales. So Bellator copies the vague language, and offers Alvarez a piece of any of the PPV sales they do.
Now the language may not assure Alvarez the title shot or PPV money, but the UFC has a long and prestigious track record of using just that formula to compensate their biggest stars. Bellator has never done a PPV, and frankly dont have the in cage product to warrant plunking down $50 on.
The UFC should send an addendum to the offer. The contract for the first fight, on PPV against Benson Henderson. Make it official. Rebney and Bellator may fancy doing a PPV after their initial season on SPIKETV, but they could not give Alvarez the audience and therefore the percentage that UFC can.
It is surprising that the UFC sent a lower package to Alvarez than they did to Hector Lombard, who Bellator cut loose and failed to match the UFC offer.
It would better suit the UFC to not put Alvarez into a title fight right away. he is a top name and talent and there are a lot of fights that could be made for Alvarez in what is an overall 8 fight offer. But by rushing him into the Henderson fight, the UFC can pay him in a way that Bellator cannot.
The bottom line is that Alvarez is 29 years old (today is his birthday, by the way) and in the prime of his career, his next fight is in a court, and it may be a long time before we see him in the cage again if the dispute gets protracted. Boo Bellator.