Bellator Scores A Win Against The UFC

Wow.

Normally, a monster corporate beast like the UFC simply consumes all around them. Winning, as Charlie Sheen would say.

Over the last number of years, the UFC has pilfered top talent from its competition with regularity – the promise of better competition, better pay (via PPV sharing), and publicity are too much for fighters.

Eddie Alvarez, former Bellator lightweight champion, was one of those fighters. With his contract expiring last year, he had his mind set on departing the promotion for the green (albeit, bloody) pastures of the UFC’s deepest division. That is until Bjorn Rebney dropped a a poison pill in the water.

Rebney essentially used the language of the expiring deal called a matching provision that provided Bellator with the right to match all the material terms of a deal offered by another promotion.

As Rebney explained it to Brian Hemminger and Matt Bishop during an appearance on Bloody Elbow Radio earlier this year, “…we literally took the UFC contract, took it out of a PDF format and we changed the UFC name to Bellator and we signed it and we sent it back to Ed.”

Soon after, lawsuits were filed and Alvarez has not fought since. His legal options were short and he was forced to concede in August to the terms of a new deal with Bellator. While Alvarez is surely unhappy (also known as infuriated), this was an ugly situation waiting to happen. Bellator is trying to prove it won’t be pushed around by the UFC, and since its takeover by Viacom, it wants to prove a viable competitor. Alvarez surely had to know this. Bellator was not likely to let him walk without a fight.

Now with the Ortiz v. Jackson fight dead, Alvarez will tangle with Michael Chandler for the belt on Spike TV this Saturday. In what amounts to a ‘save the card’ -type fight, Alvarez can get paid nicely and maybe win a title. Presumably, he’ll also ponder to himself whether or not to stick in the knife now that Rebney needs him more than ever. Who knows? That would be fun to watch.

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