Eddie Alvarez took to The MMA Hour on Monday to share his side of the well-covered legal dispute between the fighter and Bellator FC parent company, Viacom.
Essentially, the dispute comes from contract disputes. Last year, the UFC offered Alvarez a contract that included a title shot and pay-per-view slots. Bellator argued that their contract matched these offers, but Alvarez and his camp disagreed. Both Bellator and Alvarez, then, filed suit.
In his appearance on The MMA Hour, Alvarez recounted the build-up to his current predicament.
“What I was willing to settle on, believe me, was nothing compared to what I would have gotten in the UFC… [Bellator] want[s] me and Mike Chandler. But they want me and Mike Chandler for nothing. They want it for free… I was offered a [Georges St. Pierre] card and a Chael Sonnen card. In your professional opinion, do you think me and Mike Chandler would sell the same amount of PPVs?”
“When the UFC sent their contract offer over to fight their champion, Ben Henderson, Bellator right away changed structure of their whole organization. Now you don’t have to go into a tournament to fight a champion. Was that just a coincidence or was it because the UFC put it in my contract that I got to fight their champion?… I’ve been asking for the rematch since the fight happened, to fight Mike Chandler… They said no, no, no, I had to go through the tournament, you had to go to the tournament first.”
In terms of the current legal case, Alvarez is claiming that Bellator changed the contract when they released him. The change is subtle, holding Bellator to an obligation of matching “all material terms” of a competing contract instead of the earlier language of matching, more simply, “all terms.”
Alvarez says the new language offers Bellator a way out of matching the benefits of pay-per-view and FOX exposure and money for his own career.
“They can’t match FOX, they can’t match pay-per-view, they can’t match the opportunity and the money I was going to be given. They can’t or else they would have never had to change it… They sent the new [clause] to my management, but they sent the old one to me that said ‘all terms.’ You can’t change the contract in the middle of the contract. If you’re playing unfair, you’re playing unfair. I’m trying to play by the rules. They’re lying to the judge, they’re changing the contract, I can’t play that game. They’re not leaving me any choice. If they’re going to kick me in the balls, eventually I’m going to kick them in the balls back.”
Perhaps most telling is Alvarez’s realization that he is merely a pawn in a battle between the two larger companies, Viacom representing Bellator and Zuffa representing the UFC.
“I’m trying to do everything the right way,” said Alvarez, “and it seems like for Spike and Viacom, they are getting in the way. I believe they had every intention of doing this anyway. It becomes clear to me that they had every intention of blocking me from going to UFC from the very beginning.
“Pardon my French, this is a big d*ck-swinging contest between two big companies. I have nothing to do with it.”
Ultimately, Alvarez is a fighter; and all he is looking to do is continue to work and get paid. When all the legal issues are in the past, he said that he would still work for Bellator if it comes to that.
“If they’re all the same, you work for the person who’s paying you the most. You work for the person who offers the most benefits, that’s it. Every fighter out here needs to worry about yourself. If all them were trying to do this and do that, and try to do the best, then you have to work for the guys who offers you the most. You really don’t have a choice.”Tags: Bellator, bellator FC, Ben Henderson, Chael Sonnen, Eddie Alvarez, georges st. pierre, gsp, michael chandler, mike chandler, mma, MMA NEWS, ufc, viacom, zuffa