In an interview with the Bleacher Report, former Bellator lightweight champion, Eddie Alvarez (24-3) revealed details on the deal between the UFC, Bellator, and Bellator parent company, Viacom that was blocked, prohibiting Alvarez from joining the UFC roster.
Alvarez had quite a lot to say and covered several topics including the differences between what the public is shown, and what happens backstage during these kinds of deals:
“This is what everyone is getting mixed up with. In MMA, it’s not necessarily the numbers that everyone is seeing. You know? The numbers that everyone sees are the small numbers. They’re the little numbers. They are the ones you see all over the place. It’s the opportunity. A fighter’s lifespan is small, and it’s about opportunity, not so much the up-front numbers.”
One of the biggest factors of the nixed deals was the controversy over ‘matching contracts’ that Bellator did to maintain control over Alvarez’s career. As Alvarez states here, however, there wasn’t much matching done at all:
“The way it was said is that they matched everything number for number, dollar for dollar. And even if you did match everything that you said you did, what you’re saying to me, “We matched everything number for number,” we did everything we had to do. What he’s saying is that, ‘Our pay-per-view is just as great as the UFC’s pay-per-view’. We all played the match game when we were younger. It’s supposed to be exactly the same, you know? If you have a red card, your next card has to be red. It can’t be maroon. It can’t be any other shade of red, or it’s not a match. And the opportunities are different. The pay-per-views are different.”
Also, with the ‘matching contracts’ Bleacher Report interviewer, Jeremy Botter delves in to the formalities that dictate what it means to match a contract, and Alvarez responds, pointing out a glaring difference between the two:
“They’re not reading the whole contract. Not reading it all the way through. I’ve read the whole thing, and if you read it all the way through, it’s guaranteed. They’re giving me the fight. The reason they have to put “intention” in there is because you can’t guarantee a fight. You don’t know if I’m going to suffer something that keeps me out of the fight. That’s why you can’t put that it’s 100 percent guaranteed. That’s impossible to do with any contract for a promoter.
But, if you read it in its entirety, they’re giving me the fight. One hundred percent giving me the fight, when you read the whole contract. UFC wasn’t trying to pull a fast one by saying “intention,” you know?”
When questioned on his position not only in Bellator but in the sport of MMA, Alvarez responds frankly, without pulling any punches:
“I want an opportunity to fight the best in the world and make millions of dollars doing it. What’s my opportunity going back to Viacom? Where’s my opportunity for any of that? Are there millions of dollars to be made? No. Can I become No. 1 in the world fighting there? No. Those are the questions that need answering. And if they’re both no? Then what can I do?”
Botter also asks whether or not Alvarez would simply walk away from the sport, rather than rejoining the ranks in Bellator, Alvarez remains grounded though and states that he isn’t looking for a way out:
“No. I’m too young. I would go back to doing what I’m told, because I would have no choice. But I don’t know. I don’t even feel like that would be an option. I spoke to some pretty serious lawyers. One has won 30-something consecutive victories in federal court. He tells me these guys (Viacom) are full of shit. And coming from a guy like that, who has been on the boxing commission for 25 years, who has beaten the who’s who in court and who has been a lawyer forever? He tells me Viacom is full of shit. That’s all I need to hear.”
Alvarez hasn’t fought since October of 2012 where he won his second straight fight since losing his lightweight title to Michael Chandler. Now he waits for progress and possibly a step towards the Octagon as the UFC will most likely continue to pursue the 29-year old Alvarez.
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