Eddie Alvarez is now one year and two fights into his ONE Championship career. From the sounds of it, the former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion has enjoyed his time with the Singapore-based promotion.
Alvarez discussed his time with ONE Championship, and how it differs from his time with the UFC, at Wednesday’s game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat.
“The treatment individually, for me personally,” Alvarez said, explaining where ONE Championship differs from the UFC (via Crossing Board). “Everybody walks around saying ‘I’m treated so well’ in certain promotions, but it’s an individual thing. Some guys feel like they’re getting gipped. For me, with UFC, there are so many guys, and sometimes you get lost in the shuffle. You lose your value there or they don’t appreciate certain fighters the way they should. It’s always better to feel appreciated, not just by executives of the promotion, but the fans as well.
“In Asia it’s like football almost, you get off the bus and it’s like nothing you’ve seen before,” Alvarez continued. “They view (martial arts) a little bit differently than America. They view the athlete as a hero, win or lose, where here it’s like you get dumped on your head (if you lose). It could be a championship fight against the best in the world and they dump you on your head (laughs). There (in Asia) they appreciate the heroes and the fighters for their character and their willingness to fight their asses off inside the cage.”
Alvarez also had very high praise for ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong.
“Chatri is incredible,” he said. “And here’s the difference between ONE and UFC – the executives at ONE are martial artists. They fight. They’ve been in fights, Muay Thai fights, grapple, they train just as the fighters train. I go back in the room sometimes to do my weight cut and Chatri is ripping pads, with a real guy, and I’m like ‘holy shit this guy can fight.’ There’s more of an understanding about the sport and the athlete from the executives than there is from guys who just kind of wear a suit.”
Eddie Alvarez made his ONE Championship debut in March, losing by first-round TKO to Russia’s Timofey Nastyukhin in a shocking upset. He then rebounded by surviving some early adversity to submit for ONE lightweight champion Eduard Folayang in August. Alvarez was briefly expected to battle Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev in October, but was forced out of the fight due to injury.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/19/2019.