“Look, this is a serious problem,” Eddie Alvarez said at Tuesday’s ONE Championship media gathering. “I’m laughin’, but it’s nothing to joke about. We’re all part of the problem, all of us are. When an interim title is given… And the media makes a big fuss of it and a fighter makes a big fuss of it and a fan makes a big fuss of it, an interim title has value. That’s the saddest thing that can happen in the sport.
“Because an interim title is given in replacement for money. ‘We don’t wanna give you money, but well give you an interim title. We don’t wanna give you money, but we’ll give you a main event spot. We don’t wanna give you money, but we’ll give you that opponent you want. We’ll give you everything… But what you deserve. And that’s money,’
“That’s sad, it’s sad,” Alvarez continued. “And when that’s valued, an interim title is valued by fans, by the media, by the promotion and everyone, it’s a sick joke. And it should be laughed at and it should no longer be applauded and it should be booed. And when it is, it’ll be a happy day. Fighters get paid more, fans will be more educated, and promotions will stop the bullsh*t.”
Eddie Alvarez has a been a champion in just about every organization that he’s been in. Now it’s time to see if he can make that a reality in ONE Championship as well.
However, back in Alvarez’ old fighting home of the UFC, two interim title fights were recently made to top off the UFC 236 event on April 13. One of which takes place in the middleweight division with the other in Alvarez’ lightweight.
Something that the former undisputed UFC champion finds himself quite happy to now be away from.
“Yeah [I’m happy I’ve moved on from interim titles being around me],” Alvarez said. “I’m a big believer that you’re either a part of the problem or a part of the solution. It sucks being in a contract and knowing that you have no choice but to be part of the problem. That sucks.
“Cause you have to sell your core beliefs, what you believe in because you have to do a job and that stinks. It’s a sh*tty position to be in. And I don’t ever wanna be in it so when I had the ability to become a free agent I did it because I had a choice to make, that I could be a part of this problem of undervalued, underpaid fighters or I could be a part of the solution.”
Interim titles have become somewhat of normalcy over the years as the UFC has made 22 interim title bouts in their history (that includes the upcoming Kelvin Gastelum vs Israel Adesanya and Max Holloway vs Dustin Poirier bouts). Seven of those 22 took place from 1993 to 2010 with the rest of the 15 all being from 2012 to present.
For Alvarez, his promotional debut with ONE will take place on March 31 when he takes on Timofey Nastyukhin at ONE: A New Era in Tokyo, Japan. The fight will be a part of the opening round of the lightweight Grand Prix.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/26/2019