It’s been no secret over the past couple months that the UFC was targeting top lightweight fighter Eddie Alvarez once he fulfilled his contract with Bellator Fighting Championships.
The UFC went after and signed Alvarez’s fellow former Bellator champion Hector Lombard in 2012, but that situation was cut-and-dry compared with where things are headed in regards to Alvarez severing ties and making his way to the Octagon.
Alvarez completed all the bouts on his Bellator contract with his last trip to the cage, but now finds himself mired in the legal entanglement of contracts and matching rights.
The UFC has offered Alvarez a contract, but due to Bellator’s right to offer a matching contract to retain him, there’s no clear finish line ahead.
Although most people expected Alvarez to jump to the UFC as soon as he signed with the MMA juggernaut, thinking there was no way that Bellator could match a UFC contract term for term, Bellator is trying to argue that they can and will match the UFC’s offer.
UFC president Dana White indicated the situation was on a downward spiral following UFC 155 in Las Vegas, when he confirmed to the media, including MMAWeekly.com, that he was trying to sign Eddie Alvarez, but that he expected the situation was “gonna get ugly” before we all find out just where Alvarez ends up fighting.
The UFC’s offer included many facets that it wouldn’t immediately seem that Bellator could match, according to details of the offer uncovered by Sports Illustrated.
The UFC intends to put Alvarez on pay-per-view, including a pay-per-view bonus. They also intend to put him on at least one network televised event on Fox. These are two of the key sticking points that most feel that Bellator can’t match, but they say they can.
“Ed went out and got an offer from the UFC, and we took a look at that offer, reviewed it for about eight days, and decided to match it dollar for dollar, deal point for deal point, term for term,” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney told MMAWeekly Radio on Monday.
“We matched every single element of it, word for word.”
Matching dollar for dollar is the easy part, but for a promotion that hasn’t ever operated a pay-per-view compared to one that has run more than 100 pay-per-view events, it would seem difficult to equate the bonus money that Alvarez might receive for a pay-per-view to being a match.
Saying that Bellator could match the UFC’s offer of a guaranteed fight on Fox’s broadcast network television channel versus a bout on basic cable channel Spike TV is also another bone of contention.
Following Alvarez’s refusal to sign Bellator’s “matching” offer because he and his team didn’t feel it truly did match the UFC’s contract, Bellator filed a lawsuit against it’s former champion and he in turn filed a countersuit.
Fans and pundits alike can argue the merits of the terms and the matching offer to no end, but in the end, it is the courts that will likely decide Alvarez’s fate. And as White stated, “it’s gonna get ugly” before the dust settles and we learn where Alvarez will next ply his trade.
Key points of Eddie Alvarez’s UFC offer:
• Eight-fight contract. Show purse and win bonus start at $70,000 each, adding an addition $5,000 to each if Alvarez wins his bouts. So if Alverez were to win his first seven fights, the eighth would pay $105,000 to show and $105,000 to win.
• Intent that Alvarez’s first UFC bout would be a UFC lightweight title shot with the bout taking place before the end of March 2013.
• Pay-per-view bonus starting at $1.00 for any PPV buys over 200,000 per event. The PPV bonus climbs to $2.50 per buy over 600,000 per event.
• Guarantees one bout on Fox.
• Guarantees a minimum of three appearances as a commentator for other UFC events that he is not fighting on.
• $250,000 signing bonus. (Payable in installments of $85,000 following each of his first two fight and $80,000 following his third fight.)
Key points of difference in Eddie Alvarez’s Bellator matching offer:
• A fight on Spike TV vs. UFC’s offer of a fight on Fox.
• Spike TV produced behind-the-scenes special on Alvarez, which includes a $25,000 payment to Alvarez.
• A coaching position on the second season of Bellator’s new reality TV series, which includes a $100,000 payment to Alvarez. The coaching position requires that Alvarez first must win back the Bellator lightweight championship.
• A guest-host position on Spike TV’s “Road to the Championship” show.