It’s been a long time coming, but the battle for Eddie Alvarez is finally coming to a head.
The former Bellator lightweight champion recently fought the final fight of his current Bellator contract, knocking out highly touted 155-pounder Patricky “Pitbull” Freire late in the first round of their bout.
Most pundits believe that Alvarez has already flown the coop, headed to the brighter lights of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
That’s definitely how UFC president Dana White sees it, although he’s been in the fight game long enough to know that nothing is a done deal until pen is put to paper.
“We plan on (bringing Alvarez to the UFC),” said White on Tuesday night, before adding his usual stipulation. “We’ll see what happens.”
Although Alvarez has fulfilled all the bouts due Bellator on his contract, that doesn’t mean he’s yet free to leave if that’s the choice he makes.
Bellator maintains matching rights to any offers he receives for a set period.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, however, says that he is ready to waive any waiting period once they figure out where they stand with Alvarez. He has worked closely with Alvarez over the years, talking to him two or three times a week during their association. Rebney appreciates his former champion and wants nothing more than for him to remain under the Bellator banner, but he’s not going to hold him back if Alvarez chooses to move on.
“We’re making a push, but like everything else we’ve done at Bellator, it really boils down to a business decision. We don’t change directions or dynamics based on emotion,” Rebney explained in an MMAWeekly.com exclusive interview.
“We’ll either negotiate a deal with Ed and sign him over the next few days or we won’t. I’ll free Ed up sooner than we (contractually) have to and let him go talk to the UFC and determine if we’re going to match the deal.”
Rebney is willing to match a UFC offer, but as he said, only if it makes good business sense for Bellator. If that doesn’t happen, he'll wish his friend well.
“He’s a talent. He doesn’t know how to have a boring fight,” said Rebney. “I have crazy respect for Ed. Hopefully, he’ll end up fighting here, and if he doesn’t, I’m sure he’ll do well in UFC.”
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