Bellator’s first pay-per-view event will happen sooner rather than later if Eddie Alvarez returns to the promotion’s fold.
“If we can figure that out, I think we’d be on a fast track to being able to put [a pay-per-view card] in motion,” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney on Tuesday told MMAjunkie.com.
Now, Alvarez will ultimately decide whether to return to Bellator or fight further to free himself. Rebney remains optimistic he’ll do the former. The promoter wants to see Chandler vs. Alvarez II.
“It’s the best fight I’ve ever seen live, pay-per-view or free,” Rebney said. “I think the rematch of that fight would be epic.”
Rebney's words only further the debate regarding the PPV issue in the ongoing dispute between Eddie Alvarez and Bellator in my opinion. It's becoming more and more clear that the promise of matching the UFC's offer of dollars per PPV buys is based off of the idea that Bellator could put on a PPV if need be and not like the UFC, which offers multiple PPV's monthly without fail.
Wiith that said, I think that Bellator will eventually move to PPV and do quite well. The deeper the relationship with Spike goes, the better the result will be. I just don't think it's feasible within the next few months if the Alvarez mess gets squared away.
But in his decision, Linares wrote that Alvarez failed to satisfy the burden of showing a reasonable probability of success and irreparable harm.
“It is speculative to suggest, as Alvarez does, that an inability to compete in the April 27 event will result in irreparable harm in the form of a lost opportunity to obtain notoriety, endorsements, and a wider exposure to viewers,” he wrote.
Linares did note that Alvarez had at least one potential battleground issue in his ongoing litigation, acknowledging that the difference between broadcast network FOX and cable channel Spike could lead a court or jury to find that the Bellator has not matched Zuffa’s contract.
It's a shame that Alvarez will continue to be stuck in limbo for the time being. Just because he was denied an injunction, doesn't mean that the legal battle is over. The case could still go to trial, and Alvarez now has the words of a judge that the difference between FOX and Spike has the potential to be recognized as vast.
The one thing that concerns me is the relationship status between Alvarez and Bellator if he has to end up staying in the organization. What an awkward situation to be in.
I understand why Bellator is refusing to back down. They want to have the precedent set in stone in case another situation like this arises in the future. But after all of the negative publicity and accusations thrown back and forth, it might make more sense just to let Eddie walk at this point. Like Dana said, he isn't even their champion.
Alvarez hopes for court decision, UFC move
Alvarez is in the middle of a legal tug-of-war between UFC and his former promoter, Bellator. The fighter wants to compete in UFC; Bellator, however, isn’t ready to relinquish his services.
But on Friday, Alvarez’s future could become a little clearer. His attorneys and those representing Bellator will appear before United States District Court judge Jose L. Linares at the Martin Luther King Federal Building in Newark, N.J., to argue whether Alvarez can compete at an upcoming UFC event in April.
“I’ll be very relieved [when the Friday hearing concludes],” Alvarez told ESPN.com. “Hopefully, they will come to a judgment this Friday. But I’m not setting my expectations too high; I’ll just be setting myself up for disappointment.
“I just want to take things as they go; I’m not trying to control things that are not in my control. If we manage to get this thing settled this weekend I will be very happy. If not, then me, my management team [Authentic Sports Management] and the attorneys who are working this on my behalf are patient; we’ll wait and get the result that we want.”
If the judge sides in Alvarez's favor and he is free to go to the UFC, it is widely expected that Alvarez will fight in the co-main event at UFC 159 on April 27 in New Jersey, potentially against either Gray Maynard or Jim Miller in a title eliminator.
It could honestly go either way, and it really all comes down to how Judge Linares is going to interpret the PPV portion of the offer. The UFC is obviously a mainstay and Bellator claims that they will go that route if they do retain Alvarez's services, but they have never have to date. Will their promise be enough to hold up in court?
According to Alvarez in a Monday interview on The MMA Hour, Bellator didn’t match the deal. Speaking metaphorically to avoid exact contract language, he likened the UFC’s deal to “fine dining” and Bellator’s to “McDonald’s,” saying all dinners are not created equal.
Rebney vehemently disagrees. In fact, he told MMA Fighting in a Monday interview, Bellator’s matching offer was literally a mirror image of the contract the UFC offered Alvarez.
“I will tell you point blank, no questions asked, we matched it dollar for dollar, term for term and section for section,” he said. “To avoid any kind of ambiguity, let me make clear, we took the UFC contract, we took it out of the PDF format, we changed the name ‘UFC’ to ‘Bellator’ and we signed it. We didn’t alter a word, we didn’t alter a phrase, we didn’t alter a section, we didn’t alter a dollar figure.”
The article goes on to say that the dispute lies in the UFC's offer of a share of pay-per-view revenue, which Bellator obviously could not match since they only air shows on cable television. Rebney claims that the UFC's PPV offer point is only a "projection", since there is no guarantee that Alvarez would co-headline a PPV event, and that Bellator could conceivably make a move to PPV with "the right fight".
So basically if this makes it to court, it's going to be a judge's take on what would constitute a direct match in this case. In reality, a judge unfamiliar with the sport and its inner workings could easily make an uneducated judgement. It'll be interesting to see what happens.
“We went to settlement maybe a couple days ago,” Alvarez said. “We had a settlement meeting to where we were supposed to settle our differences and everything was supposed to get worked out. Long story short, I was sued 30 minutes after our settlement agreement was over.”
At the heart of the dispute is Bellator’s matching clause in Alvarez’s contract. After the final fight of Alvarez’s contract, Bellator first had a window of exclusivity in contract negotiation, then another period of time in which it could match any contract offers Alvarez received.
Here’s where Alvarez and Bellator’s opinions differ: Bellator believes they’ve matched the deal Alvarez received from the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Alvarez and his team disagree.
“We don’t believe it was matched at all,” Alvarez said. “I want to be able to give the details to you guys, but I’m not allowed because we’re in the middle of a pending lawsuit. What I can say is what I said on Twitter the other day. If I wanted to go to dinner with one guy who asked me to dinner, and another guy asks me to do dinner, and the intentions of guy number one is to take me into a fine dining restaurant and to eat lobster, and the intention of the second guy is to maybe take me to McDonald’s, guy number two just believes that dinner is dinner. Dinner isn’t dinner, there’s a huge difference when you’re talking McDonald’s or some fine dining, the two we don’t believe are comparable.”
Dana White did say that he thought things were going to get ugly, and here we go. We all know this isn't the first time that Bellator has been involved in a mess like this. An attempt to lock down Tyson Nam took place just a few months ago. A similar attempt happened after Jonathan Brookins won "TUF" a couple years past as well.
At this point, we can only hope that things can settled as quickly as possible so Alvarez can get back to fighting. It also has to make you wonder if fighters are going to start becoming disinterested in joining the Bellator ranks out of fear of repercussions.
“We’ve got two fights left, we’ve got the (Shinya) Aoki fight then we’ve got one more after that,” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney told MMAWeekly Radio about Eddie Alvarez’s contract. “The guy has been just unbelievably good and positive for this organization. He’s been good and positive for Bellator, he’s also been good and positive for the entirety of MMA. Much like our situation with Hector Lombard, right now Hector’s a little bit further along cause I signed him earlier than I signed Ed, but you remember Hector and Ed were signed in 08′.
“I had a sit down with Hector Lombard, this was about 8 months ago, and we’re coming up on the end of our deal, but it’s getting closer and he asked me what’s going to happen. I said I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I can tell you that 2012 is going to be an awesome, epic year for Hector Lombard. And whether it’s an awesome, epic year in the Octagon, or whether it’s an awesome, epic year at Bellator, I’m not sure. I can’t tell you how that’s all going to play out, but I can tell you it’s going to be a great year for you, you’re going to make a lot more money,” Rebney said.
According to Rebney, neither Alvarez nor Lombard have any kind of champions clause in their contracts. Once they are up, both are free to walk, and with the UFC openly interested in their services, it's going to have to take an offer that can't be refused in order for Bellator to keep either of them.