If UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo does indeed make a move to lightweight, current interim bantamweight champ Renan Barao (29-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) could also move up a division.
“I feel very good in this weight division, but I feel in two or three years, if Aldo decides to move up a weight division, I might do that, too,” Barao recently told MMAjunkie.com.
“I used to fight at 66 kilos (145 pounds), but when we closed the deal with the WEC, our trainer decided that I needed to fight at bantamweight because I would never be champion since Aldo had been there forever,” Barao said. “He wanted another champion on the team.”
No one may be more happier to hear this news than Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz, who would no longer have to deal with an absolute killer in their divsion. Still, Aldo and Barao have to get past Anthony Pettis and Michael McDonald respectively before we can even consider this historic weight shift of champions to be closing in.
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.
Shinya Aoki to challenge for lightweight title against Kotetsu Boku at ONE FC 8
Former DREAM champion Shinya Aoki (32-6, 1 NC) is slated to challenge Kotetsu Boku (20-7-2) for the ONE FC lightweight title at ONE FC: Kings and Champions, which takes place on April 5, 2013 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore. ONE FC officials announced the long-rumored bout on Wednesday.
Aoki, 29, needed just 85 seconds to coax a tapout from French submission specialist Arnaud Lepont via triangle choke in his ONE FC debut last October. Since then Aoki picked up an additional victory, defeating Antonio McKee via punches on DREAM’s year-end supercard.
Likewise, Boku, 35, rides his own two-fight win streak into the bout, having knocked out Shin Kochiwa in 67 seconds before upsetting Aoki’s Evolve MMA teammate, Zorobabel Moreira, to claim the inaugural ONE FC lightweight belt.
It looks like Aoki will remain on the Asian MMA circuit regardless of whether or not DREAM continues operations this year. While it's bittersweet for those international fans that want to see him compete live, it's likely the best career move for Aoki, who remains one of Japan's biggest draws.
Patricky Pitbull out of lightweight tournament with an injury
Patricky Pitbull has suffered a knee injury in his final sparring session and is out of the tournament. .Replacing him against Guillaume DeLorenzi will be Saad Awad.
Awad was already scheduled to be on the Bellator fight card tomorrow night and he was set to face Jason Fischer on the preliminary card.
Replacing Awad against Fisher will be Sevak Magakian, who will be making his Bellator debut and is currently on a six fight winning streak.
HT to MMA Junkie for the find.
Bellator 87 was already lacking in star power and now loses its most notable fighter on the card due to injury, and at the very last minute. The injury bug isn't just hitting the UFC these days.
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.
“It sucks, especially just financially, cause training costs money. When I fight that’s the only time I get paid. I’ll do a private lesson or seminar here or there, but that’s not my actual money. My money comes from fighting,” Masvidal told MMAWeekly Radio.
Masvidal isn’t the only fighter affected by the recent drought of Strikeforce events, but he’s one of the more vocal ones who doesn’t mind voicing his displeasure in how things have been handled. He just wants to know what’s going on instead of guessing for once.
“That’s the only thing that’s not cool. I wish they’d tell us, hey listen, this show got cancelled, you’re going to be on the January card, you’re going to be on the April card, something like that. That’s the only thing that gets me going,” said Masvidal.
Frankie Edgar: Move to 145 Pounds is a Possibility
The loss added fuel to the ongoing debate over whether Edgar should drop a weight class, and coming off the defeat the former champion is definitely considering his options.
“I’m going to give myself a week to kind of just let all the emotions go away, just relax and enjoy my family and then sit down probably Sunday with my team and everyone else and just start bouncing some ideas around,” Edgar told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “It’s Time” show with Bruce Buffer. “Forty-five is a possibility. Fifty-five, I’ve been so successful and I would love to get a shot at the 155-pound belt again. Who knows? The 145-pound belt is definitely a prestigious belt to go after, especially with Jose Aldo at the helm of it all, but I’ve just got to really sit down and just discuss it with my team and my family and just make the right decision for myself.”
A move to 145 pounds would not be difficult, Edgar said.
“I don’t think I’d have to tweak much,” he explained. “I probably would clean my diet maybe some. I like to eat fairly clean and I’m not a huge eater, so I wouldn’t have to change too, too much, but I’ll be honest: I think a lot of 145-pounders are probably bigger than me down at that weight class anyway. They probably walk around heavier than I do. I don’t think making the weight would be too much of a problem.”
I'm probably wrong, but this might be the first public acknowledgement that Edgar is actually considering dropping down. I can't think of another instance at the top of my head right now.