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Bellator PPV debut would be “fast tracked” if Eddie Alvarez returns according to Bjorn Rebney

Bjorn Rebney says Bellator pay-per-view on 'fast track' if Alvarez dispute ended
www.mmajunkie.com

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.

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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.

Zoila Gurgel inks multi-fight deal with Invicta FC, makes promotional debut in April

Zoila Gurgel signs multi-fight deal with Invicta FC for April debut
www.mmajunkie.com

The 115-pound women’s champ recently signed a multi-fight agreement with Invicta FC, sources close to the event confirmed to MMAjunkie.com.

Gurgel will face a to-be-announced opponent at the all-female promotion’s fifth event, which takes place April 6. Though a venue and location have not been announced, and prevoius reports indicated the promotion’s hope to expand its horizons, potentially for an event in California, the plan is for Invicta FC 5 to take place in Kansas City, Mo.

Bellator and Invicta officials could not be reached Monday evening for comment on the move. Gurgel most recently competed at flyweight for the tournament-based promotion at Bellator 83, where she was choked unconscious in 58 seconds by Jessica Eye.

We're still in the middle of the battle between Bellator and Eddie Alvarez so I'm dying to hear a response from Bellator on this. It might end up being no big deal, they let Zoila walk after a loss, or her contract expired and they decided not to match. Or it could be a huge deal.

If the former is the case, it's a move that benefits both sides. For Invicta, they get their hands on an elite strawweight that has name value. Bellator now gets an out of women's MMA if they want it. I'm not sure if they do, but they haven't run a women's tournament since season three and no longer have the roster to do so, at least at the moment.

With Invicta going full steam and the UFC testing the waters when it comes to the females, Bellator now has three options - it's time to either go all in, get out completely, or use them as local attractions during the preliminary fights, and that's it.

Dana White is glad to be done with Randy Couture

Dana White Happy to Never Have to Do Business with Randy Couture Again
www.mmaweekly.com

“Randy Couture comes off as the greatest guy in the world, Captain America.  He’s the furthest thing from it, and I’m happy to not be in business with him anymore,” said White during the UFC 156 media day on Thursday. “Now I don’t have to be in business with him ever again.”

White’s comments may come as a shock to some, but he maintains they won’t be a shock to anyone that actually knows Couture.

“99.9 percent of the people, that won’t be shocking at all, people that actually know him, not people who watch him on TV,” said White.

It's no surprise that White is angry at Couture for doing this. As an ambassador for the UFC, who appears almost weekly on UFC programming, he has every right to be. However, in terms of doing what he feels is best for him, Couture has always marched to his own beat. We need to look no further than '07 for proof of that.

I've always heard rumors of about Couture being a completely different person behind the scenes, but never lent much credence to them. Maybe it's the case after all.

Patricky Friere injured, Saad Awad to replace him in tourney tomorrow night at Bellator 87

Patricky Pitbull out of lightweight tournament with an injury
themmareport.com

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.

Randy Couture inks Spike deal, will coach on new Bellator reality show

Couture signs Spike deal, joins Bellator reality series
sportsillustrated.cnn.com

SI.com has confirmed through multiple sources that UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture has signed into a multi-year deal with Spike TV, a property of Viacom, to appear in multiple projects for the cable channel, as well as other possible ventures within the media conglomerate’s family of networks.

As a part of the multi-faceted agreement, Couture’s first role will be as a coach in the forthcoming Bellator MMA reality Series, which begins shooting in February and airs later this year.

Spike TV will unveil this industry-shifting announcement on Feb. 5 during a press conference in Los Angeles, where Couture and Spike TV president Kevin Kay will discuss details of the agreement and what the 49-year-old retired fighter’s role will be on the Bellator series and possibly other Spike-broadcasted projects. The series is expected to feature a number of current and up-and-coming Bellator fighters.

The article also states that the deal was done, "much to the disapproval" of UFC president Dana White.

As if the budding war between the UFC and Bellator needed any more fuel to the fire after White's suggestion that fighters not sign with Bellator due to ther contract stipulation this past weekend. Things are about to get interesting to say the least.

Judge denies Eddie Alvarez injunction against Bellator, fight at UFC 159 scrapped

Eddie Alvarez denied the chance to fight at UFC 159 after judge rules against injunction request
www.mmafighting.com

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.

Bellator 86 ratings see slight drop, remain impressively strong

Bellator 86 Sees a Drop in Week-to-Week TV Ratings, but Still Seeing Strong Results
www.mmaweekly.com

The first Bellator MMA broadcast on Spike set a TV ratings record for the promotion, notching in at an average of 938,000 viewers for Bellator 85.

Thursday’s Bellator 86 didn’t do quite as well, but it didn’t take a hard fall either.

Bellator 86 averaged 812,000 viewers, according to MMAWeekly.com industry sources. That number is still four to five times higher than most of the Bellator events drew during its stint on MTV2.

Bellator has accounted for a more than 75-percent improvement in several of the key advertising demographics for Spike TV compared to the prior four weeks of programming.

Let's be clear here - the slight dip in the ratings is just that, slight. It's to be expected as things level out, but if these numbers are any indication of what we can expect during the Spike-Bellator relationship, Bjorn Rebney and company are in for a pleasant surprise as well as a foothold as a strong alternative to the UFC.

The promotion for Bellator has been impressive, at least on Spike's end. Just as it was while the UFC was a partner, Bellator commercials and screen spots are all over the place. It's also telling when I can walk into the bathroom of a random bar in Philadelphia, and find a pack of Bellator posters and coasters for taking.

Eddie Alvarez hoping for clarity with today’s legal decision

Alvarez hopes for court decision, UFC move
espn.go.com

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.

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“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?

Karl Amoussou to take advantage of short window of opportunity Ben Askren will give him

Karl Amousso plans to knock out 'lay and pray' artist Ben Askren at Bellator 86
www.mmajunkie.com

“What can Askren do to me, actually?” Amoussou asked MMAjunkie.com this past fall while in Orlando, Fla., shooting promotional spots for Bellator’s current eighth season. “He cannot punch, and he cannot kick – so there’s no way he can knock me out. He can’t submit me. So the only thing he can maybe do is lay and pray. That’s it.

“But even if he manages to do it for one round, I’m going to kick his ass in the next. There are five rounds, and I’ll be ready for five rounds.”

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And when Askren says he believes Amoussou’s chance to win comes in the first 90 seconds, and after that drops pretty much to zero, Amoussou is comfortable with the assessment.

“At least he’s aware he’s going to lose the fight in the first 90 seconds,” he said. “He’s aware of the situation, and I think it’s good for him.”

I can totally understand Amoussou's decision to go for broke whenever he and Askren are on the feet together, but that sort of style is going to lend its hand into a chance for an easy takedown for Askren.

If I were Amoussou, I would absolutely be concentrated on going for the KO, but also be prepared for the fact that this bout is going to take place primarily on the ground, where a full training camp of nothing but wrestling and BJJ would have one at least prepared to the best of their ability.

Bjorn Rebney Says Bellator Matched Alvarez Contract Exactly

Bjorn Rebney on dispute over matching Eddie Alvarez's UFC offer: 'We didn't alter a word'
www.mmafighting.com

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.

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