At the turn of the year Dana White predicted that his bid to sign Bellator fighter Eddie Alvarez was about to “get ugly”, and indeed that’s quickly proven to be true.
The story so far is that Alvarez completed the last fight on his current deal with Bellator late last year and the UFC offered him a contract, but his existing deal included a clause that allowed Bellator to match any other deal that he’s been given, and they’ve chosen to do just that.
Yesterday Alvarez broke his silence on the matter and claimed that Bellator’s deal doesn’t actually amount to the same as the UFC’s, claiming on Ariel Helwani’s ‘The MMA Hour’ show that it’s like comparing “McDonalds or some fine dining.”
According to Alvarez, due to the fact that his representatives and Bellator’s have been unable to come to an agreement the promotion are now suing the fighter.
Though he’s unable to go into too much detail due to the impending lawsuit Alvarez is adamant that when the matter does go to court that the differences between the UFC’s and Bellator’s offers will be crystal clear.
However, today Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney muddied the waters even further by claiming that the two contracts are in fact identical.
“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,” Rebney tells MMAWeekly.
Rebney reveals that the UFC’s deal for Alvarez called for an immediate $250,000 signing bonus, plus $70,000 per fight and a $70,000 win bonus for his first fight and an ascending salary scale from that point forward.
It’s unfortunate to see things pan out this way as up until this point Alvarez and Bellator always had a great relationship that proved to be beneficial to both parties. Alvarez was always one of Bellator’s biggest stars and certainly one it’s most exciting fighters during his 10 fight stint in the promotion that saw him go 9-1, taking his overall career record to 24-3.
All of this is taking place just as Bellator, who these days are owned by Viacom, are getting ready to launch their next season on the UFC’s old television home Spike TV next week, and just days before the last promotion to attempt to compete with the UFC (Strikeforce) holds it’s last ever event before shutting up shop.
Up until now Bellator have largely stayed off the UFC’s radar, but that’s clearly no longer the case and from the looks of things a whole new rivalry now appears to be brewing.