Lightweight Eddie Alvarez is one of the hottest free agents to come on to the market in awhile, possessing a polished skill-set and fan-friendly fighting style. He’s also been extremely successful throughout his career, compiling an overall record 24-3 with 21 stoppages and wins over stand-outs like Pat Curran, Joachim Hansen, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Josh Neer, Roger Huerta, and Shinya Aoki.

While losing him would certainly be a bitter pill for Bellator to swallow, the organization understands the reality of the situation and knows retaining him with the UFC having already expressing interest won’t be easy. However, out of respect to the longtime resident of Bellator’s ranks, CEO Bjorn Rebney isn’t looking to drag his feet on the process or even play hardball.

“My read on Ed is that he’s approached these talks professionally and totally in good faith. He’s made the effort to come sit and talk to us. He’s followed up and asked a lot of questions as far as what we can do for him, the exposure we can provide and what other doors we can open. He’s been very engaged. Ed’s been rock-solid for us for years, and if he wants to see what they are going to offer, I’m going to let him see,” said Rebney in an interview with MMAFighting. “If he wants to look at what they’re offering — and I don’t think that’s unreasonable, by the way — I’ll open the door sooner than we’re required. I’m not saying we won’t come to an agreement, but even though we’re having some good talks, that’s what it might come down to.”

“We don’t make decisions based off emotions,” added Rebney, making it clear his appreciation of Alvarez for both personal/professional reasons won’t cloud his approach to handling business. “We do our analysis and try to determine if it fits in our model. Eddie can say, ‘I’m going to go see what they offer,’ and if he does, there’s no reason to dance.”

In closing, Rebney confirmed Alvarez’s immediate future in Bellator should be resolved as early as next week rather than in a couple of months when the company’s contracted negotiation period ends.