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Eddie Alvarez being sued by Bellator after refusing to sign new deal

Bjorn RebneyThe relationship between Bellator and longtime promotional poster-boy Eddie Alvarez took a turn for the worst this week after news surfaced stating the MMA organization had filed a lawsuit against the former lightweight champion stemming from contractual issues. Alvarez’s deal with Bellator recently expired though a clause was kept in place stating the company could match any offer thrown his way. The UFC wasted little time making a proposal to the 28-year old but, apparently, Bellator chose to offer Alvarez the same terms and isn’t willing to let him go without a fight.

However, according to Alvarez, Bellator’s pot isn’t quite as sweet as the UFC’s and as a result they have no leg to stand on legally.

“If it was a match, I would be more than happy to honor the contract. I signed that contract, I have to fulfill my obligations, it’s what I signed, I’m a man. I have no problems. If it was a match, if this was a hundred percent match, I’d have no problem going and fighting for Bellator. That is not my issue,” said Alvarez in an interview with The MMA Hour. “We feel the UFC’s deal is much greater. I like that deal. It wasn’t a Hector Lombard deal, but it was a good deal. And given the opportunity that you have, I consider it a good deal, and I consider it a much better deal than the one that Bellator’s offering.”

“This difference is a lot of money, a lot of money, and its hard to sign on the dotted line. It’s a lot of money,” concluded Alvarez, refusing to offer specifics based on the implications it could have on the case.

Though Alvarez is still willing to sign with Bellator if their offer is amended, it’s clear the entire process has worn on the Philadelphia native.

“There’s two completely different sides to this. Where I grew up and where I’m from, when someone smiles at you and tells you something, you believe it. If someone lies to you, if someone’s a man of their word, that’s that. It’s very simple. That’s the reality of where I’ve been and where I’m from. But this is a different ballgame, man,” said the disheartened Alvarez. “I’d get eaten alive in this world, because what people say means nothing. It means nothing. Being loyal and them sort of things, that kind of goes out the window.”

Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney has also publicly commented on things, saying his organization essentially copied the UFC’s terms word-for-word while also expressing hope the two sides will resolve their problems quickly before the matter is drawn out in court.


  • climbarock says:

    That’s unfortunate. I hope this doesn’t keep Eddie on the shelf for long.

  • darth_irritable says:

    Is it just me, or does Bjorn look like Voldemort in that picture?

  • AlphaOmega says:

    How is turning down a contract bounds for suing anyways? Are they just trying to stall and tie up Alvarez in legalities so that the UFC gives up and they can take him easily?

  • G-DUB says:

    It’s difficult to not to feel for Eddie going up against the big bad multi-billion dollar corporation. However, this is one of those “grey area” situations where both sides are correct to some extent. Technically, if Bellator cut n pasted the UFC contract (as he claims they did), he has matched to the letter of the law. It’s a slippery slope when Eddie starts to talk about potential PPV earnings, as there are no guarantees that Eddie will ever see a dime of that money…nor is there any guarantee that he won’t see PPV money from Bellator. As much as I have empathy for Alvarez, I do believe Bellator has fulfilled their contractual obligations. Next step is the UFC restructuring the contract to put it out of Bellator’s reach….or not. One thing’s for certain …. Bellator is not doing themselves any favors with public perception or fighter perception. If I was an up-and-coming fighter, I’d be super-hesitant at this point to sign on the dotted line.

  • Richard Stabone says:

    I agree with pretty much everything G-DUB said… I’ll piggy back off his post with some thoughts of my own…

    First & foremost, Eddie and his agent should have seen this coming when they signed the original Bellator contract that included the match clause. Under the letter of the law, a contract offer can be “equal” between Bellator & the UFC, while at the same time realizing that the big stage of the UFC offers other built-in advantages such as more lucrative sponsorship deals, potential PPV earnings, etc.

    So my perception of the situation is that Bellator has fulfilled their contractual obligations, leveraging the match clause they wisely included when providing Eddie with his original contract. Meanwhile, Eddie is not happy that Bjorn is playing hardball and sticking to the letter of the contract, when everyone knows the overall compensation Eddie would stand to earn fighting under the bright lights of the UFC is greater than what he’d earn if he continues with Bellator. Like G-DUB said, a bit of a gray area, and I can understand Eddie’s frustration, but I think he’s fighting an uphill battle by refusing to sign with Bellator.

    A few more thoughts…

    Does the UFC still have the ability to swoop in and sweeten their offer to a point Bellator can’t/won’t match? Or did that window already close? I’m guessing not, which would lead to my next thought…

    Seems that the UFC, after giving Lomard a fat contract that resulted in virtually no resistance from Bellator, came in with a bit of a low offer this time around, not wanting to outbid themselves. But now that Bellator has matched, we’ve got a real mess on our hands.

    I wonder if the UFC will help Eddie out during the lawsuit process. Lawsuits tend to be expensive and drawn out… until this thing gets resolved, Eddie is getting hit with the double whammy of litigation costs *and* no fight earnings. Hopefully he’s at least got some monthly sponsorship $$ rolling in.

    Bottom line is this: Eddie signed the initial deal knowing it included a match clause, the UFC came in with an offer that didn’t prevent Bellator from exercising that match clause, and now Eddie is stuck in the middle. So yeah, I can empathize with Eddie (I wish the UFC would have flexed its financial muscles and blown Bellator away the way it did with Lombard), but I also respect the fact Bellator is running a business and operating within their contractual agreements with one of their top fighters as they try to compete with the organization that has become a near monopoly in the MMA landscape.

  • AlphaOmega says:

    But is there anywhere in that match clause that says that if you don’t agree to our matching we can sue you? I don’t get that part, from how I understand it, Bellator can match any offer, then the fighter is free to choose which ever one, he opted to not chose Bellator’s.

  • Angry Mike says:

    In order for the contracts to be equal, Bellator must match potential PPV earnings with equivalent, potential earnings. Since Bellator doesn’t have PPV’s, this may be tough for them to do, but they can’t just ignore that portion of the UFC contract.

  • G-DUB says:

    Actually Mike, Bellator can and Bellator is ignoring that portion of the contract because it is based on hypotheticals. I find it difficult to blame them for doing so since they have a contract with Eddie allowing them to match explicit clauses and that’s exactly what they’ve done. If Eddie really wants to blame someone, perhaps he should look towards his lawyer(s). This issue was foreseeable and Eddie’s original contract could have been written to account for bonuses, PPV, etc. After all, the UFC payment system hasn’t changed dramatically over the past 4 years so if his lawyers had an understanding of how UFC contracts are constructed (and assumed the potential of Eddie being pursued by the UFC) this “grey area” might have been averted. That being said, I still don’t think Bellator is doing themselves any favors in the court of public opinion and it is in their best interest to squash this immediately.

  • Angry Mike says:

    Much will depend on the language of the Bellator and UFC contracts, but if the UFC contract contains the possibility of additional income and Bellator’s contract doesn’t have anything comparable, then Bellator hasn’t matched UFC’s offer. If Bellator drafted the agreement, any ambiguities or oversights will be interpreted in Eddie’s favor, not Bellator’s. Furthermore, courts in most states don’t like agreements that restrict employment opportunities such as non-compete clauses. Your lawyer doesn’t have to be slick to make those arguments. If Eddie’s lawyer pushes the pace, they could get a ruling from a court in 6 months or less. Might be an arbitriation clause in the agreement, and that could result in an even faster decision.


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