Bellator MMA announced on Tuesday that they have provided lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez his unconditional release from the promotion.

“We’ve granted Eddie his unconditional release. Eddie is free to explore the free agent market, we hold no matching rights, and we wish him the best in the future,” Bellator president Scott Coker said. “We sat down with Eddie and his team a few times, and it became pretty clear early on that he just wasn’t interested in fighting for Bellator in the future. We want guys in this organization that want to be here, and after the history Eddie and the former regime had here at Bellator, we decided to move on.

“We wish Eddie the absolute best of luck with whatever is next for him. It’s a new chapter for everyone involved.”

Alvarez and involved in a lengthy legal feud with Bellator over his contract prior to agreeing to a new deal. A planned pay-per-view main event title fight with Michael Chandler was nixed when Alvarez suffered an injury.

Before agreeing to return to Bellator, Alvarez had inked a contract with the UFC. Recent rumors indicated Alvarez as an opponent for Donald Cerrone, but the UFC has since signed Bobby Green to meet Cerrone.

“This was a long process but it’s a decision that everyone seems happy with. I think it’s important to say that I am genuinely thankful for my time at Bellator,” Alvarez said. “I know that sounds a little crazy given everything I went through, but I’ve fought there since 2009, and have been involved in some really amazing fights. The staff there always treated me great, and I’m going to miss seeing a lot of those familiar faces around for sure. Myself and my team had some really good discussions with Scott, but in my heart I knew I was ready to move on and start the next chapter in my career.”

Alvarez won the belt back when he defeated Michael Chandler last year. He is 25-3 in his MMA career, including 9-1 with Bellator. The lone loss came to Chandler.

Will Brooks won the interim title earlier this year when he bested Chandler after the Alvarez injury.