Eddie Alvarez is the current Bellator MMA lightweight champion, reclaiming the title from Michael Chandler in November of last year .
The fight was an important one for Alvarez for a number of different reasons. More than a simple win over a great fighter or even a championship victory, the fight marked the end of a very tumultuous year for “EA”.
Prior to the fight with Chandler, Alvarez had been sitting on the shelf since October of 2012 and his fight with Patricky Freire. The reasons for EA’s sidelining were all contractual. As it would turn out, Alvarez found himself caught between a rock and a hard place; the UFC’s desire to sign the fighter and Bellator’s desire to keep him; as per the “matching rights” clause of Eddie’s BMMA contract.
Without revisiting the facts of the case, the net result was that Eddie ended up going back to Bellator and signing, what’s believed to be, a two fight deal. Subsequent to that and his November defeat of Michael Chandler, Alvarez has now been assigned his next fight date; a trilogy bout with Chandler.
Although the date for the match has yet to be fixed the question of Alvarez’s future is, nonetheless, already being raised. As fans understand it and after this fight, win or lose, Eddie is free to walk out the door as an unrestricted free agent. If this truly is the case, then the question becomes will Eddie be in Bellator this time next year?
As such, Ariel Helwani of MMAfighting.com put the question to him directly, “contractually what happens if you win?”
To that, Alvarez got a little jittery and answered as follows:
“I don’t know. Who knows? That word scares me; that contract. So, I don’t like to bring up the word contract. You know, we’re gonna fight and we’re gonna see who wins; that’s it.
To the specific question of whether or not he’ll be in Bellator this time next year, Alvarez stated:
We’ll see, ya know. You know we can, you know, get past this fight and see what goes on, but you never know. Ya know, I’ve seen some crazy things happen.”
From that, fans might think that Eddie doesn’t want to rock BMMA’s boat while he’s still in it and as such, doesn’t want to come right out and state that he’s going to sign with the UFC. However, another way of looking at it might be that he truly doesn’t know. If Alvarez beats Chandler again and in another exciting fight, BMMA is sure to come back to Eddie with a lucrative contract and one that the UFC might not be prepared to meet.
In the time that has elapsed between negotiations with the UFC and Bellator, a lot has changed. Bellator is growing and getting better brand recognition from fans, UFC President Dana White may no longer be interested in Eddie or having anything to do with Bellator fighters in general, the senior promotion’s 155 pound class is already stacked, has a very dynamic champion and doesn’t need Alvarez to be considered the best lightweight division in the world; it’s a lot of things. In short, there’s no guarantee that the UFC will re-offer on EA or that if they do that he’ll accept.
Of course, odds are that Eddie would prefer to test his metal in the UFC and see if he can claim the senior belt and no one will be shocked if that’s what ends up happening. However, it’s also possible, but perhaps not likely, that Eddie may elect to stay in Bellator and make his money; inclusive of PPV cuts that he probably isn’t going to get in the UFC.
All in all, it should be interesting to watch how it all unfolds, but the simple fact that Eddie is unsure of his decision or at least is being coy in not coming right out and stating it directly, should be enough to give fans pause for consideration before they assume it’s a done deal that Alvarez will be fighting in the UFC; any time soon or otherwise.