Eddie Alvarez is not setting sail to the UFC. News broke out today that he will be re-signing with Bellator. What does this mean? Well it means a couple of different things, but mainly it’s a huge relief for Bjorn Rebney, the president of Bellator. Alvarez, who sports a stellar record of 24-3, has been in and out of the courtroom, battling for his freedom from Bellator. The fighter sold his house to cover his bills, and has not had any income since 2012, so the eventual re-signing to Bellator isn’t a huge surprise.
It’s another face for Rebney’s growing MMA organization to promote and another fighter that the fans can rally around. It’s rumored that Alvarez will be awarded his rematch for the title against Bellator lightweight champion, Michael Chandler. Their first match was a ‘fight of the year’ performance in which Chandler managed to submit Alvarez in the fourth round of their back and forth war. The only disappointing part to this rematch is that it will be a co-main event to the ‘washed up’ veterans, Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson.
So who are the losers of this deal? The UFC is the first loser, as they missed out on signing an exciting lightweight who had already made a big name for himself. The UFC’s lightweight division could have used an injection of new exciting blood, as many of the former fan favorites are now featherweights. The UFC fans are also losers, as they will never see the matches that have the potential to be fight of the year battles.
The third and main loser is Alvarez himself. Alvarez has made it clear, in this ongoing lawsuit with Bellator, that he does not want to fight for them anymore and that he feels the UFC are the much better company. The fighter has now claimed that ‘the fences are mended’ with Bellator, but let’s be honest; when an employee publicly slates your company, it will be remembered. Alvarez will no longer be the apple of Bellator’s eye, and at 29 years-old, it’s important for him to get the fights he needs to make a future for himself.
Michael Chandler is one of the biggest winners in this deal. Since Chandler’s last knockout win over David Rickels, there have been rumblings of him being the best lightweight fighter in the world. I think Chandler is right up there with the top five lightweights in the world, and his skill-set is possibly the most well-rounded. If Chandler were to beat Alvarez in their rematch it would solidify his position, and many MMA fans would start tuning in to watch the champion.
Viacom can also expect good sales numbers now that Alvarez is fighting in their first venture into PPV. Couple the championship fight with Ortiz vs Jackson and you have a card that a large number of the public are going to buy.
I find myself sad that Alvarez had to go through such an ordeal just to find himself back in the arms of Bellator and its unlikeable leader Bjorn Rebney. However, I think this may be good for the sport of MMA, as it will only give Bellator a bigger name, and such competition will breed improvement between Bellator and the UFC.