According to a Jan. 9 report from MMA Mania, Bellator MMA CEO Bjorn Rebney is holding out hope that the promotion can hang onto Eddie Alvarez.
“The reality of the situation is Eddie and I had a really good working relationship for four years,” Rebney said of dealing with Alvarez. “I would hazard to even say we had a good friendship going for a lot of years. The last couple weeks have not been the highlight, the high water mark of that relationship. We entered into a contract with Eddie. In that contract, just like in the UFC deal, there’s what’s called a matching provision and what that means is when the contract comes to an end, you’ve got the right as the promoter that had the contract with the fighter to match it. What that requires is that you match all the material terms of the deal.”
Rebney noted that he wasn’t expecting the UFC to come in with such a low offer to Alvarez.
“If Eddie had been presented with a Hector Lombard type of deal, I told Eddie after his fight with us where he knocked out Patricky Pitbull, he and I sat and had a drink, spent some time together after the fight. I said, ‘Look, dude. If you get a Hector deal, I’m just gonna wish you the best of luck, I’m gonna be your big fan and I’m gonna root for ya and I’ll just let you go,” Rebney said. “I’m not gonna match that deal because I don’t think we can monetize that deal.'”
Rebney believes Alvarez may remain with Bellator MMA once emotions get put aside.
“I didn’t anticipate that the UFC would come in where they came in,” Rebney said. ” They came in at a dollar figure in terms of the $250,000 signing bonus and the $70,000 plus $70,000 and some of the terms that we felt very comfortable matching. To avoid any questioning, to avoid any conflict, we literally took the UFC contract, took it out of a PDF format and we changed the UFC name to Bellator and we signed it and we sent it back to Ed.”
Rebney would like to set up a rematch between Chandler and Alvarez, which was one of the most exciting Bellator fights of 2011.
“Our anticipation was that would be the end of it, we would move forward and we would start looking to schedule Eddie in some great fights and start rocking and rolling from there,” Rebney said. “As you know, there’s been some disagreement on it and Ed’s a very smart guy and a good guy. I remain extremely hopeful that we’re gonna work it out, remain extremely hopeful that we’re gonna be able to put the argument aside and make it work and promote the heck out of it on Spike Network, do huge events with him and conceptually even get a Michael Chandler-Eddie Alvarez rematch. We’ll see where it goes.”