The contract Bellator FC has offered Eddie Alvarez is a word-for-word match with the one offered by the UFC, according to Bellator promoter Bjorn Rebney.
Former BFC lightweight champion Alvarez is a UFC target since the expiry of his fight deal with Bellator but the 12-month match-clause on Alvarez’s contract - which allows Bellator to match any deal offered to Alvarez in the year after the expiry of the fight deal - has thrown a spanner in the works.
Alvarez is openly furious and yesterday appeared on The MMA Hour to reveal that he and Bellator are taking legal action against each other. Alvarez also asserts that the contract offered by Bellator in response to the UFC offer was not an exact match. Rebney refutes that.
“We matched it dollar for dollar, term for term and section for section. To avoid any kind of ambiguity, let me make clear, we took the UFC contract, we took it out of the PDF format, we changed the name 'UFC' to 'Bellator' and we signed it,” Rebney claimed to MMA Fighting.
“We didn't alter a word, we didn't alter a phrase, we didn't alter a section, we didn't alter a dollar figure.”
But there’s an obvious difference between the Bellator and UFC operations. The latter is the world’s biggest pay-per-view company whereas Bellator has just arrived on Spike TV and will be looking to step up into being a solid number two to the UFC over the coming months and years.
Successful UFC fighters get a percentage of the pay-per-view sales on cards they appear on, which makes for a considerable boost to their pay package. Bellator doesn’t have a pay-per-view operation so they can’t offer the same - but Rebney says this isn’t an issue.
“There is no guaranteed pay-per-view in the UFC offer to Eddie Alvarez. We as Bellator don't have to match projections. We don't have to match what could conceptually happen. We have to match guaranteed dollars and what the UFC contractually guaranteed would occur. That is what we are held to,” he says.
Alvarez doesn’t agree with Rebney’s reasoning and so the issue is likely to be settled by lawyers and a judge in what could turn out to be a protracted and expensive case. Alvarez’s other option is to sit out for twelve months and wait for the Bellator match clause to expire.