Michael Chandler takes a punch from Eddie Alvarez. - Bellator.com
As they prepare for their big move to Spike, Bellator announced a change that could allow for immediate title fight rematches.
After the November 2011 instant classic between then-Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler, there was an immediate cry for a rematch and in most MMA universes, that would be a no-brainer.
However, Bellator's reply was simple: Alvarez could get the chance to avenge his title loss to Chandler but would have to win the next lightweight tournament to do it. The decision was unpopular and with Alvarez expected to sign with the UFC, fans may never see the rematch of that bout.
On Monday, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney announced a change to their championship title shot policies, one that leaves them a Mack truck-sized loophole to grant rematches:
"I am proud to announce that driven by your input; we will implement a championship fight rematch clause as we move into 2013 and our launch on Spike in January. When a fighter’s earned a shot at the world title by winning The Toughest Tournament in Sports and competes in a title fight that knocks fans like us back in our seats (win or lose) delivering an incredible fight, when a rematch is called for, we will deliver it.
Championship fights give us some of the greatest moments in MMA. And, re-matches of incredible championship fights will give fans like us more of those electrifying moments, while staying true to the world’s best fighters having had to earn their way to those title shots. "
The key, of course is "when a rematch is called for". While Chandler/Alvarez II would be an absolute must-have, what about when Jay Hieron went to a split decision against Welterweight Champion Ben Askren in October 2011, a fight many thought Hieron won?
How the rematch clause is used will be something to watch, but regardless, the promotion has ensured they will have the ability to deviate from their strict title shot philosophy should the opportunity present itself.