Eddie Alvarez (r) lands a punch to Michael Chandler. - Bellator.com
The former Bellator lightweight champion officially got his UFC offer matched, but will it be enough to keep him?
One of MMA's most intriguing free agents now finds himself a wanted man by two organizations. MMA Junkie reported Wednesday that Bellator has matched the UFC's offer to Eddie Alvarez, leaving the decision on what to do next up to Alvarez and Zuffa should they choose to sweeten the pot.
Alvarez (24-3) became a free agent in October following a first round KO win over Patricky Freire, his second straight win after losing his Bellator lightweight title to Michael Chandler in November 2011. He received a formal contract from the UFC several weeks ago, leaving it up to Bjorn Rebney and Spike TV with an opportunity to match per Alvarez's contract.
There are positives and negatives for Alvarez to sign with either side. In the UFC, he would be competing against the very best lightweights in the world and get the opportunity to compete in the world's top MMA organization. While the base pay may be similar, the opportunity for bonuses and exposure might more than make up for it. However, with such a stacked division, it would be easy to get lost in the shuffle.
Re-signing would establish him as a cornerstone of the new approach Bellator is taking debuting in several weeks on Spike, a big fish in a small pond of talent. A rematch with Chandler would seem like an easy choice to book and his competition overall would be decidedly easier than in Zuffa. But there is the stigma of not fighting in the UFC and if he was to re-sign, does that window shut forever?
Several days ago, White said things were about to get 'ugly' when it came to the Alvarez negotiations. Perhaps we're about to find out exactly what that means.