Eddie Alvarez was in court today arguing his case that Bellator did not actually "match" the offer from the UFC for his services. While there is no doubt that Bellator matched the deal from a pure "money per fight" standpoint, the idea that the UFC and Alvarez are arguing is that the pay-per-view opportunities -- and bonuses -- as well as exposure on outlets such as Fox is something Bellator can not match. Bellator is arguing in return that A) they don't have to match theoretical money and opportunity and B) they did anyway and he would make money should Bellator ever decide to put him on a future pay-per-view.
MMA Fighting's Mike Chiappetta was in the courtroom today tweeting out the action. Here are some of the highlights.
Alvarez's attorney arguing that Bellator saying they will put him on PPV's is an "illusory" match. #Alvarez— Mike Chiappetta MMA (@MikeChiappetta) January 25, 2013
Obviously it would seem that they are correct there. Bellator has never an a PPV and even if they did, they would have to guarantee he'd be on it. And then it wouldn't come anywhere near the amount of buys that a UFC show would do. But there's no guarantee that the judge would see this as something that must be matched.
The judge didn't even bother going that far with the line of thinking though:
Judge to Alvarez's side on Bellator's PPV match issue: "you're asking me to assume they're going to breach a contract".— Mike Chiappetta MMA (@MikeChiappetta) January 25, 2013
Alvarez counsel citing his world ranking dipping due to public perception of Bellator as issue of non-monetary damages. #Alvarez— Mike Chiappetta MMA (@MikeChiappetta) January 25, 2013
Of course, his world ranking actually dropped because he lost to Michael Chandler. Yes, maybe it dropped more because people consider a loss in Bellator worse than a loss in the UFC, but it would not have dropped had Alvarez won. So that seems like a crazy idea in which to root part of your argument.
Bellator attorney says a match is "monetary, plain & simple," and says they matched. #Alvarez— Mike Chiappetta MMA (@MikeChiappetta) January 25, 2013
I'm no legal expert, but this would seem to be the entire foundation of where the case will be decided. If it is a matter of Bellator having to be able to match at the PPV and exposure level, they just can't. A judge might not understand that, but that's just the truth.
However, if it is just a matter of pay per fight? Bellator did match.
Bellator: "you can't suggest with a straight face that Fox is better than Spike. They're both mega-entities."#Alvarez— Mike Chiappetta MMA (@MikeChiappetta) January 25, 2013
This has to be among the most hilarious moments in Twitter history. One is a national network with constant top rated programming. It's the home of the NFL, Family Guy, The Simpsons..etc. Spike has...had the UFC in the past.
Bellator attorney: "I'm representing to the court that yes, we have a major fight lined up" for #Alvarez— Mike Chiappetta MMA (@MikeChiappetta) January 25, 2013
I'm curious to know what that could be. There is only one actual "major fight" for Alvarez in Bellator and that's a rematch with Chandler. I don't know what else they could offer that qualifies as "major."
Decision on #Alvarez will be made later today. Either judge will grant injunction allowing him to fight at UFC 159, or court process goes on— Mike Chiappetta MMA (@MikeChiappetta) January 25, 2013
We'll have an update once the decision is actually made, so stay tuned.