Mike Chiappetta, MMA Fighting
In the wake of the former Bellator champion announcing that he's being sued by the company, CEO Bjorn Rebney revealed many new details of their negotiations.
As we reported Monday afternoon, Lightweight Eddie Alvarez is currently facing a law suit from his former employer Bellator FC. Eddie fought the final fight left on his contract in October and chose not to immediately re-sign with Bellator. He received an offer from the UFC in December that Bellator chose invoke their matching rights.
The matching rights gave Bellator the option to provide an offer equal to the UFC's and, since they did, Eddie is obligated to sign with them. However, Alvarez stressed numerous times in his interview on The MMA Hour, that he and his management do not believe Bellator came close to actually matching the UFC's contract.
Shortly after the Alvarez interview, MMA Weekly gave Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney's side of the story:
I’ve got wild respect for Ed. In our contract with Ed, exactly like the UFC has in their contracts, we have the right to match. Ed went out and got an offer from the UFC, and we took a look at that offer, reviewed it for about eight days, and decided to match it dollar for dollar, deal point for deal point, term for term. We matched every single element of it, word for word.
We matched the deal, and literally just signed it and sent it to him. Because that’s what our contract requires us to do, we matched it and sent it to him signed. So if he were to send it back signed, we’d be off and running and we could start looking at scheduling; we could start figuring out what’s next immediately.
MMA Fighting followed up with Rebney to get some more details. He confirmed what many thought was the issue in that Eddie was offered a percentage of the pay-per-view revenue by the UFC:
"I will tell you point blank, no questions asked, we matched it dollar for dollar, term for term and section for section," he said. "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. 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."
"There is no guaranteed pay-per-view in the UFC offer to Eddie Alvarez," he says emphatically. "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."
The main bullet points of the 40-page UFC offer to Alvarez was a $250,000 signing bonus and a $70,000 fight purse with a $70,000 win bonus for his first fight, with salaries escalating over the life of the deal. The contract was to cover a span of 40 months or eight fights, whichever occurred earlier.
In short, Alvarez's complaint is that he'd be losing out on the potential earnings he'd make for fighting on a UFC pay-per-view if he signs with Bellator. That's understandable as it would be a substantial amount of his income for those appearances. However, as Rebney pointed out, Eddie's not guaranteed to appear on a PPV event and could hypothetically fight on free TV instead. So, as that money isn't guaranteed, it's not on Bjorn or Bellator to match it.
As for how long Alvarez could be out of action, Rebney said he's got a $250K check ready to send and would begin scheduling a bout immediate if Eddie signs the Bellator contract.