At one point, not long ago, it appeared that Eddie Alvarez was on the cusp of a UFC deal. His Bellator contract had ended and rather than sit out the 15-month matching period the promotion pushed the fighter to field other offers by nixing their 90 day exclusive negotiations. For Alvarez, it was an opportunity too good to turn down, and for Bellator it was a shrewd business decision, calculated towards getting an immediate evaluation of the fighters worth on the open market.
It didn't take long for the UFC to make an offer, and for Bellator to match that offer. When Alvarez turned the contract down, Bellator filed a lawsuit. Alvarez counter sued and filed an immediate injunction to allow himself to fight on an upcoming UFC pay-per-view. However, the motion failed, with presiding Judge Linares determining that the potential gains for Alvarez did not constitute justification for him to break the terms of his past arrangements.
Initially, as the dispute played out in legal channels, Rebney expressed his expectations that he and Alvarez would eventually be able to come to an amicable agreement. He released the following statement to MMA Fighting, back in January:
"Ed and I have four years of a good working relationship and about 30 days of not a good relationship," he said. "When you weigh those factors out, there's a very high likelihood we could shake hands and get past it with a fair amount of ease. Ed's in business and as you can see from the numbers, it can be a very lucrative business. I know I can shove off and move forward, put things back in line in short order. I hope Ed can do the same. It may be a long, drawn out fight between the two or something that can be settled relatively quickly. We'll see."
Now after months of legal jockeying it appears that relationships have soured altogether. In a recent interview with MMAjunkie Rebney sounded all but resigned to the fact that if a deal with Alvarez was going to get made it would only happen through the courts.
"I had hope a month ago there was a door opening," Rebney said. "But that door isn't open at this point. So I don't know. The court system is slow and methodical, and we're just going through the process. I don't have any projections of it getting settled at this point because we're not talking. The essence of it is, the promoter is never going to get everything he wants and the fighter is never going to get everything he wants. We have a position that we did everything right legally, and the court has supported us. I thought we were headed down a road (to resolution), and then everything went real dark."
That sounds about as bad as it probably is. Which is to say that these two sides have zero interest in working with each other, outside the reality that Bellator stands to make a reasonable amount of money from Alvarez if they can keep him tied to the promotion. It's hard to say how valuable that relationship could ever truly be considering that Alvarez will probably be an unwilling participant in any promotional duties going forward, but perhaps there will be time to mend fences further down the road.
Meanwhile, it appears that this battle wont be moving forward anytime soon and fans will have to wait quite a while if they want to see Eddie Alvarez fight in either the UFC or Bellator. We'll be sure to keep you updated as the story continues to unfold.