After Will Brooks defeated Michael Chandler to earn the interim Bellator lightweight title at UFC 120, Brooks looked into the camera and addressed Bellator lightweight champion, Eddie Alvarez, "Alvarez, get healthy. I'm looking for you. Get healthy, and stay healthy." After the fight, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said that Brooks may be looking for Alvarez for quite a while.
Alvarez (25-3) was originally scheduled to fight Chandler (12-2) in the main event of Bellator 120, Bellator's first pay-per-view event, but a concussion during training camp forced Alvarez to withdraw from the fight a week prior to the fight. Brooks (14-1), the winner of Bellator's season 9 lightweight tournament stepped in on short notice to face Chandler for the interim lightweight title.
In a closely contested battle on Saturday night, Brooks received the split decision nod (48-46, 47-48, 48-47) over Chandler, but he may not get his desired shot to unify the Bellator lightweight titles right away.
Speaking to MMAFighting.com, Rebney said, "Ed's contract specifies that Ed can demand a Chandler fight. So, it puts us in a very interesting position now."
Alvarez was involved in an ugly and prolonged contract dispute with Bellator when he tested the free agent market in 2012. The UFC offered Alvarez a deal, which Alvarez accepted, but was then matched by Bellator. Questions over Bellator's matching language led to the courts becoming involved, and the spat between the parties lasted well into 2013.
Alvarez eventually opted to re-sign with Bellator, and according to Rebney, Alvarez has the option to turn down the Brooks fight and face Chandler, "As per our settlement agreement."
The next step in the process, according to Rebney, "We're going to have to go to Ed. We're going to have to talk to him about it. We're going to have to see where his head is. He could conceptually demand a Michael Chandler fight even with Mike coming off of a loss to Will Brooks."
Alvarez and Chandler have fought twice in the past. In their 2011 meeting, Chandler submitted Alvarez by rear naked choke to claim the Bellator lightweight title. In the second meeting, in 2013, Alvarez reclaimed the title with a split decision victory.
At this point, it is unknown when Alvarez will be cleared to train for his next fight.