This past Saturday night saw Bellator's freshman PPV effort, and despite many dreary forecasts of complete disaster (myself included), I felt they put out a fairly entertaining card. I've spent more for a rival promotion's PPV event and gotten less value, so you won't get a complaint from me.
The fight that stood out most to me, and probably the most significant one on the card, was Will Brooks vs Michael Chandler. "Ill" Will stepped up on extremely short notice-less than a week-to replace the injured champion, Eddie Alvarez, and put on a rock solid performance, edging out a very close split decision win over Chandler.
The unusual thing about the fight, was that despite Alvarez only being out for a week, Bellator decided to make this bout for an interim title. Obviously, the logic behind this would dictate that there would be more interest in a title fight, but it still gave the impression they don't take their titles very seriously. Remember, in Bellator, title shots are earned...or are they?
Immediately following the event, Bellator president, Bjorn Rebney went on record to say that Alvarez could demand to fight Chandler instead of Brooks for his next outing in the cage. Alvarez disagrees with Rebney's statement, and gave a quick interview to Bloody Elbow to set the record straight. Here's what Eddie had to say:
Bloody Elbow: What did you think of the Brooks/Chandler fight?
Eddie Alvarez: My initial reaction was that the fight was even, and if I had to give it to either guy, I'd give it to Brooks. The fight was super close, and I'd have to go back and watch it again before I made a more definitive decision on who won for sure.
Bloody Elbow: Bjorn Rebney said that you could demand to fight Michael Chandler if you wanted to, that it's stipulated in your contract. Who would you prefer to fight?
Eddie Alvarez: For the record, I've never, ever picked an opponent. I've always had my opponents selected for me by the promotion. I've never had a preference. I was simply told who I was fighting, and I fought them.
I want to be clear on this, whatever was written into my contract, was written by Bellator. I made no changes at all to the contract. If it says that I have to fight Mike Chandler again, that's because Bellator wants it that way.
I think it's only fair and right, just in the way things should go in a promotion, for me to fight Will Brooks. To me, that's the right way to go. I don't want to be a part of this whole debacle. It's very messy, and it just doesn't feel right that a guy has an interim belt, yet I'm supposed to fight another guy coming off a loss to the guy with the interim belt.
Will Brooks should be the guy they put me in front of for my next fight. Just know that whoever is picked, whoever I end up fighting, it was never my decision. Don't let anyone tell you any differently, it's not my decision and it never was.
Bloody Elbow: What was the whole deal with making the fight for an interim title?
Eddie Alvarez: That may be the first time in the history of MMA that was ever done. When we went to them after I suffered the concussion, I told them, it wasn't going to be months that I would be out, that it would just be about 6 weeks or so. The timing was unfortunate, but it wasn't an injury that was going to set me back several months.
Knowing that I wouldn't be out for very long, they still went ahead and set up an interim title. That was unprecedented. That was the fastest interim title I've ever seen instituted [laughs].
Bloody Elbow: Did you see Will Brooks' Twitter rant, and if so, what are your thoughts on it?
Eddie Alvarez: I feel bad for him. They say if you win the tournament, you get a shot at the champion. Not only did he not get a shot at the champion, he stepped in late, did everything he was supposed to do, won an interim belt, and now he still don't get a shot.
More than anything else, I want to get this point across, I actually prefer to fight Will Brooks. It will be more exciting for me than to fight the same guy three times in a row. If I ever were given a preference, it would be to fight Will. Training for the same guy three times running stinks. The thing is, it will never be up to me who I get to fight. I will fight whoever they put in front of me. That's how it's always been, and that's how it will always be.
Bloody Elbow: What did you think of Chandler's performance? Do you think he took Brooks too lightly?
Eddie Alvarez: I think Mike was hurt going into that fight.
Bloody Elbow: Kenny Monday was recently released from his contract with the Blackzilians. What are your thoughts on that?
Eddie Alvarez: I learned a lot from Kenny, and he helped me in many different ways. The whole situation is kind of over my head, but it's my understanding that he had some internal issues with other team members, his relationship with other members of the team wasn't the same as the one I had with him.
Bloody Elbow: Will your next fight be a PPV bout or will it just be an ordinary SPIKE card?
Eddie Alvarez: Yeah, it's definitely going to be a PPV fight. I only say that because they've already disclosed that information to the public.
Bloody Elbow: It must be a great relief to you that your contract fell under the old language, and since then, the new contracts are much more ironclad and binding as far as extensions go.
Eddie Alvarez: [Laughs] I didn't sign a contract this last time. People have a misconception about that. I signed an out of court settlement. The old contract was hard for me to deal with, but I'm certainly glad that I'm signed to that one instead of the new ones with all the extension provisions.
You can follow Eddie via his Twitter account, @EAlvarezFight