(Photo via Tracy Lee/CombatLifestyle.com)
The rivalry between Bellator lightweights Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler has already produced a 2011 Fight of the Year candidate and Bellator’s most-watched broadcast of all time. It would be insane if the promotion didn’t try to pair these two up for a rubber-match in 2014. So yeah, that’s happening.
On Friday, Bellator revealed that Alvarez and Chandler are already filming promos for the fight, which doesn’t have an official date or venue at this point. Shortly afterwards, MMAFighting published a video interview with Alvarez, in which the Bellator 155-pound champ told Ariel Helwani that he believed the fight would headline a pay-per-view card:
“We weren’t able to do the first one on pay-per-view, and I definitely want to headline a pay-per-view card, and we get an opportunity to do that. What better way to do that than to have one of the best trilogies in MMA history? Why not fight the guy three times, four times, five times? Who cares? It’s a hell of a fight every time.”
The November 2013 rematch between Alvarez and Chandler was originally supposed to be the co-main event of a Bellator pay-per-view show headlined by Tito Ortiz vs. Quinton Jackson, but then Ortiz got injured and pulled out, the pay-per-view was canceled, and Alvarez vs. Chandler 2 was slotted as the headliner of a free Bellator show on Spike — which became must-see TV, thanks in part to all the attention generated by the doomed PPV.
I’m halfway-convinced that this was Bellator’s plan all along. (They couldn’t have possibly expected Ortiz and Rampage to stay healthy, right?) At any rate, it all worked out for the best. Alvarez won a narrow split-decision after five rounds, avenging his previous submission loss against Chandler, and over a million viewers tuned in to see it.
We already know that MMA fans will show up to watch Alvarez and Chandler beat the crap out of each other when it’s aired on cable. The question is, are you willing to pay $34.95 for a fight that was already given away twice for free?