Former President Clinton once made infamous the phrase, “It depends on what your definition of the word ’is’ is,” while answering questions from the Independent Counsel’s office on the all-important subject of Monica Lewinsky. With former Bellator lightweight champion/UFC hopeful Eddie Alvarez and his boss, Bjorn Rebney, the discrepancy appears to depend on what one’s definition of the word “matched” is.
It has been no secret that the UFC wants Alvarez under their banner. The top lightweight fought the last fight under his Bellator contract last October but the promotion has the right to match any contract offered to Alvarez and thus keep him with them.
The UFC did indeed recently make an offer to Alvarez, but it is here where the stories from the former champ and the Bellator CEO begin to differ.
First, Alvarez sat down with The MMA Hour and claimed that Bellator had not matched the UFC’s proposed terms. Rebney then went on MMA Weekly Radio and said that his organization had, in fact, matched the UFC’s contract offer to Alvarez, point for point.
And then things got really awkward.
“Everyone’s heard that Bellator has matched and whatnot. It’s a difficult situation,” Alvarez stated. “We went to settlement a couple days ago. We had a settlement meeting where everything was supposed to get worked out. I was sued maybe 30 minutes after that. There’s a lot of tension in the air. We don’t believe it was matched at all. I wanted to give details but I can’t because we’re in the middle of a pending lawsuit. ”
Rebney denied that Bellator did not match the UFC’s contract offer to Alvarez, saying, “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.”
Well, Taters, I’m no lawyer and I don’t play one on TV, but it would appear that either Rebney or Alvarez are lying their asses off here. If Bellator actually copied and pasted the UFC’s offer to Alvarez, we’re not sure how Alvarez could reasonably not see that Bellator had matched the UFC’s contract [Ed note: Based on what I've read, it appears that the biggest discrepancy seems to be in the PPV figures Alvarez was offered by both parties. Whereas the UFC, you know, actually hosts PPV's which Alvarez could cash in on, Bellator's PPV proposal seems more hypothetical than anything. -Danga]. The only good thing that could come from Bellator suing Alvarez is that the contract offers may very well become public information before a court and it might become plain to see who is in the right.
With Rebney and Bellator’s penchant for playing tough with free-agent fighters and then playing it loose and fast with the facts in the media [Ed note: For examples of this, see Tyson Nam and Jay Hieron], Alvarez might be the safer bet to side with for now. One thing is certain, Michael Chandler has to be wondering what he has to do to get his own bidding war between Bellator and the UFC.