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Tag: free agency

Bellator Grants Eddie Alvarez Unconditional Release, Alvarez vs. Cerrone Booked for UFC 178 [UPDATED]


(Photo via Ryan Loco)

Eddie Alvarez is a free man. According to a press release sent out by Bellator this afternoon, the promotion has granted the lightweight star his unconditional release, after a rocky history of contract disputes, lawsuits and reconciliations dating back to late 2012. In the end, Bellator president Scott Coker didn’t want to keep Eddie around if he didn’t want to be there. Check out the official statement below:

Newport Beach, Calif. (August 19, 2014)Bellator President Scott Coker has released a statement regarding Eddie Alvarez:

“We’ve granted Eddie his unconditional release. Eddie is free to explore the free agent market, we hold no matching rights, and we wish him the best in the future. We sat down with Eddie and his team a few times, and it became pretty clear early on that he just wasn’t interested in fighting for Bellator in the future. We want guys in this organization that want to be here, and after the history Eddie and the former regime had here at Bellator, we decided to move on. We wish Eddie the absolute best of luck with whatever is next for him. It’s a new chapter for everyone involved.”

Eddie Alvarez has also released a statement:

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Gilbert Melendez Re-Signs With UFC, Will Fight Anthony Pettis for Lightweight Title Following ‘TUF 20′ Coaching Gig


(Melendez tags Diego Sanchez during their three-round dogfight in October. / Photo via Getty)

Gilbert Melendez is officially back in the UFC — and he’ll be getting another lightweight title shot later this year. According to a press release distributed last night, Melendez has agreed to a new contract with the UFC, and will challenge reigning champ Anthony Pettis for his belt after the two 155-pounders appear as rival coaches on The Ultimate Fighter 20: The Strawweights. The season will begin filming in May, and will premiere on FOX Sports 1 on September 10th. The date and venue for Pettis vs. Melendez haven’t been announced yet.

Outside of the TUF gig, which almost seems like punishment, Melendez’s brief flirtation with free agency couldn’t have gone any better. Before Bellator tried to snap him up, Melendez was being offered high-risk, low-reward fights against undefeated Russians in the UFC, along with contract terms that were clearly less than he was hoping for. Now, his price has been pumped up in a bidding war, and he’ll be strolling right back into a title fight. (It seems likely that Bellator offered Melendez an immediate title shot themselves, and the UFC was forced to match this perk in order to secure a new contract for El Niño.)

And so, the UFC hangs on to one of the most talented and entertaining lightweights in the world, and the fans get to keep watching Melendez on MMA’s biggest stage. The only loser here is Bjorn Rebney, who was thrilled at the prospect of having Melendez on his roster, only to have the UFC re-sign him, basically out of spite. Ah well. At least he can comfort himself with the fact that he performed a very important role in the marketplace.

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Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson Is the Hottest Free Agent in MMA — And the Most Over-Hyped


(In case you missed it, here’s what Rumble did to Mike Kyle on Saturday. Props: Arquivo El)

By Scott Sawitz

What a weird, wild ride it’s been for Anthony “Rumble” Johnson for the past 18 months. He’s gone from being a welterweight prospect with an insanely high ceiling (and an even bigger weight cut), to a high-profile UFC castoff, to a star for the fledgling World Series of Fighting promotion at light-heavyweight. After his spectacular knockout of journeyman Mike Kyle on Saturday night — which fulfilled the last fight on his WSOF contract — there was plenty of speculation among the MMA community on where he’d end up next.

Somehow, Rumble Johnson has become the hottest free agent since Hector Lombard. The WSOF, the UFC, or Bellator (or maybe all three) is going to offer him a big money deal because of one thing: Anthony Johnson is the only unsigned light-heavyweight in the world right now who looks like he could be a relevant fighter in the top tier of the 205-pound division. But the reality is, that’s only because he hasn’t had to face anyone that would suggest otherwise; the current buzz around Johnson wasn’t exactly built on quality of competition.

Bloody Elbow’s Mookie Alexander wrote a terrific piece on why the UFC needs Johnson, if only to bolster its dwindling, aging LHW roster, but I’d argue that Johnson isn’t the sort of high-profile fighter we think he is right now. You could never call him “elite” because he hasn’t fought anyone of note (with the possible exception of Andrei Arlovski, who he fought at heavyweight). In his best moments, Johnson looks like he could actually pass for a UFC title contender, but that could also be the result of some kind matchmaking by World Series of Fighting and Johnson’s management team.

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Six Reasons Why MMA is Going to Change Forever in 2013


(Do women in the UFC represent a new path to the future, or business as usual? Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting)

By Brian J. D’Souza

There have been many landmark events in MMA history — the inception of the UFC in 1993, the debut of The Ultimate Fighter in 2005, the fall of PRIDE in 2007, and the acquisition of Strikeforce in 2011. As 2013 gets underway, it’s already becoming apparent that the sport is undergoing a series of events that will change it forever.

THE DISSOLUTION OF STRIKEFORCE

On March 12, 2011, Zuffa acquired Strikeforce. Although the San Jose-based promotion was subsequently stripped of many of its best fighters, television network Showtime opted to renew their broadcast deal with the promotion — until now. The January 13, 2013 show headlined by Nate Marquardt vs. Tarec Saffiedine will be the promotion’s death knell, as the name “Strikeforce” takes its final resting place in the cemetery next to Affliction, WEC, PRIDE, Elite XC, BodogFight, and the IFL.

There were obvious benefits in Zuffa stringing Showtime along as a broadcast partner of the increasingly-diluted Strikeforce brand: It kept Showtime from seeking a new promoter, independent of Zuffa, to partner with. Currently, promotions like Shark Fights, Legacy Fighting Championship, Invicta FC, and Xtreme Fighting Championships are in the running as potential broadcast partners for Showtime. For the winning promotion(s), mainstream television exposure on CBS might also be possible, just as CBS aired Strikeforce events in the past.

However, no matter which promotion Showtime airs, the most significant component of the deal comes down to what brand-name fighters can be acquired to get better ratings and more subscribers for Showtime.

THE RISE OF BELLATOR

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