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The Saga Continues: Bjorn Rebney Spills the Beans Regarding Eddie Alvarez Debacle and It’s Kind of Hilarious

(In the words of my life coach, “If you ask me one more fucking question about that fucking joke Eddie Alvarez, I will fuck you like you’ve never been fucked before.”) 

The drama continues to unfold in the Eddie Alvarez/UFC/Bellator love triangle that last saw Bjorn Rebney and Co. break go Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer on their former lightweight champion’s ass. And as Bill Shakespeare would tell you himself, no love triangle would be complete without a little dash of comedy. Enter Rebney, who recently attempted to shed some light on the convoluted goatscrew that (Bellator) negotiations oft become in a recent interview with BloodyElbow radio. When Rebney previously told reporters that he had matched the UFC’s offer on Alvarez “word for word,” the general consensus seemed to be that Rebney was simply speaking in hyperbole, for how could Bellator match the pay-per-view stipulations of the UFC’s contract when they don’t in fact broadcast pay-per-view events to begin with?

Well, it turns out that — at least according to the man himself — Rebney was not tugging our respective dicks when he said “word for word”:

I didn’t anticipate that the UFC would come in where they came in. They came in at a dollar figure in terms of the $250,000 signing bonus and the $70,000 plus $70,000 and some of the terms that we felt very comfortable matching. To avoid any questioning, to avoid any conflict, we literally took the UFC contract, took it out of a PDF format and we changed the UFC name to Bellator and we signed it and we sent it back to Ed. 

Call me unrealistic, but I’d like to believe that Rebney signed his name in poo, or at least wiped his ass with the reprinted contract before sending it back to Eddie. And then when Alvarez flipped to the last page of this foul smelling document, there was a photo of Rebney, performing said act of asswhipery. Because those are the kinds of shenanigans that people who don’t give a fuck are wont to do.

Now, I know less about contract stipulations/negotiations than I do about sexual harassment in the workplace (according to Break’s HR department, at least), but has anyone ever heard of this kind of maneuver being pulled with hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line before? Clearly Bjorn was surprised by how apparently low of an offer Alvarez received, but damn, I put more effort into the articles I copy/paste together for a living. This one, for instance.

And indeed, it was the lowball offer Alvarez received that in turn led to the current dispute between promotions:

The reality of the situation is Eddie and I had a really good working relationship for four years. I would hazard to even say we had a good friendship going for a lot of years. The last couple weeks have not been the highlight, the high water mark of that relationship. We entered into a contract with Eddie. In that contract, just like in the UFC deal, there’s what’s called a matching provision and what that means is when the contract comes to an end, you’ve got the right as the promoter that had the contract with the fighter to match it. What that requires is that you match all the material terms of the deal.

If Eddie had been presented with a Hector Lombard type of deal, I told Eddie after his fight with us where he knocked out Patricky Pitbull, he and I sat and had a drink, spent some time together after the fight. I said, ‘Look, dude. If you get a Hector deal, I’m just gonna wish you the best of luck, I’m gonna be your big fan and I’m gonna root for ya and I’ll just let you go. I’m not gonna match that deal because I don’t think we can monetize that deal.’

According to Rebney, it was actually Alvarez who filed the lawsuit first, not the other way around. I’ll allow this poster of the 1991 Kevin Bacon vehicle “He Said, She Said” to clarify what is going on here for any of you slow learners.

We scheduled a call last week and there were a series of attorneys, I think five or six for Ed and it was me and my partner on the phone and we talked through it and we recognized by the tone of what happened last week as did Ed’s team. I’m sure that it was headed in a bad direction. They indicated to us that they weren’t going to accept the match. It wasn’t 30 minutes after the call ended, it was 42 and Ed’s team filed a lawsuit against us in New Jersey and we filed a lawsuit against them. The lawsuits are not lawsuits because we dislike Ed. They just say, ‘Hey, we’re trying to enforce our contractual rights,’ and they’re lawsuit, which I have not yet read because I do not have a copy of it, I don’t know what it says but I’m assuming it makes whatever their claim is relative to not wanting the match to abide but they filed on us literally, I think it was within an hour of the phone call ending.

And as far as those pesky pay-per-view numbers Alvarez had been promised by both parties? Turns out, the UFC’s figures/points were just as hypothetical as Bellator’s. Again, according to Rebney.

The way that it would work is this: When you look at these contracts, what we are obligated to do, as per our matching rights just like what the UFC is obligated to do with their matching rights is you have to match any element of the contract that is guaranteed. So if the UFC says they’re gonna give Eddie Alvarez a $250,000 signing bonus and they say, ‘This is when the signing bonus will be paid,’ we have to do the same. If the UFC says, ‘We’re gonna pay you $70,000 to show and $70,000 to win, provided you are declared the winner of the bout by the applicable athletic commission blah, blah, blah,’ we have to provide that exact same opportunity for Ed.

So that’s the essence of what the matching is. There is no guarantee of pay-per-view in any way, shape or form in the agreement that was sent by the UFC. We’re held to the level of having to match a guarantee. We’re not held to a level of having to guarantee or having to match what was projected or what might happen. I think that’s the key misunderstanding. It’s not a matter of what could or might happen, it’s a matter of what’s guaranteed under the contract and that’s clearly understood and clearly the way it’s written.

Definitely an interesting development in what has quickly become one of the more prominent pieces of news currently floating around the MMA landscape.

Rebney went on to say that he harbored no ill-will towards Eddie and hoped that his promotion and the former champ could reconcile their differences in time for Bellator’s upcoming Spike debut. Rebney also stated that he was hopeful to try and book a rematch of Alvarez and the man who took his belt, Michael Chandler, somewhere down the line should Alvarez end up back in Bellator. In my opinion, this would be the only silver lining in the scenario where Alvarez sticks with Bellator. If I could tread so lightly, I would go as far as to say that the pair’s first fight sat atop Dan Henderson and Mauricio Rua‘s epic brawl at UFC 139 on my end of the year list, but that is neither here nor there.

But what say you, Potato Nation? Is Alvarez worth all the trouble? Or should Bellator simply let him go, being that he clearly wants no part of their business anymore?

-J. Jones

Cagepotato Comments

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JoseMonkey- January 10, 2013 at 5:54 am
I don't blame Alvarez for that this position here, but it seems pretty clear to me from a contractual standpoint. Bellator has a matching option in the contract, they exercised that option. Legally, Alvarez doesn't really have a leg to stand on -- it doesn't matter if the UFC lowballed him (which is their right, and understandable given the circumstances) or if he'd likely make more PPV money with the UFC.

Frankly, I think the UFC, Bellator, and Alvarez are all acting reasonably and with their own self-interest in mind, but Alvarez just happens to be on the wrong side of the legally binding contract with his position.
Anhonestmoose- January 9, 2013 at 10:03 pm
I'm going to assume the fabled "locker room bonuses" have something to do with it as well.
Mr_Misanthropy- January 9, 2013 at 7:38 pm
Lombard had the belt and a better record when he left Bellator. The Lombard hype trane didn't derail until his first UFC appearrance. It was cruising when he left Bella-can. Alvarez is a great fighter and a good draw but has lost his belt and doesn't have anywhere near the mystique Lombard possessed when he went over. Alvarez is a great fighter but Lombard has 18 first round stoppages. I think Alvarez is much better off with the UFC because of the potential upside. If you keep winning in the UFC you keep getting paid more and more. 70 + 70k plus PPV is not a bad place to start off with them, especially if you start climbing the ranks. Think if he does well and starts banking 40-65k bonuses.
Pen Fifteen- January 9, 2013 at 7:07 pm
Well, the case of Hector Lombard suggests you can pretend it exist...if it doesn't exist. If there were a "flat fee in lieu of PPV," then it would be included as part of the guaranteed numbers. A PPV cut is an incentive to get the dude to perform well, and thus help the company sell PPVs, which is their main revenue source. If it were an "either/or" proposition, the very idea of a PPV cut would be pointless.
agentsmith- January 10, 2013 at 7:47 am
@Pen Fifteen:
But on the flipside, what's to stop them from signing you to a PPV deal and then only putting you on free shows to save money? Keep in mind there's still a separate bout agreement that's signed before every match, and I'm curious if there'd be an "in lieu" deal at that time.
Mike_Goldberg- January 9, 2013 at 3:56 pm
These percs got me fuuucked yo... What's all this about
agentsmith- January 9, 2013 at 3:30 pm
He's splitting some pretty fine hairs here. True, the PPV cut isn't guaranteed income, but you can't just pretend it doesn't exist either. Which also makes me wonder what happens to guys who get a PPV cut when they fight on a free card... you'd think there'd have to be some kind of flat fee in lieu of the PPV money, but who knows.
Alan K- January 9, 2013 at 3:25 pm
So how much was Eddie making in his last Bellator contract?
towelie- January 9, 2013 at 3:00 pm
i'm sure Lombard got a better deal because of the knock out power he possesses, and plus UFC is a lot more stacked at LW right now than MW. they just absorbed a ton of talent from the WEC, Melendez is waiting to cross over, and Eddie just became available. I don't think the UFC needed to make a killer offer hear and they knew it.
JDS One Good Ear- January 9, 2013 at 2:55 pm
Wow, Bellator seems like they might be in the right on this one. Thats the she said though, what's he say?
biohazardone- January 9, 2013 at 2:51 pm
Eddie is stuck between a rock and a hard place. A decision such as this is very difficult. On one side you have the UFC which is mainstream and the place to be for an MMA fighter such as Eddie. On the down side, the UFC has gotten so big that it is almost like a meat grider. Fighters are constantly coming in and out of the organization and one's future is always uncertain. With Bellator, he is a proven champion and will likely have a job for a long time...or at least till Bellator goes belly up or gets boughten out or absorbed by the UFC. My advice would be to stick it out with Bellator cuz eventually you will still end up in the UFC anyways. This way nobodies feelings get hurt.
biohazardone- January 9, 2013 at 2:44 pm
Well, I know the UFC is the GOD of all MMA...well at least they like to think so; however, I think their offer to Eddie is total crap. I mean that is that the best the UFC can do. If I were Eddie I would take it is a slap in the face. I would tell the UFC to go fuck themselves and stay with Bellator where clearly he has formed good relationships and where he is appreciated and actually wanted.
Fried Taco- January 9, 2013 at 2:32 pm
Bellator logo on fighter contracts:
eatthecage- January 9, 2013 at 2:09 pm
Bigger than just Eddie. UFC is trying to set the bar for deals like this moving forward. "Don't sign that match clause you don't want to end up in the situaiton that Alvarez was in!"
knucklesamitch- January 9, 2013 at 1:49 pm
This is fairly easy to understand. Bjorn is right. There's no way to match hypothetical money. Look at Lombard, he was given PPV points, made his debut on PPV, then fight on FX, and his next fight is on FUEL. Lombard isn't making any PPV money even though it's "in his contract". All Rebney has to do is hypothetically offer Alvarez PPV points should Bellator ever decide to go the PPV route. If Bellator forms a successful relationship with SPIKE, PPV is probably not that unrealistic.
Fried Taco- January 9, 2013 at 1:45 pm
So that gif going around of "Ultimate Bellator Championship" written in UFC font is real!