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?