If mixed martial arts were any other professional sport, UFC president Dana White would likely be charged with tampering. For the second time in as many UFC events, White expressed his interest in signing current Bellator lightweight Eddie Alvarez (Pictured).
However, instead of just thinking out loud like he did in Atlanta, MMA’s head honcho took it one step further this weekend at “UFC on FOX 3” by ensuring Alvarez was seated within earshot so he could court the talented 155-pounder. White also made it a point to mention their seating arrangement during the post-fight press conference.
“Eddie Alvarez was sitting next to me [Saturday night] and he told me, ‘I don’t know if you know this, but Nate Diaz has one of the highest finish percentages in the UFC. In the sport, he’s in the top 10,’” White shared of their conversation. “After the fight ended, he said, ‘I guess it’s 90 percent now.’ But I didn’t know that. Eddie Alvarez told me that.”
Last Thursday at the event’s pre-fight presser, White reiterated his appreciation for Alvarez’s game and his intent to bring “The Silent Assassin” on board once his Bellator contract expires following his next bout.
White isn’t alone in his pursuit of Alvarez. UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta joined in on the action last month by tweeting, “@edalvarezfight hey been meaning to introduce myself,” immediately after Alvarez’s destruction of Shinya Aoki.
This isn’t the first time White has been enamored with an athlete who was signed to a competitor. In June of 2009, White said he wanted to bring Vitor Belfort back to the UFC when his deal with Affliction was still in effect.
At WEC 48 in April 2010, White was sitting cageside with then-Strikeforce middleweight champ Jake Shields – who was a free agent at the time, but Shields was locked in an exclusive negotiating period to re-sign with the UFC’s biggest rival. Shields’ name and record were flashed on the television screen, while White had his arm draped around him and mouthed to the camera, “He’s mine!”
Both fighters ultimately inked contracts to join the planet’s premier MMA promotion. Speaking of signing with the UFC, White recently plucked now-former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard from the free agent market.