Eddie Alvarez vs. Bellator: Legal Battle Broken Down for Dummies

Written by Tom Ngo
January 10th, 2013

Bellator Eddie Alvarez

Eddie Alvarez (Pictured) completed his contractual obligations with Bellator Fighting Championships to become MMA’s hottest free agent after posterizing Patricky Freire in October. So, why doesn’t the lightweight have any fights lined up three months later?

Well, the “ugly” contract dispute UFC president Dana White alluded to regarding Alvarez and his most recent employer has become just that. Alvarez and Bellator are currently suing each other.

Based on the fine print at the bottom of his original Bellator agreement, the promotion is afforded 14 days to match any offer that comes cross Alvarez’s table. Bellator believes it has matched the UFC’s offer to Alvarez – dollar for dollar, term for term, provision for provision, etc. – but the 29-year-old superstar contends that’s not the case.

SI.com sifted through the mound of documents to help clarify matters, and we took it a step further to simplify the legal mumbo jumbo for dummies such as ourselves.

UFC contract offer:

$250,000 signing bonus paid over first three fights ($85,000, $85,000 and $80,000)

Eight-fight deal: $70,000 to show/$70,000 to win

Goes up in $5,000 increments following each Alvarez win, topping off at $105k/$105k in eighth bout IF he won previous seven

Pay-per-view incentives (First title fight and subsequent defenses): $1 per buy between 200,000-400,000, $2 per buy between 400,000-600,000 and $2.50 per buy over 600,000

Television appearances: Guaranteed one “UFC on FOX” fight and three commentator appearances on UFC-branded events he’s not competing in

Bellator contract offer:

Same as UFC, except for TV appearances.

With Bellator, Alvarez gets $25,000 for Spike TV behind-the-scenes special about him, $100,000 to coach season-two on Bellator’s reality TV show (IF he won back lightweight title before then) and a one-time hosting gig on Spike’s “Road to the Championship” series.

Points of Contention:

FOX vs. Spike TV:

Alvarez - The exposure he would receive on FOX (free national broadcast) is far greater than on Spike (basic cable network). That’s not matching.

Bellator - Spike is in 100 million homes and FOX is in 110 million homes. They can replay Alvarez’s fights during primetime on Spike to match exposure.

Potential UFC PPV vs. Potential Bellator PPV:

Bellator - Vague verbiage in UFC contract. UFC “intends” to have Alvarez challenge for title in first fight, but his debut is not guaranteed to be a championship bout nor on PPV. Actually, Alvarez isn’t guaranteed any PPV spots with UFC. How can Bellator match something that might or might not happen?

Alvarez – Doesn’t matter because Bellator isn’t “matching” UFC’s offer. They have never carried a PPV event in their four-year existence, and as recently as December’s media call, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney stated they have “no definitive plans” to hold one. Even if they did, there’s no way it would generate the sales a UFC PPV would where Alvarez could reach any PPV incentives.

The votes in the court of public opinion are being casted with each passing hour. Now it’s time for the legal system to iron this out.

My former boss used to always tell me that the worst thing a company can have on its hands is a disgruntled employee. Hard to believe Alvarez’s picture will ever be hanging on Bellator’s ‘Employee of the Month’ wall if things go south.

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