Obviously, this is not a current picture of Eddie Alvarez (pictured) smiling. The lightweight has finally reached a settlement with Bellator MMA, and while Bellator may have won the legal battle to keep the sport’s hottest free agent, they now have on their hands a disgruntled employee who could have made more money and enjoyed greater exposure had he been allowed to join the UFC.
On Tuesday morning, Bellator issued a press release announcing Alvarez will co-headline their first pay-per-view broadcast against reigning lightweight champ Michael Chandler. The rematch goes down November 2 inside Long Beach Arena in Long Beach, California.
A light heavyweight scrap between former UFC champions Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Tito Ortiz headlines the PPV.
Bellator’s email did not address the terms on Alvarez’s new contract. It did, of course, include generic quotes from all significant parties.
“I still lose sleep over my loss to Chandler, and I want it off my record,” Alvarez stated. “This was a long process, but at the end of the day I’m back with Bellator and I’m happy to get back in the cage. I really believe everything happens for a reason, and at the end of the day my family and I are happy, and I’m ready to get my belt back on November.”
Chandler submitted Alvarez in an instant classic two years ago to steal his lightweight crown. That upset special marked Chandler’s official coming out party and he hasn’t looked back since.
“Without sounding too disrespectful, when I fought Eddie the first time in 2011, I didn’t even know what it meant to be an MMA fighter,” Chandler said. “Two years later, I’ve grown so much as a mixed martial artist, and there isn’t a doubt in my mind on November 2, my hand will be raised and the belt will be around my waist. I have full confidence that I can take this fight wherever I want, whenever I want because I didn’t even show much of my wrestling in that last fight and I was able to beat him just with my standup.
“My ground game has always been there, and I’ve taken my striking to a whole new level since the last time we met. I feel like I have more experience under my belt, I’m wiser, stronger, and have had so much time in the gym trying to become the best fighter I can be.”
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney vaguely touched on the Alvarez drama in his statement, but primarily focused on his excitement in arranging the sequel between the 155-pounders.
“I’ve been cageside for more live fights than almost anyone on the planet,” Rebney shared. “Without question, Chandler vs. Alvarez was the best MMA fight I’ve ever seen. I’m excited to be able to deliver this rematch to MMA fans. It’s been a long time coming and we’ve had to jump over a lot of hurdles to get this done, but from the day we announced our PPV I promised fans that this card was going to be the deepest we’ve ever done, and we are well on our way. This is just the start.”
If you would like a recap of Alvarez’s contractual issues with Bellator, please click HERE.