Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez is one of the best mixed martial artists in the game today.
Boasting a record of 22-2, Alvarez has spent the better part of his professional career competing for DREAM and Bellator and has impressive wins over the likes of Roger Huerta, Tatsuya Kawajiri and Joachim Hansen.
There is just one problem: he hasn't had the exposure that many of today's top mixed martial arts stars receive.
But that may all change very soon.
With media conglomerate Viacom buying a large stake in Bellator, Alvarez, along with the rest of the roster, may soon get the exposure that rivals that of the UFC's.
Speaking to Loretta Hunt of SI.com, Bellator's lightweight champion talked about Viacom's purchase as well as the desire to fight more often and also reveals that he wanted to purchase of piece of the Bellator pie.
"Originally, when the UFC purchased Strikeforce, I got very on edge. I called Bjorn Rebney to ask him if there was any possible way that I could buy stake in Bellator. The way the UFC was buying up promotions like that; I didn't want them to come in on Bellator without me being able to capitalize on it."
According to Alvarez, Rebney (Bellator CEO) was open to the idea, but talks never went any further. Soon after, it was announced that Viacom, which is the world's fourth largest media conglomerate behind The Walt Disney Company, Time Warner and News Corporation, had purchased a majority of Bellator's stake.
Alvarez also touched on the frustrations of not fighting on a more regular basis.
"I'd love that. Don't get me wrong, I love the tournament format, but I'd love fighting five times a year. It's hard to do that when we're waiting on a guy to win the tournament. I'm almost tempted to enter another tournament waiting around."
With Viacom now being a majority stake owner, an elated Alvarez feels that everyone will now be able to see how good he and the rest of the Bellator roster really are with their new-found exposure outlet.
"Spike knows what it takes; they know the UFC's production value. They know the UFC's game plan. They're probably going to follow the formula that the UFC does and just tweak it because Bellator has its own flavor with the tournaments. I'd imagine they'll try to create a product that is similar in value when you turn on the TV, but the tournament structure will make it different. You're going to see, and mark my words, I'm going to say it now. Spike TV is behind Bellator now. Watch how good (middleweight champion) Hector Lombard becomes. Watch how good I become. Watch how good (bantamweight champion) Zach Makovsky becomes overnight as soon they start promoting us. Look how excellent of fighters we become. The reality is I'm not any better today than I am tomorrow. It's just more people will know."
Spike will start airing Bellator's bouts in 2013, in the meantime, the world's number two mixed martial arts promotion can currently be seen on MTV2, which is also owned by Viacom.
UFC President Dana White has always been hesitant to say MMA has gone mainstream, however, with the UFC striking a massive deal with FOX and Bellator now under the direction of Viacom, do you feel it's safe to say that mixed martial arts is close to reaching its mainstream potential, if it hasn't already?