Bellator recently announced its first-ever pay-per-view (PPV) event, which will feature two big names in mixed martial arts (MMA) -- regardless of decade -- former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) champions, Tito Ortiz and Quinton Jackson, in the main event of the evening.
But, what about the promotion's biggest organic star, Eddie Alvarez?
Alvarez has been mired in an ugly contractual dispute with Bellator for the past six months, unable to break free after the "match" clause in his Bellator deal was exercised. He has disputed the legal language and is scheduled to return to the court room for a pretrial conference date no earlier than Sept. 15, 2013. And even if he gets a hearing the very next day, it wouldn't leave much wiggle room for Alvarez to prepare for a bout on Nov. 2, 2013, at Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center in Long Beach, California.
The good news is that Alvarez and Bellator continue to negotiate a resolution, according to his manager, Glenn Robinson (via MMAFighting.com):
"We're not there yet, but hoping we can come together [on a settlement]."
Robinson wouldn't discuss whether there was a chance Alvarez could fight on Bellator's inaugural PPV. In addition, he also wouldn't specify whether he was hoping the settlement would be a new Bellator deal or one that let Alvarez free to sign with UFC.
However, Alvarez has indicated that he would be open to fighting for Bellator, which is more than eager to book him in a rematch opposite Lightweight champion Michael Chandler. In fact, he verbally agreed to the high-profile bout -- perhaps the biggest one imaginable on its current roster --as long as his release would be granted afterward.
But, that offer was shot down.
Alvarez last competed at Bellator 76 in Oct. 2012, defeating Patricky Freire via first-round knockout. It marked the final fight on his Bellator contract. Chandler, meanwhile, most recently sent caveman David Rickels back to the Stone Age via knockout.
Even though Bellator and its powerful parent company, Viacom, seem hellbent on sending UFC a strong message, it might be wise to negotiate a deal that is in the best interests of both parties, as well as mixed martial arts (MMA) fans. Indeed, Michael Chandler vs. Eddie Alvarez 2 would undoubtedly make Bellator 106 infinitely more attractive based on their insane initial encounter back in Nov. 2011 (re-live the madness here).
It's a fight fans want to see. One that many would be willing to pay $35 to $45 on PPV.