Philadelphia native Eddie Alvarez (15-1) has signed on to compete in the Bellator Fighting Championships eight-man lightweight tournament, which is set to begin airing every Saturday night on ESPN Deportes for 12 straight weeks in April 2009.
The former BoDog welterweight champion confirmed earlier this week with iGuillotine.com that the signing with Bellator was indeed official.
Here's the snip:
"The contract is signed and I got my advance."
Alvarez is still under contract with Pro Elite, Adrenaline MMA, Extreme Challenge and DREAM. His unique contract, which rotates between organizations, states that if any of those promoters cannot provide a fight for him that they lose their turn. The Philadelphia native is then free to fight for one of the other promotions.
For that reason, he's not in the same boat as some of the other ex-Pro Elite fighters who are still trying to free themselves from their contracts with the now defunct company.
Alvarez is no stranger to the tournament format. He stole the show three different times during the 2008 DREAM Lightweight Grand Prix tournament in Japan with sensational wins over Andre "Dida" Amade, Joachim Hansen and Tatsuya Kawajiri on his way to a spot in the final against Shinya Aoki.
However, he was forced out of that championship match because of "some swelling" around his eyes he suffered during his semi-final war with Kawajiri. Aoki went on to lose to Hansen -- who was filling in as a replacement -- making Alvarez the only one out of the 16-man field to go through the tournament without a loss.
Before competing for Bellator, he'll first face an unnamed opponent at the Extreme Challenge event at the Tropicana in Atlantic City, N.J., on January 23.
The Bellator Fighting Championships will be the first promotion to bring live MMA events to an ESPN broadcast. During the three month series of events that will be aired on the cable sports network there will also be tournaments in three other weight classes, including middleweight, welterweight and featherweight.
Former Elite XC Featherweight Champion Wilson Reis, welterweight Hector "Shango" Lombard and former WEC middleweight title holder Paulo Filho have all been rumored to be a part of their respective weight classes' tournaments as well for the Bellator Fighting Championships.
Talk about hitting the ground running.