After months of trying to get out from under the Bellator MMA umbrella in order to take his talents to the ranks of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Eddie Alvarez decided enough was enough and re-signed with the Viacom-owned mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion for eight more fights.
Nine months of legal battles filled with lawsuits and injunctions was simply leading to a dead end, according to the former lightweight champion, who says the thought of sitting on the sidelines until 2014 simply wasn't an option.
After seemingly solving all their issues, his team and Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney reached a deal that will see him take part in the promotion's first-ever pay-per-view (PPV) event to rematch Michael Chandler for the 155-pound title.
Still, hearing Alvarez explain his decision to re-sign on "The MMA Hour," one couldn't help but get the sense he isn't 100-percent happy, describing his deal as "fair enough."
"We've been trying to settle since the beginning of this thing. Just, none of the meetings we had really went anywhere. I drew a line in the sand, they drew a line in the sand, and we were sort of butting heads. The thing is, in every relationship there's good, there's bad, and there's ugly. People get a little caught up -- I got a little caught up, I got a little emotional -- and they want to take a side. But really, both sides needed to compromise. We both needed to sit down and really listen to each other and each other's needs, and we were able to do that. They put a deal on the table. It was fair enough."
As far as his relationship with Rebney, Eddie says it is now simply a business venture thanks in large part to all the mudslinging between the two sides.
That's a far cry from the seemingly close bond the two shared a few years back when Alvarez helped Bjorn and Bellator rise to become the major MMA player it is today as one of the promotion's posters boys.
"Are we okay? I don't know. Ask Bjorn. It is what it is. Look, we're in business together. I don't agree with everything that's done, and he doesn't agree with everything that's done, so we're sort of butting heads. That's the nature of this business. When you're at the end of a contract, that's sort of the way things go. I don't know what more can be said. Someone's got to get their way, right? Someone's has to get their way and somebody needs to compromise."
As far as the specifics of his new eight-fight deal, "The Silent Assassin" was just that, silent, as he didn't reveal much. He did, however, say one of his sticking points was to get a rematch against the man who dethroned him as the Bellator lightweight champ two years ago.
"It's not the same deal. There's some differences. I can't get into the details or the structure of the deal. It's just not, it's not what I agreed to. But it's fair to say that I'm happy enough to get work in, and more than anything, just fight Mike Chandler again. I had a shitty night. I think when you're champion, it's okay to have a shitty night, but it's also important to redeem yourself. And I'm lucky enough, I'm very grateful, that I get a chance to redeem myself."
While fight fans may have lost out on the chance to see Alvarez duke it out against the UFC's best inside the Octagon, Eddie gets to fight again, which at the end of the day, is what's important for the scrappy lightweight and his family.
And getting the chance to compete for the gold at Bellator 106 on Nov 2, 2013 -- which features a main event between former UFC Light Heavyweight Champions Tito Ortiz and Quinton Jackson -- can only be a positive first step in repairing his relationship with a company he'll be working with for the next few years.
For now, it seems all is "good enough" for both parties. Whether or not it stays that way for the duration of the deal, remains to be seen.
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