Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez recently inked a deal to compete for ONE Championship after spending the last few years inside the Octagon.
For “The Underground King,” invading ONE will give him the chance to make history by attempting to capture his third 155-pound title in as many promotions, with Bellator MMA being the other along with UFC. Still, Alvarez says UFC came close to locking him down again.
“UFC made a good offer, They were close. I was under the notion that all fighters are underpaid. All fighters in general. For the value we bring and how much the promotions make overall, not just UFC; what they make versus what is paid out, all fighters are underpaid,” explained Eddie on a recent interview on The Ariel Helwani MMA Show.
“So as free agents, we have to compare our contracts to the market. But I was under the notion that the market was really low. The comparables are really low. I’m not necessarily going to compare my contract to my colleagues, to Frankie's or Marlon’s or guys in my same ranking. I wasn’t going to do that because I already think everybody’s not getting paid. I had a number and UFC almost met it.”
After mulling it over for a day, Alvarez informed UFC he would pass on the offer and look elsewhere. That’s because Alvarez didn’t feel comfortable giving up so easily on the value that is free agency.
“The value of free agency today is so incredible. For any fighter to give that up is foolish. If you really want to make money in this sport and test how much you’re worth, you become a free agent. I would say there’s no other option,” said Eddie.
After his agent got in touch with ONE, one of many promotions looking for his services, Eddie says the promotion’s offer simply crushed every other deal.
“ONE made me a partner in their promotion. It was more of a partnership than it was, ‘Hey, come on as a fighter. Here’s your money to fight,’ and that’s it. They made me a true partner in the promotion. It’s a package deal. Fighters today are, ‘What do I get to win and what do I get to show?’ Which I think is complete...I haven't done a win and show contract in 10 years and never will. It’s a package. It’s nothing like a normal MMA contract. They made me a true partner in the promotion.”
According to Eddie, his deal will also be historic when it comes to the financial side of it.
“Look without getting into details, the package in general is going to be an eight-figure deal. Eight figure fight deal. A guaranteed eight-figure fight deal in total. They made me true partner, which I am happy about, and they fully committed to me and we’re fully committing back,” explained Eddie.
That means he will be making around or more than $10 million once his contract is complete, which Alvarez says it’s not for as many years as people would expect. Because of his landmark deal, Alvarez says he hopes other fighters can take note and truly find their worth.
As far as his new promotion is concerned, Eddie says they are not done making moves, and is excited for fans to see just what ONE has up its sleeve with looming signings which will signify a major shift in power in MMA
“I’m not the last large signing in the next month or so,” he said. “There will be a shift, a massive shift, in power towards One Championship.”
UFC and Bellator MMA, you have officially been put on notice.