Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) entered the Eddie Alvarez sweepstakes last year after the former Bellator Lightweight Champion finished off Patricky Freire in Ontario. His win over "Pitbull" pushed his record to 24-3 with 21 finishes.
He would have made a great addition to the ranks of UFC.
Unfortunately for Alvarez, his former employer had a right to match the offer, and did, but there was a rapid breakdown in negotiations when it came to dollars and cents. Alvarez wanted the dollars, and a career in Bellator didn't make any sense.
How can a promotion with no pay-per-view (PPV) business model match an incoming offer that guarantees a cut of the PPV buys? According to Alvarez, it can't, which is why he took Bellator to court to free himself from what Bjorn Rebney, Bellator CEO, called a "key misunderstanding."
In fact, Rebney says his matching offer was so close to ZUFFA's, all he did was erase the name "UFC" from the physical contract and replace it with "Bellator," making it an exact copy, "dollar for dollar." See him explain the process here.
With that in mind, attorneys for Bellator filed a motion in U.S. District Court to take Eddie's claims of 'tortious interference and breach of contract' and toss them out the window.
Judge Jose L. Linares responds (via SI.com):
"In deciding the instant motion to dismiss, this Court must accept allegations in Alvarez's counterclaim as true. Accepting the validity of Bellator's argument would require this Court to make a factual determination that Bellator, in fact, had a legitimate business-related justification for proposing a contract to Alvarez purporting to match the Zuffa offer. It would be inappropriate for this Court to make a factual determination at this stage."
Alvarez had a few motions of his own denied, after seeking an injunction that would let him compete at UFC 159 later this month in New Jersey.because he "failed to satisfy his burden of showing (1) a reasonable probability of success on the merits and (2) irreparable harm."
See how that went down here.
While the legal battle continues, both sides continue to negotiate a settlement out of court, too. Until then, Alvarez can do nothing but wait, which at age 29 and in the prime of his career, is likely the last thing he wants to be doing.