Eddie Alvarez and Bellator mend fences, book Michael Chandler rematch for PPV
by John Morgan on Aug 13, 2013 at 8:00 am ET
(This story also appears on usatoday.com.)
Former Bellator MMA lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez
's contract dispute is over, and he's returning to the California-based promotion to face the man who took his title.
The rematch with reigning titleholder Michael Chandler
will serve as the co-main event of Bellator's first-ever pay-per-view offering, Bellator 106, which takes place Nov. 2 at California's Long Beach Arena. Former UFC champs Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Tito Ortiz
clash in the headliner.
"I couldn't be happier right now," Alvarez told USA TODAY Sports and MMAjunkie.com
). "We've been trying to settle since the very beginning of this. We were able to compromise and put it behind us. I'm happy to put my name on the dotted line and move forward with my career.
Alvarez (24-3 MMA, 9-1 BMMA) and Chandler (12-0 MMA, 9-0 BMMA) first met in November 2011, with Chandler taking Alvarez's belt by scoring a fourth-round submission win in a matchup that earned fight of the year recognition.
Alvarez rallied back with wins over Shinya Aoki
and Patricky "Pitbull" Freire before electing to test the waters of free agency. When the sport's largest promotion, the UFC, offered Alvarez a contract, Bellator officials said they matched the deal word-for-word, though the two promotions' differing business plans left some question as to whether a true match was even possible, especially with Bellator promising to place Alvarez in PPV events despite having never promoted a PPV show.
Both Alvarez and Bellator filed lawsuits, and the sometimes-bitter and public feud looked to have no end in sight.
Now that's all changed, though Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney said the exact nature of the details will remain private.
"Terms of the settlement have to remain confidential," he said. "We kept a constant line of communication going, and eventually in these types of situations, you find a common ground. We were able to find a common ground.
"Honestly, this is a business, and Ed's a world-class fighter. I'm in the business of putting on world-class fights, so that's honestly the story."
Alvarez, who's ranked No. 12 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie.com MMA lightweight rankings
(Chandler is No. 3), hasn't fought since October. However, he said he's remained sharp by helping training partners such as Frankie Edgar
and Edson Barboza
prepare for their UFC bouts and is anxious to avenge the Chandler loss.
"I wasn't perfect," Alvarez said. "I wasn't focused enough that night, and I lost. It doesn't happen a lot, but it does happen. I'm OK with it, but I'm ready to correct the mistakes.
"I'm ready to be perfect, and I'm ready to be in there and put on a fight and get my hand raised."
While the relationship between Alvarez and Bellator officials wasn't necessarily pleasant during negotiations, the fighter insists there won't be any lingering issues and motivation won't be an issue.
"I'm not big on problems," Alvarez said. "I normally just deal with solutions. In business, there are problems just like a relationship. There's good, there's bad, and there's ugly. You need to be able to compromise and not deal with problems."
Rebney agreed with that sentiment.
"When you run a business like this one, there are going to be situations that occur where you have conflict," he said. "When you've got 175-plus fighters under contract, when you've got large-scale relationships with nearly 130 television networks around the world, when you've got sponsors, you've got licensees and you've got all these other people in place, it's just the nature of this industry and many others. You're going to run into conflict.
"I think that when you have a position and you believe that position to be right, you stick to it. But at the same time, like I've said from the beginning of this, we were never taking a position where we weren't willing to settle, and we were always looking for a way to put that rematch on. We've done it."
In addition to Jackson vs. Ortiz and Chandler vs. Alvarez, Rebney promised there will be other star-studded additions to the Nov. 2 lineup. Alvarez hopes his supporters tune in.
"I want to thank my fans for all the support they've given me throughout this whole thing," he said. "I hope that everyone's happy that Bellator and I were able to reach an agreement and move forward and get a fight that fans want to see. I hope everyone is as excited as I am."
For more on "Bellator 106: Rampage vs. Tito
," stay tuned to the MMA Rumors
section of the site.
(Pictured: Michael Chandler and Eddie Alvarez)