Anyone taking a gander at Eddie Alvarez’ Twitter account should be able to tell how unhappy he is with his current situation. For those of you somehow not in the know, the unhappiness stems from the fact that his recently-expired contract with Bellator contains a provision allowing his old promotion to match any contract offer received from another promotion (meaning the UFC), and retain his rights. On today’s MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Alvarez elaboratedon his 120-character complaints,
“We don’t believe it was matched at all,” Alvarez said. “I want to be able to give the details to you guys, but I’m not allowed because we’re in the middle of a pending lawsuit. What I can say is what I said on Twitter the other day. If I wanted to go to dinner with one guy who asked me to dinner, and another guy asks me to do dinner, and the intentions of guy number one is to take me into a fine dining restaurant and to eat lobster, and the intention of the second guy is to maybe take me to McDonald’s, guy number two just believes that dinner is dinner. Dinner isn’t dinner, there’s a huge difference when you’re talking McDonald’s or some fine dining, the two we don’t believe are comparable.”
So basically it sounds like a giant match of pissing is developing between Bellator’s legal team and the UFC’s about whether Bellator sufficiently matched the UFC’s contract offer in order to retain Eddie’s rights. On Twitter, Alvarez has hinted that Bellator is unable to match the UFC’s offer in terms of potential pay per view money. And that’s true, seeing how Bellator isn’t on pay per view. Thus, at first blush, it would seem as though Bellator would be unable to offer a financial package that matches what Dana White and company have to offer.
However, as simple as that may seem, things are never that simple when you are trying to interpret boilerplate contractual language that no one ever bothers to question (or, for that matter, read) when they sign contracts. Considering how confident Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney sounded when talking to MMA Weekly about the contract negotiations, it would seem instead that the upstart promotion is not concerned by its apparent inability to match what the UFC has to offer in all literal respects.
“I’ve got wild respect for Ed. In our contract with Ed, exactly like the UFC has in their contracts, we have the right to match. Ed went out and got an offer from the UFC, and we took a look at that offer, reviewed it for about eight days, and decided to match it dollar for dollar, deal point for deal point, term for term,” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney told MMAWeekly Radio on Monday.
This leads me to believe that the match provision in Bellator’s contract doesn’t necessarily say Bellator literally has to match every term. You see, in many contracts, there is some standard that defines exactly what terms need to be matched. I would happen to guess that the pertinent terms involve number of fights and guaranteed money, and not much else. Bellator attorneys would have to be pretty stupid to force the company to match terms relative to pay per view buys or network television appearances. Hopefully, if I am right with my hunch, Eddie Alvarez’ people were smart enough to explain this to him before he signed the agreement with Bellator in the first place.
Even more hopefully, Eddie Alvarez will be fighting again soon, no matter what kind of cage he is in. The fact remains that he is one of the best fighters in the world in his prime, and I want to see him in action yesterday. Plus, the sooner this gets done, the fewer comments from completely unqualified MMA commentators about contracts they have never read I will have to read.