Last week, we questioned if Bellator’s champions would have the opportunity to fight during Bellator’s second season, or if they would have to wait until next year to fight again against season two’s tournament winners. The question was raised when Eddie Alvarez had been offered to fight JZ Cavalcante at DREAM.11 in September, but reportedly turned it down because of their exclusive contract with Bellator. Bellator matchmaker Matt Stansel confirmed they would not let Eddie take the fight.
MMA Weekly dug into the story a little further and it seems we have some answers now. Alvarez’s agent Monte Cox originally said they would have considered taking the Sept. fight if Bellator approved, but now his story has changed a little.
“We agreed that win or lose, he would take three months off. He’s had like six fights in a year, and at the level of fights he’s fighting, not too many bums in there. He’s had a heck of a run. If he’s going to take July, August, and September off, he’s not going to fight in September, that’s for sure. It doesn’t give him any time to train.”
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney echoed that sentiment. However, he did leave the door open for Eddie to possibly fight overseas, but would have to discuss it with all the parties involved before coming to a decision.
“If Eddie came back and said, ‘man, I’d like to get back in the cage,’ (around a) September time frame, and there was the right opportunity out there, be it in Japan or wherever, I’d talk about it and we’d figure out if there was a way to make it work,” said Rebney.
“The reality is from a contractual perspective, we have the ability to approve or not approve one of those outside fights happening,” said Rebney. “But my first inclination would be to get on the phone with folks and say, hey, what can we do, how can we make this work, what can we do together? As opposed to taking the closed-door approach where we say, no, they’ll only fight guys that are under contract with us.”
Basically, Bellator’s champions will not be fighting for Bellator at any point during season two, and if they want to fight outside the organization, Bellator will evaluate each offer on a case-by-case basis.
So at least at the moment, it looks like there’s a very real possibility we won’t be seeing Eddie or any of the other Bellator champs back in action until 2010. And considering the year Eddie had in ’08 and the fact that he hasn’t faced one top-ten opponent yet this year, I have to say that would be quite disappointing.