“I’m definitely not happy with the decision of putting me back into the tournament and having me do all that… I feel like if I went out and I fought Mike Chandler and he just completely dominated, I could understand them saying, ‘alright go back to the tournament, go back to the drawing board, and work your way up.’ I sort of look at it like you work your way up the corporate ladder and you show up 15 minutes late for work one day and you drove me back to the mail room… I put more effort and more love into the promotion and I expected a little bit better back, but it is what it is and I understand the business. I’m just glad that they were able to get Aoki over here so that I can avenge my loss… Instead of going in the tournament again and doing all that again, I’d be more interested in just going on my Twitter or going on MMA.tv and asking all the people who watch this sport, who love this sport and support this sport, who is available and who would you guys like to sign? And tell Bjorn, ‘hey, this is who you sign.’ In all honesty, it’s up to the fans. When the fans scream for a rematch because it was Fight of the Year and when it doesn’t happen, I’m kind of sad about that.”
— Eddie Alvarez on MMA Weekly Radio voicing his displeasure with Bellator wanting him to compete in another lightweight tournament to earn a rematch against Michael Chandler
Alvarez didn’t specifically comment on reports that negotiations have “soured” between him and Bellator, but it certainly doesn’t sound like he’s too happy with them right now. Speaking to Heavy.com, Alvarez said everything started out great with Bellator when he fought in their first lightweight tournament. He was fighting regularly but once he became champion everything slowed down too much for him.
“It was very good in the beginning at Bellator because of the tournament structure. There were a lot of fights right out of the gate and I stayed active. But just like any other time, when you become champion, all of that slows down. I’m not at a time in my career where I’m ready to slow down.
“It’s almost sad to say but what comes with being a champion, almost makes it undesirable for me. It’s great to be a champion, but it’s more important to keep fighting. This is how I make my living and I chose this profession because I love to fight. If you’re only going to fight me once or twice a year, I’m better off getting another job because it’s just not enough for me. It’s not enough for me to sustain a livelihood, and it’s not enough for my own personal wants and needs as far as my development as a fighter goes. I need to keep competing and improving.”
“My goal isn’t even to necessarily win every fight – it is to get those tough fights against top guys. I want as many as I can, because when I do get in the place where I’m ready to challenge for the world titles and get those big opportunities, I’ll be ready and it will make it that much easier. I just want to get in there, get as much cage time as I can and fight against the best competition we can get. That’s my goal right now and we’ll go from there.”
I probably don’t need to state the obvious here, but doesn’t the UFC sound like the perfect fit for Alvarez at this point in his career? Strikeforce could certainly use him, but would they really be able to keep him as active as he wants to be? I have my doubts.
As for his Bellator contract, Alvarez says he has 8-9 months with 1-2 fights left on it. Apparently, the Aoki fight isn’t 100% signed, sealed and delivered, however Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney is talking like it’s going to happen so it probably will. What happens after that fight remains unclear, but Rebney hopes Alvarez will want to stay on board and compete in their next lightweight tournament. Sounds like wishful thinking to me.
It’s also worth noting that Alvarez recently signed on with Authentic Sports Management and will be splitting his training time with the relatively new Blackzillian camp in South Florida where notable fighters such as Rashad Evans, Anthony Johnson and Melvin Guillard now train. You know who else just signed with ASM and joined the Blackzillians? UFC heavyweight top contender Alistair Overeem.
Image via Bellator