But who wins in this situation?
Let’s start with the most important figure, Eddie Alvarez.
He certainly is a loser in all of this. Here stands a fighter in his prime forced in to be inactive. He is losing time off of his short athletic career. Until this matter is resolved, all he can do is sit on the sidelines and watch other athletes pass him by.
Alvarez is a top-10 lightweight who could be a potential title challenger in the near future. His window for being the best in the world is a small one, and it is slowly being shut on him.
And all of that is not to mention the financial strain that must also come with this. Alvarez is not getting a paycheck sitting on the sidelines. As the lawsuit drags out, the financial responsibilities he has will start to mount. His livelihood has been taken away temporarily.
The UFC is not a winner in this matter.
Sure, it could sign a top-10 lightweight and add Alvarez to his ranks. However, if the details of the contract are accurate, then that could cause a rift with other lightweights in the division. How many lightweights, or any other weight for that matter, will feel slighted or underpaid if and when Alvarez signs on the dotted line?
When the UFC signs someone new and he enters with a big contract, it will surely ruffle the feathers of some.
Also, Alvarez could be a bust. The UFC is spending a lot of money for someone it is only hoping can rise up the ranks. The UFC is a totally different beast than Bellator. While Alvarez looks to be one of the best, until he steps inside the Octagon and competes against the elite, we won’t know. He could flop, and the UFC could be flushing a lot of money away.
Thankfully, for the UFC, that is just a minor concern and it has the coffers to gamble.
The big loser in all of this is Bellator. It is now in a no-win situation.
If it wins and Alvarez re-joins the Bellator roster, it gets an unhappy camper to grace its organization. That will be good for no one. And lost in the shuffle if it does get Alvarez back under contract is the fact that it will have to pay the steep price to keep him.
That would be a significant amount of cash for the smaller promotion to dole out to one fighter. Is it worth it just to keep an unhappy fighter who will probably not speak well of you from this point out?
If it loses Alvarez, it loses one of the few upper-echelon fighters it has. A potential star is removed from its ranks. How many fans tuned in to see him fight for Bellator? How many would now stop watching its programming?
Bellator is also losing the PR battle. That is quite possibly the biggest battle of all.
It look petty. While from a business aspect it is understandable that Bellator is trying to retain one of its only stars, from a fan’s perspective it is coming across as the evil organization. It is stopping a man from doing what he wants, and also stopping him from making a living.
Alvarez has given everything he can to Bellator, but it still wants more and refuses to let him move on in his career. At least, that is how it looks to the average fan.
The only hope now is that this can be resolved quickly and Alvarez can find himself in someone’s cage soon. It is a shame one of the top-ranked fighters in the division has to sit on the sidelines during his prime.
There are no winners in this. Each entity loses something or angers someone. Even the fans lose.