The battle for Eddie Alvarez has taken an interesting turn over the past week. Details of both the UFC and Bellator’s offers to Alvarez have been leaked which offers interesting insight into what the UFC plans to do with Alvarez from the start.
The financials are all over the Internet so I won’t get into the particulars. Quite frankly the guy is due to make a lot of money, specifically off of pay per view points in the UFC. His starting salary would also be $75,000 to show, $75,000 to win, much more than some current UFC champions make for showing up. But it isn’t so much the money that grabbed my attention, it was who the UFC intends to book Alvarez with in his debut.
According to the documents, the UFC’s intent is to give Alvarez an immediate UFC lightweight championship fight against Ben Henderson. The fight would take place underneath the Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz fight in March. While the fight is not guaranteed, it is clear that the title fight is certainly on the table for Alvarez and that just boggles my mind.
The idea that Alvarez would skip over someone like Anthony Pettis or Donald Cerrone for a title shot is very hard to wrap my head around. On top of that, Alvarez would jump over Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez to get to the front of the line. Giving Alvarez this kind of preferential treatment is just another case of the UFC putting a priority on show over credibility when it comes to their titles.
Additionally, how are they going to promote the fight? What videos are they going to show of Eddie Alvarez to get their fans and customers pumped up about buying that fight? Do you think Bellator will kindly allow the UFC to use his fights to promote his UFC championship debut? With all due respect to Eddie Alvarez, casual MMA fans aren’t buying a fight on his name alone. It wasn’t as if Bellator were drawing millions of eyes on Alvarez’s fights.
My hunch is that the idea of “intent” is just language being used to beat Bellator’s deal. I can’t fathom any other reason you’d debut him against the champion if you are Zuffa.