Alvarez defeated Toby Imada at Bellator 12 in June 2009, winning the Bellator Season 1 Lightweight Tournament and the lightweight title. He defended the title at Bellator 39 by defeating Pat Curran by unanimous decision. He lost the belt to Chandler in his next outing at Ballator 58.
Alvarez fulfilled his previous contract with the promotion following his first-round knockout of Patricky Freire at Bellator 76 in October 2012. Instead of resigning with Bellator, Alvarez decided to test the open market and agreed in principle to a deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Bellator invoked their right to match the UFC’s offer and re-sign Alvarez resulting in a legal battle.
On Aug. 13, 2013, Bellator and Alvarez came to an agreement and he was lined up to face Chandler in a rematch at Bellator 106 on Nov. 2, 2013. The 30-year-old recaptured the title, defeating Chandler by split decision. The two will meet for a third time on May 17 in the main event of Bellator’s inaugural pay-per-view. Following the trilogy with Chandler, Alvarez plans to leave the fight promotion.
“You’ve got Eddie Alvarez who has, win or lose, made the determination that he’s going to move on from this promotion. If he wins, he can write his own ticket. If he loses, he’s putting himself in a lot of jeopardy. He’s got a lot at stake,” Spike TV president Kevin Kay told MMAWeekly.com on Tuesday.
“I don’t know if it’s set in stone, but I’ll tell you what I know which is if Eddie wins this fight I think that in his head he’s leaving the promotion. I think he’s going to want to explore what his value is,” added Kay.
Alvarez has the option to stay with Bellator, but all signs point to him parting ways with the organization.
“If he loses this fight he has the option to stay in Bellator. You’d have to talk to Eddie about this, but I guess my sense is he’d like to move on. It’s harder if you don’t win. That’s all I’m going to say. Listen, I like Eddie Alvarez. He’s been great for Bellator. He’s been great for the promotion. Of course we’d love him to stay, but he wants to chart his own course, and he’s got his own plan,” said Kay.
“If he decides he wants to stay, I’m sure everybody would be open to having that conversation. I don’t believe that’s what’s on his mind,” said the Spike TV president.