Bjorn Rebney on Eddie Alvarez Contract: “We Matched Every Single Element of (the UFC Deal)”

January 7, 2013

It appears things might get worse before they get better in the ongoing contract negotiation between Bellator Fighting Championships and former titleholder Eddie Alvarez.

Alvarez finished out the final fight on his Bellator contract in October, but while he was able to negotiate with other promotions, Bellator still had the option to match terms and try to re-sign him.

The Philadelphia based fighter did indeed receive a contract offer from the UFC not long ago, and days later Bellator opted to match it.

“I’ve got wild respect for Ed. In our contract with Ed, exactly like the UFC has in their contracts, we have the right to match. Ed went out and got an offer from the UFC, and we took a look at that offer, reviewed it for about eight days, and decided to match it dollar for dollar, deal point for deal point, term for term,” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney told MMAWeekly Radio on Monday.

“We matched every single element of it, word for word.”

Rebney went on to explain how the matching rights work, something they had the option with not long ago when former middleweight champion Hector Lombard finished out his contract with the promotion and ultimately signed with the UFC.

“The way that the matching rights work under our agreement, and the UFC agreements work, the good way to look at it is looking at the Ed situation and the Hector situation. In Hector’s situation, just like Ed’s, he had an ability to go out and get an offer from the UFC. When that offer comes back, we have to make a decision – we can either match it dollar for dollar, deal point for deal point, offer for offer, term for term, or we cannot,” Rebney explained.

“If we say we match that means everything Ed or Hector were guaranteed in the UFC deal, they have to be provided in the Bellator deal. So if it’s guaranteed in their deal, it has to be guaranteed in our deal. In the Hector deal, we took a look at it and made a business decision and said we don’t think we can monetize that situation; we don’t think it’s the best move for the company. In the Ed situation, we looked at it in a different way.”

Alvarez has been with Bellator for almost four years and fought a total of nine times over his tenure with the promotion. He was also their first ever lightweight champion and held the title until November 2011 when he was defeated by current titleholder Michael Chandler.

As Bellator moves to Spike TV this year, Rebney hoped to have Alvarez as a cornerstone with their organization, and even hinted at the possibility of doing a rematch with Michael Chandler at some point in the future if they came to terms on a contract.

According to Rebney, for now, the ball is in Alvarez’s court on signing the deal he says they matched dollar for dollar and guarantee for guarantee with the UFC’s offer.

“At this point, it’s been matched. We’ve submitted the matched contract, which is what we’re required to do under our agreement with Ed, to Ed, and we’ll see what happens from here. My hope against hope is that it is an amicable situation that works well and Ed ends up back in our cage in short order, and there’s some incredible fights out there for him,” said Rebney.

“It literally just comes down to you look at the contract and you say ‘yes, I will give you every single thing that is guaranteed in that contract you got for the UFC.’ That’s what we’ve done.”

Rebney says he’s not sure how long this situation could draw out. Alvarez disputed Bellator’s matching terms during an interview on Monday, and later said via Twitter that he believes the matching rights are for one year. He did comment further answering that he would be willing to fight for Bellator again saying, “I’m okay with that, just want things to be fair.”

“We matched the deal, and literally just signed it and sent it to him. Because that’s what our contract requires us to do, we matched it and sent it to him signed. So if he were to send it back signed, we’d be off and running and we could start looking at scheduling; we could start figuring out what’s next immediately,” said Rebney.

“If he chooses not to sign it, it depends on where it goes from there. There’s a lot of different paths that can be followed from that point forward. My hope is I’ve had a great relationship with Ed for four years, he’s going to make a lot of money with Bellator coming up, and we’ll see where this goes from here.”

Listen to Bjorn Rebney’s full interview on Monday’s edition of MMAWeekly Radio.


  1. Doesnt look like Eddie agreed with Bjorn’s assessment of matching the contract point for point since he declined and is now being sued by Bellator. Considering how Dana has stated that the released pay of the fights and their actually is quite different this would make a lot of sense.

    There’s a lot of money to be made with UFC when they start throwing in number of PPV buy incentives or even a % of the total gross amount that PPV makes. I really doubt that Bjorn could have matched those extra earnings when they don’t have PPVs.

    With the way Bellator has treated Tyson Nam and now Eddie, I am starting to lose a lot of respect for their organization and the way they do business.

    • I hope they get things figured out soon before the first show on Spike. I am personally looking forward to trying to keep up with the rosters on both promotions (Bellator and UFC) since I basically consider myself a casual fan of MMA.

    • how r they treating him?they matched what he got from ufc. he signed the contract.because u want him with ufc who r u?

      • Do you even know the situation with Tyson nam? If not then please inform your self by looking it up. And he hasn’t signed any contract as of right now……

        And they did match certain parts point but bellator doesn’t do ppvs, which i already stated. Ppvs typically generate a lot of money for fighters based on how it’s worked out in their contract on them getting a percentage or a flat dollar amount. So if they can’t provide him with something to compensate losing out on the chance for the ppv money then they did not in fact match the contract.

        I don’t care who Eddie fights for but he deserves I make the most money he can in the shortest amount of time in a very physically demanding sport.

  2. A few things Bellator can never match. The level of talent to test him, the exposure increase, and the chance to make a run at the number one lightweight in the world.

    • Well put. A fight with Frankie Edgar would be very nice for Eddie. Him and Gilbert M. would be great as well.

    • Alvarez will be overwhelmed by UFC talent

      • Agree with the penguin and from my experience with Alvarez’s people if I was Dana or Bjorn I would’ve opted out of this deal long ago.

      • You assume. As everyone assumed WEC fighters would be overwhelmed by UFC talent. Now you have top guys like, Condit, Henderson, and Cerrone. Until people like Alvarez and Melendez fight the top people then we don’t know what they are capable of.

  3. This is ridiculous. Apparently Eddie was offered around 70k/70k, as well as a signing bonus, PLUS a PPV cut. That’s something that Bellator can never match, even if they say they’re “planning” on moving to PPV soon. However, it’s not guaranteed, so they don’t have to match it. Same with potential sponsor money and post fight bonuses, which both could add up to huge amounts of money, if Eddie does reasonably in the UFC (judging by his style and skills I doubt he’ll hold the title, but I think he could be an exciting top lightweight) that could add up to huge amounts of money.

    Bjorn’s being a jackass.

    • I think anything short of winning a title is going to exclude a cut of PPV money.

    • Only if you become a champion you get a cut of ppv maybe except Sonnen,

      • Mike Chiappetta posted on his twitter that a PPV cut was included in the deal (apparently a direct quote from Rebney). But, as Alvarez wasn’t promised a PPV fight, Bellator’s claiming it doesn’t have to be matched

        • That’s only if the UFC puts him on a PPV they can easily put on Fuel or FX there is no ppv cut in there. The UFC will give him the toughest fighter and watch him lose.

    • Bellator made that decision knowing that Eddie wanted to go to the UFC, and were basically hoping to sue him. I hate this restraint of trade bs. I wish the UFC just offered him mega money so that Bellator wouldn’t get a chance to do this. The guy wants to fight in the UFC, he doesn’t want to stay in your lame organisation for another year fighting nobodies. I’m sure that his lawyers can get creative with reasons why Bellator’s offer does not match the UFC’s, but technically Bellator have the stronger case, because what more can they do other than offer the same money and the same terms?. In the long run, it might hurt Bellator as the UFC would improve their contracts and also fighters will be less willing to deal with such a kun-tea organisation

  4. Alvarez would do himself a great favor if he stays in Bellator, I don’t think he can crack the top top 10 lightweights in the UFC. Sure he might he get paid a little more behind the books in the UFC. After 2 or 3 losses he will be cut. Which probably will happen after the UFC throws him with the wolf. Give him Lauzon, Nate Diaz, Petis, Cerrone, Miller anyone of these guys will beat him.

  5. Time to get called up to the majors.

  6. Ed is probably referring to the fact that no matter what Bellator offers, it is not in the same context as what UFC offers since there is a big difference between the visibility of the two promotions and ticket revenues etc.

  7. After reading this story, I’m still a little confused on what ‘match’ means. I don’t think the story quoted Rebney enough on that issue, and I really need someone to explain to me what the word ‘match’ means. So, Alvarez gets an offer from the UFC, and apparently, Bellator has the option to ‘match’ that offer? You lost me on the word, ‘match.’

  8. But have they matched everything the UFC was offering? I just couldn’t tell by the hundred times he said so in the article.

  9. No way Bellator can match UFC’s PPV split and or fight bonuses