Eddie Alvarez Left in Limbo; Preliminary Injunction to Allow Him to Fight at UFC 159 Denied

January 26, 2013
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Eddie Alvarez at Dream 1Former Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez will continue fighting, although the fight is going to remain outside of the cage for the foreseeable future.

Alvarez, upon completing the final bout of his Bellator contract back in October, was free to explore a contract with the UFC. Bellator retained the right to match any offer presented.

He received a UFC offer, which Bellator agreed to match.

Alvarez declined Bellator’s offer, saying that it wasn’t a true matching offer.

UFC president Dana White, when discussing his company’s interest in Alvarez back in December, said, “It’s gonna get ugly.”

And he was correct.

As soon as Alvarez declined Bellator’s “matching” offer, his most recent employer filed a lawsuit, to which his legal team filed a counter suit.

Alvarez went to court again on Friday in an attempt to get a preliminary injunction against Bellator Sport Worldwide, LLC. U.S. District Court Judge Jose L. Linares, however, denied Alvarez’s application.

Had the injunction been granted, Alvarez would have been allowed to accept an offered April 27 bout at UFC 159 and be part of the Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen fight card in New Jersey.

Alvarez and his legal team were unable to satisfy to key factors that the court considered: (1) whether the movant has a reasonable probability of success on the merits; and (2) whether irreparable harm would result if the relief sought is not granted.

Key points of Alvarez’s argument were that Bellator, even if they were to promote their first ever pay-per-view event, could not match the amount of revenue and exposure that a UFC pay-per-view would generate, and that Bellator’s idea that putting Alvarez in fights on Spike TV was equal in value to the UFC putting Alvarez in fights on Fox.

Linares was not swayed enough to order a preliminary injunction against Bellator, even though wording in his order indicated that Alvarez may have a case if he continues to fight Bellator in legal proceedings.

“The Court recognizes that the differences between Fox Network Television and Spike TV may be such that the Court (or a jury) would ultimately find that Alvarez should prevail on his counterclaim because of Bellator’s failure to match Zuffa’s contract,” wrote Linares. “At this juncture, however, the Court cannot make such a finding based on the record before it. Accordingly, the Court must conclude that Alvarez has not shown a reasonable probability of success on the merits even though it is not foreclosing the possibility that he may ultimately prevail on the merits of his counterclaim.

“Even assuming arguendo that Alvarez had established a reasonable probability of success on the merits, the Court would nonetheless have to deny his application for a preliminary injunction because Alvarez has not sustained his burden of showing that irreparable harm would result from the Court’s failure to grant the relief he requests.”

The situation is now mired in the legal process, and only promises to get uglier before we find out when, where, and for whom Eddie Alvarez will next be fighting.

(Bellator vs. Eddie Alvarez court documents courtesy of The Fight Lawyer)

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  • Timothy Malone

    As much as it sucks, I think the judge was correct here. I don’t know about the chance of success, but I don’t see how he could prove irreparable harm. That would only result if he missed out on picking up a win at UFC 159. He could just as likely lose and be no better off.

  • Smarty Jones

    Alvarez had a chance to sign with the ufc a long time ago, but opted to sign Belator’s contract. At that time the UFC offer wasn’t as lucrative, and he thought that he’d get more money and notoriety in Belator’s promotion. He may have been right at the time, but it was a short-sighted decision. The POTENTIAL for money and fame was always greater with the UFC, he just didn’t want to have to earn it. He signed the contract fully aware of Belator’s right to match, and he put himself in this position.

    • Advance*

      Not only that, but let’s be realistic…Bellator would probably still have been an option if Eddie didn’t make it in the UFC. You definitely can’t say the same thing the other way around. There are guys like Ben Saunders that have put together a solid Bellator career after being cut from the UFC.

  • Maddawgmar

    I would like too see the contract he signed with Bellator. It sounds kinda fishy that if Bellator matches the offer, he has to opt for their contract over others. And if it does Eddie’s handlers need to be fired for advising him to sign that kind of contract.

  • why do people have to make **** so hard. he declined their offer cut ties with him and move on. dont mess with a mans way to make a living and provide for his family

  • Barry Obarma

    I genuinely think that Bellator are merely after damages here. Firstly, I presume (although I might be wrong) that the UFC offered Alvarez more money than Bellator would have wanted to offer a fighter. Secondly, why would anyone want to have a fighter who doesn’t want to be there? I think they are just hanging on for a UFC payout.

    As for this injunction, I think the lawyers should have done a better job of conveying to the judge that a fighter’s lifespan is short, and the time when he is at his peak is even shorter. Plus there is the factor of the “ring rust” phenomena- the longer he is shelved the less likely that he will be able to put on his best performance in his next fight. I think if Alvarez could have shown that, the first point about having a reasonable chance of success upon the merits would have been considered more sympathetically.