When Eddie Alvarez defeated Patricky “Pitbull” Freire at Bellator 76 and officially entered free agency, most just penciled in the former lightweight champion as a lock to end up with the UFC.
On the night of his victory, UFC President Dana White sent Alvarez a message via Twitter saying “congrats bro, let’s talk”.
The message from Bellator Fighting Championships back very well might read “not so fast”.
According to Alvarez’s manager, Glenn Robinson of Authentic Sports Management, Bellator is pushing hard to keep their former champion right where he is as they make their transition to Spike TV in 2013.
“Bjorn and Eddie had a great conversation and had some great talks. Bjorn has expressed interest in keeping Eddie, and talks have gone really well, and that’s all I can really say at this point,” Robinson told MMAWeekly.com this week.
The last major free agent that Bellator had on its roster was former middleweight champion Hector Lombard, who signed with the UFC earlier this year. The American Top Team fighter was undefeated during his time with Bellator as their 185lb champion, but once his contract was up he left and moved over to the UFC.
Alvarez, who has been with Bellator since their inception in 2009, has been the face of the promotion and one of their biggest stars.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney knows that and he’s doing his best to make sure Alvarez remains with the company for the foreseeable future.
“Talks have gone really well with Bellator and Eddie just wants to fight the best fighters he can, and get a contract he feels is fair, but I can tell you Bjorn has gone out of his way to make Eddie feel welcome and talks have gone well so far, so we’ll see what the future brings,” said Robinson.
No decision is likely to happen in the next few weeks as Bellator continues to negotiate with Alvarez and his management team during an exclusive contract period.
Whether he signs somewhere tomorrow or in 3 months, Alvarez just wants to make the best decision possible for his career.
“He doesn’t want to sit out too long so we’d like to get things wrapped up. At the end of the day, Bellator has a 90-day negotiating period, so we’re finishing talks with them and we have to see where things go with that,” Robinson stated.
“Yeah he’d like to fight right away, but he doesn’t want to rush to make a deal either, make a hasty deal because he’s in a rush. He’s a very smart guy, and we’ve got to take our time, take it one step at a time to get ultimately where he needs to be.”
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