It appears that Eddie Alvarez might not be UFC-bound after all.
After finishing the last bout on his Bellator contract in late 2012, former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez was considered to be on a one-way train to Zuffa-ville. "The Silent Assassin" even received an offer from the UFC in December after some Tweets from Dana White gave us a not-so-subtle guess as to whether or not the company was interested in his services.
However, on Wednesday, John Morgan of MMAJunkie reported that Bellator has decided to match that offer.
On December 28, according to John Morgan of MMAJunkie, UFC president Dana White stated that he expected the negotiations with Alvarez to "get ugly," which led to speculation that Bellator wasn't going to let go of their former champion without a struggle.
The source article makes it clear that nothing is official as of yet and that there could potentially be some wiggle room for Alvarez to sneak into the UFC's back door.
An official announcement isn't expected to be made until a legal review of both contracts is complete. Multiple sources indicated Bellator's offer was made "in good faith" and appears on the surface to match the deal previously offered by the UFC. However, it does not appear Alvarez has yet accepted Bellator's contract offer and may be seeking clarification on contract language in each of the two deals. Chief among those concerns will likely be whether or not Alvarez has the right to sign with another promotion while still operating inside of Bellator's matching period.
Despite losing his championship in a 2011 bout with Michael Chandler, Alvarez's name remains on the tongue on fans and pundits alike. In 2012, the Philadelphia native scored knockout wins over highly regarded submission ace Shinya Aoki and top Bellator lightweight Patricky "Pitbull" Freire.
In addition, he has career wins over UFC veterans Roger Huerta, Josh Neer, Derrick Noble and Aaron Riley.
The loss of Alvarez would be an enormous hit to Bellator. In 2012, then-champions Hector Lombard and Cole Konrad left the organization while reigning champions Christian M'Pumbu, Eduardo Dantas and Zoila Gurgel have each lost non-title bouts.
"It really becomes for us a mathematical analysis," Rebney said, according to MMA Junkie. "We know where we would want to be with Ed, we know what kind of a deal structure would work for Bellator and our partners at Spike TV, and we're just waiting.
Apparently, the deal made sense for the tournament-based organization. Now, we just wait for an official announcement. However, fans of seeing the best fighters in the world square off against one another should be praying for Alvarez to wind up in the UFC, fighting the likes of Benson Henderson, Gilbert Melendez and Donald Cerrone.