It seems Bellator Fighting Championships is destined to be locked into a game of "he said, she said" over several situations dealing with the promotion.
Former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez has been very vocal in voicing statements that his former employers are being quite untruthful as they duel in a legal battle for his fighting future.
The latest situation to arise is a deal that was apparently offered or not offered to featherweight Leonard Garcia following his release from the UFC earlier this week.
Garcia mentioned in an interview with MMAFighting.com that he had received interest from Bellator just after his release from the UFC, but a subsequent comment from Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney contradicts that statement:
Not only did Bellator not offer Leonard a deal, but we've never spoken to Leonard. I will say this and it's probably important for you to get out there because it's important for us as well. For some reason that we don't understand, there are a collection of people out there making phone calls to different gyms and different managers right now claiming to be talent development people with Bellator and Spike.
Needless to say, Garcia's representation at Haymaker's Empire disputes that the fighter never received a call from Bellator and stands by his original statement about the Viacom-owned promotion reaching out to him following his UFC release.
"In light of Bellator's alleged legal chicanery with their own champions Eddie Alvarez and Zach Makovsky, and high profile fighters like Leonard Garcia making known their desire to avoid a potentially bad situation, it is not surprising Bellator is trying to get ahead of the bad PR plaguing their promotion," Garcia's management team at Haymaker's Empire said in a statement sent to Bleacher Report. "However this story about a 'phantom' Bellator representative making phony offers to fights just strains credulity.
"One must wonder if this had actually been occurring why Bellator waiting until now after Garcia made known his and other fighters' mistrust of their promotion to suddenly mention of 'The Bellator Phantom'?. The claim appears childish and far fetched at best."
Regardless of a Bellator offer or not, Garcia ultimately signed a multi-fight deal with Texas-based promotion Legacy Fighting Championships, where he will debut on July 19.
"Haymaker's Empire Sports Management stands behind its fighters and won't allow them to be trashed by any organization," said the management team in conclusion.
It seems that while Bellator will have its day in court with Alvarez later this year, the battle in the court of public opinion will be an ongoing war for the time being.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted
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