Approaching free agency, Alvarez acknowledge UFC fighters underpaid

July 28, 2018

Eddie Alvarez is not new to MMA free agency.  You might recall he was a party in a bitter lawsuit with Bellator that exposed the world to the UFC’s athlete contract which has been used as a template in many instances.  As he nears free agency in the UFC, he is keen to the business-side of the sport and understands that fighters are underpaid.

Alvarez compared free agency to the Olympics as something that happens every 4 years and stated his excitement on what’s to come.

Bellator sued Alvarez in 2013 after it attempted to match the contract offered by the UFC.  In one of the more unique ways to ensure that they matched an offer, Bellator “cut and paste” the UFC contract terms into their contract offer to Alvarez.  Of course, there was a dispute on whether Bellator had truly matched the UFC’s contract.  The court denied Alvarez a preliminary injunction which would have allowed him to bolt for the UFC.  Bellator’s attempt to dismiss Alvarez’s lawsuit against it was denied as well.

Despite proclaiming he would take his case to trial, Alvarez settled with Bellator and appeared on the company’s inaugural PPV.  The lawsuit exposed the business side of MMA and at the UFC on Fox 30 media day, Alvarez talked about the state of the UFC and the sobering fact that athletes have no real control on their careers.

While he did not directly respond to whether or not fighters need to unionize, his statement about lack of power seemed to attest to the lack of leverage for a UFC athlete.

He acknowledged that it is likely that Conor McGregor will likely leapfrog him for a title shot regardless of the outcome of his fight with Dustin Poirier.  “This is what’s happening,” Alvarez stated to the press as he identified the example of Brock Lesnar’s anticipated title shot.

Alvarez stated that everyone is “underpaid” in the UFC.  The lightweight contender is not the only one to have this sentiment.  He acknowledged that he’d like the UFC “to share a little bit more.”  Even when given the question of Dana White throwing a birthday party for his son which cost $1 million, Alvarez did not take the bait as he differentiated White’s personal spending to what the business does.

It’s not clear what is next in store for Alvarez.  He’s still a top-level fighter and would be a great benefit to Bellator but I would anticipate that the UFC makes a strong case to retain Alvarez.

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