It has been a long and storied road for Bellator and Eddie Alvarez but one that came to an end earlier today as the promotion and Scott Coker granted their lightweight champion his release.
“We granted Eddie his unconditional release this morning,” Coker told ESPN.com. “Eddie is free to explore the free-agent market. We wish him the best in the future.
“After sitting down with him and getting to know him, it was just a very hurtful situation for him,” Coker said. “I think the damage was already done. It became clear there was a wall there, and it was not directed at me. They just made it clear the damage was done.”
This seems to reference the problems Alvarez had before with former Bellator chief Bjorn Rebney when he refused to let the fighter go. Despite the fact his contract had expired there was a clause that allowed Bellator match any offer other promotions made and hence keep the fighter. This subsequently lead to Alvarez and Bellators’ respective legal teams enter a lengthy battle.
Alvarez seems ecstatic and grateful with finally being granted his release, which now seemingly clears the way for the star to finally join the UFC.
“This was a long process but it’s a decision that everyone seems happy with,” Alvarez told ESPN. “I think it’s important to say that I am genuinely thankful for the time at Bellator. I know that sounds a little crazy given everything I went through, but I’ve fought there since 2009 and have been involved in some really amazing fights.
“The staff there always treated me great and I’m going to miss seeing a lot of those familiar faces around for sure. Myself and my team had some really good discussions with Scott, but in my heart I knew I was ready to move on and start the next chapter of my career.”
Alan’s Angle: Finally! What a classy move by Coker and Bellator. However, it is a massive blow for the promotion moving forward. They need as many legitimate fighters to balance out all the inevitable ‘spectacle’ fights they’ll put together. They lost a lot of respect from fans, fighters and media alike over the legal battle with Alvarez but now the blame will just be put on the old guard and the new team will come out looking like genuine good guys. I assume it is just a matter of time before the UFC swoop in and get their man.