Following his stoppage loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC on FOX 30, Eddie Alvarez has entered the free agent market, and based off comments Dana White’s made, one might conclude the UFC won’t be going the extra mile to resign him.
Alvarez ultimately elected to fight Poirier at the July 28th event without a contract extension in place, and the gamble didn’t pay off. The former UFC and Bellator lightweight champ was stopped in the second round. The loss dropped Alvarez’s UFC record to 4-3, with 1 no-contest.
Well, since then, White was a guest on the UFC’s “Unfiltered” podcast, and he was asked to comment on Alvarez’s free agent status. Here is some of what the promotion’s president had to say (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“I like Eddie Alvarez. I like him personally, and I like him professionally. He’s at an age now where he needs to make some decisions for his family and for what will probably be the last contract he signs for the rest of his career. I’m in a place if Eddie wants to go somewhere else and try it, I’m cool with that. If Eddie wants to stay, I’d keep him here too.
“I told him that. I told him, ‘Listen, if you want to finish your career with me I would like that. If you want to finish your career somewhere else, I have no problem with that either, man.’ When guys get to the point where it’s the last contract they’ll ever sign, I understand.”
Now, yes, White may have stayed away from language like ‘we’ll never let Alvarez go’, or ‘he’ll finish his career in the UFC’ etc, as a bargaining tool. Saying something like that could empower Alvarez’s management to ask for more money.
But, in recent years we have seen established vets like Benson Henderson, Ryan Bader and Gegard Mousasi, among others, go over to Bellator. In those cases, the UFC wasn’t willing to match what the Viacom owned promotion was offering, even though all three of those fighters are very respected fighters.
Further, White also said on the podcast that they are looking for “young” fighters who want to be “world champions”. Alvarez certainly isn’t way past his prime, he’s 34, but he has been in a lot of wars.
So, unless Alvarez really wants to remain with the UFC, and hopes to re-establish himself in the promotion’s 155 division, don’t be surprised if we see him back in the Bellator cage. Alvarez has a history with Bellator, he remains a top tier fighter, and if they resign Michael Chandler they have that rubber match as a go to.