The first encounter between Michael Chandler and Eddie Alvarez was one of the best fights of 2011.
Chandler prevailed, taking Alvarez’s Bellator lightweight title and establishing himself as one of the promotion’s new stars. Alvarez bounced back with wins over Shinya Aoki and Patricky Freire, but a rematch against Chandler looked unlikely as Alvarez began negotiations with the UFC.
Of course, Alvarez never made it to the Octagon. Instead, he ended up in a contractual dispute with Bellator, which recently concluded with a settlement that will pit him against Chandler on Nov. 2 as part of Bellator’s first pay-per-view event.
“Every situation you run into in a business like this you learn from, but the reality was, we stood fast in where we were,” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Cheap Seats” show. “We felt that we were in the right position. I always spoke to the issue that a bad settlement is always better than a good litigation and that it wouldn’t benefit anybody to sit for another year and a half and wade through a litigation and all those costs, et cetera, et cetera. So we were finally able to get it settled, but I don’t know that looking back on it we could have or would have done anything differently. We felt we were right.”
Alvarez was also adamant about his position, but it’s already been close to a year since he last fought and he would have been on the shelf much longer if the dispute had carried on. In the meantime, Chandler has racked up three dominant wins. He’s Sherdog.com’s No. 5-ranked lightweight in the world, though Rebney believes he’s the best.
Ahead of the rematch, it seems the promoter would be pulling for Chandler considering the champion’s commitment to Bellator. However, Rebney insists he’s rooting for another classic, regardless of who wins.
“If you could tell me that we would get the same level of fight that we got last time and Eddie Alvarez would win, I would have no issue with that,” Rebney said. “… Because if we get a fight that’s anywhere close to what the last one was on November 2nd, we’ll have a trilogy in this thing. The fight was just too good. Look, I’m going to be comfortable with the outcome as long as the fight is a spectacular fight.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 43:33).