Eddie Alvarez's time in the Bellator cage is through. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Bellator MMA lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez was granted his unconditional release from the organization on Tuesday.
In a statement released by the promotion, Bellator President Scott Coker had this to say about the situation:
“We’ve granted Eddie his unconditional release. Eddie is free to explore the free agent market, we hold no matching rights, and we wish him the best in the future. We sat down with Eddie and his team a few times, and it became pretty clear early on that he just wasn’t interested in fighting for Bellator in the future,” Coker stated. “We want guys in this organization that want to be here, and after the history Eddie and the former regime had here at Bellator, we decided to move on. We wish Eddie the absolute best of luck with whatever is next for him. It’s a new chapter for everyone involved.”
Alvarez has been signed with Bellator over the last four years, fighting seven times for the promotion. He captured the promotion’s lightweight title for a second time with a split-decision triumph over Michael Chandler at Bellator 106 last November. The 30-year-old Blackzilians representative was embroiled in major contract issues with Bellator last year, as the two parties went to court to settle a dispute that began when Alvarez’s deal expired in October 2012.
After approximately eight months, Alvarez reached a settlement and signed a new deal with the promotion, which set up his rematch with Chandler last year. The Philadelphia native was supposed to have met Chandler in a trilogy bout at Bellator’s inaugural pay-per-view event in May but had to withdraw after suffering a concussion in training.
As recently as last month, Sherdog.com reported that the former Bellator lightweight champion was in serious negotiations to face Donald Cerrone at UFC 178 in Las Vegas. The matchup never came to fruition, and since then, Cerrone has been booked to fight Bobby Green.
“This was a long process but it’s a decision that everyone seems happy with,” Alvarez stated in the release. “I think it’s important to say that I am genuinely thankful for my 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 in my career.”