UFC president Dana White has never been a soft critic when it comes to his promotional rival in Bellator, and that’s not about to change anytime soon.
White said earlier this week that Bellator’s contracts “screw” their fighters, making it impossible for them to utilize the free agent clause in their agreements.
“The way that they do their deals, their guys are screwed,” he said during a recent media event in Brazil. “Those guys can’t go out and test the fair market. They can’t do anything.
“Anybody who would sign a contract with them is insane.”
White’s tone is likely referring to the Eddie Alvarez situation. In 2012, Alvarez’s contract with Bellator ended, and subsequently passed the contractual period of exclusive negotiation. The UFC attempted to recruit the fighter, signing him to a deal that included a portion pay-per-view revenue.
In response, Bellator invoked a clause in Alvarez’s contract that allowed the organization to match the UFC’s offer, while ignoring the PPV share as “hypothetical.” Alvarez and his representatives have filed two lawsuits against Bellator, but in the end, he eventually decided to return to fight for the promotion.
That bit of unpleasant history became relevant again when Bellator decided not to pursue a new contract with their current welterweight champion Ben Askren. Askren is currently being courted by the UFC, but White and his team are obviously a bit wary of running into another Alvarez situation.
We’ll just have to wait and see how that one plays out.