Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said the Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler II fight was the greatest mixed martial arts battle he has ever seen.
Rebney made the comments at the post-fight press conference.
Rebney, who sat cage side, said there’s probably “a handful” of people on the planet who have seen more MMA fights than he has and that the Chandler vs. Alvarez rematch was the best ever, followed by the first fight between the two.
“It is awe-inspiring,” Rebney said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for the gentleman on my left (Alvarez). “It was an unbelievable performance.”
Chandler was rushed to the hospital after the fight. Alvarez spoke to the media briefly after the fight, but didn’t take any questions, instead choosing to go to the hospital.
Rebney called the fight “25 minutes of a gift” that the fighters gave them today.
“What made me fall in love with MMA, when I first saw it, is, when it is done at the highest level, it speaks to the best of what we are,” Rebney said. “It speaks to courage , honor and guts.”
Alvarez, his left eye swollen, cut and bruised, agreed the fight was a classic, and praised Chandler.
“I am going take zero credit for what happened tonight,” Alvarez said. “It takes two people to put on a fight like that. It’s not just me it’s Michael Chandler. The guy fights his ass off. He has the heart of a lion.”
Alvarez and Chandler fought a five-round classic Saturday night in Long Beach, California. After a year-long layoff, Alvarez came back strong to avenge his submission loss to Chandler in 2011.
The fight was back-and-forth, with both fighters on the verge of finishes. The fight went to the judges, where Alvarez eeked out a split decision victory.