A Friday hearing in United States District Court could determine whether Eddie Alvarez's fighting future lies in the UFC or Bellator.
On that day, Judge Jose L. Linares of the District of New Jersey court in Newark will hear from the sides of Alvarez, who will argue that Bellator did not match a contract proposed by Zuffa and that he will suffer irreparable harm if he is unable to fight for Zuffa during pending litigation; and from Bellator, which will argue that it matched all applicable terms of the Zuffa deal.
In a memorandum filed by Alvarez's attorneys Steven R. Klein and Adam J. Sklar and obtained by MMA Fighting, Alvarez's legal team told the court that the lightweight star has been offered a place on the UFC 159 card scheduled for Newark on April 27, and that Zuffa will require court permission by Jan. 27 for him to participate.
Alvarez's memorandum contends that there are "numerous and significant substantive changes" made by Bellator in an attempt to match the Zuffa deal. The first one highlighted is their inability to match the UFC's guarantee of at least one fight on network TV; Bellator offered him only the Spike TV platform. It also contends that Bellator "could not perform either at all or anywhere near the level of Zuffa" in the pay-per-view market. Alvarez's proposed UFC deal would give him a piece of pay-per-view sales for events in which he participated, a bonus likely to bring him a substantial amount of money over the life of the contract.
The filing cited several sport-related cases that ruled in favor of an athlete attempting to sign a contract with value past the guaranteed dollar amounts stipulated in the deal.
Aside from the FOX fight and pay-per-view points, the UFC's offer to Alvarez included an eight-fight deal with a guaranteed $250,000 signing bonus and a $70,000 fight purse with a $70,000 win bonus for his first fight with salaries escalating with each win.
The 11:30 a.m. hearing could end with the fate of the 29-year-old Alvarez decided, or it could lead to a trial date which would likely stall his career for the foreseeable future.