LONG BEACH, Calif. -- As soon as Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler got done with a second fight that might have topped their first, and the series was evened at one apiece, the next questions were obvious: When will Alvarez-Chandler III go down, and how soon?
Turns out those questions were on the mind of Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney as well.
After Alvarez took a razor-thin split decision at Long Beach Arena on Saturday night to reclaim the title Chandler took from him in their first fight in 2011, a rubber match seems in order.
Rebney agrees, and says it is a matter of waiting for both to heal before going ahead and making the bout.
"Absolutely I'd do it again," Rebney said at the post-fight press conference. "I'd do it in a heartbeat. First and foremost Mike and Ed have got to get a clean bill of health and got to get some time to recuperate because that's a situation you put your body through and your mind. But once they get healthy I'd do that again in a heartbeat. That was unbelievable, what I saw tonight."
Chandler was not at the press conference, as he was being stitched up by the commission doctor. Alvarez made a quick appearance before heading off to a local hospital.
"Once they're both back 120 percent there's nothing in the way of doing No. 3, which would be unbelievable," Rebney said.
While Bellator is based on a tournament format, with title shots going to weigh-class tournament winners, the company does have a championship rematch clause, which came about in part because of public outcry when the company didn't go immediately to a Chandler-Alvarez rematch after the first bout.
Rebney indicated he's likely to go the rematch route rather than have Alvarez meet the next lightweight tourney winner. He wouldn't rule out that the trilogy fight, which was originally supposed to be co-main event on a pay-per-view card, would end up headlining on PPV.
"Those were the two best fights I've ever seen, so my mindset is not ‘oh, who is going to fight Ed," Rebney said. "Chandler and Ed are razor's edge apart. ... I'd do it wherever we could do it. PPV is a possibility."
Meanwhile, if Rebney is in any way unhappy to have Alvarez, with whom he had a contentious contractual battle over the past year, as his champion, he's doing a good job of hiding it.
"I know to a certain extent it got dragged thorough the mud," Rebney said. "But I like Ed a lot, I have a lot of respect for Ed. After seeing what I saw tonight my respect for Ed has gone 10-20 fold."