Morning Report: Settlement talks between Eddie Alvarez and Bellator MMA sour, case likely headed to trial

Bellator MMA

In an alternate universe, former Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez fought at UFC 159, reeled in a hefty pay-per-view point paycheck from one of the year's biggest cards, and wouldn't be spending his time preparing for a long, potentially torturous court case. Unfortunately for Alvarez, that universe isn't the one we all call home.

Settlement talks between Alvarez and Bellator MMA appear to have soured, according to a statement made by Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney earlier this week.

"I had hope a month ago there was a door opening," Rebney said to MMA Junkie. "But that door isn't open at this point. So I don't know. The court system is slow and methodical, and we're just going through the process. I don't have any projections of it getting settled at this point because we're not talking. The essence of it is, the promoter is never going to get everything he wants and the fighter is never going to get everything he wants. We have a position that we did everything right legally, and the court has supported us. I thought we were headed down a road (to resolution), and then everything went real dark."

On Thursday, almost 24 hours after Rebney's statement went public, a frustrated Alvarez unleashed a torrent of updates from his Twitter account, confirming that any chance of a settlement had died on the vine.

"Sorry I been absent lately guys," he wrote. "Here are some updates, I recently just sold an investment property in order to wait this trial thing out. I didn't want to sell, it was supposed to be a retirement thing but that's how s--t goes, very happy it's sold and I'm packing now. I am taking the funds from the sale of the home and moving to Florida [with] me and my family, I leave in a few days to search out a rental. I'll be training as if I have a fight no matter what the circumstances.

"We will be going to trial and there will be NO settlement," Alvarez continued. "I want to see this thing through and let the truth come out in the end. I needed time to renovate and sell my home anyway in order to move to Florida, so this may have come as a blessing. My goal is to move to Florida, train with the best team and coaches in the world, beat this court case, become No. 1 in the world and keep it. I am in no hurry. This has always been a marathon for me, not a sprint, and time will only make me more dangerous when I fight, I promise.

"Since 18 I have fought at least every roughly 5 months so I have been learning a lot from this break. Thank you guys for [your] support. Every tweet positive or negative does help!! This is just a pit stop that's put there for a reason," Alvarez finished, before adding, "Miami has unsanctioned fights somewhere for cash. Told my wife I might need to take the drive down there on the weekend [to] stay sharp."

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

Rebney, Alvarez update. The legal battle between Bellator MMA and former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez isn't likely to improve anytime soon. With settlement talks soured, the two sides are potentially headed towards a slow, tortured resolution through the court system.

Nelson talks Cormier, 205. In response to a potential match-up with Daniel Cormier, heavyweight slugger Roy Nelson said: "He's supposed be getting an immediate title shot at 205. If he's going down to 205, it doesn't really make any sense to fight him, unless we're going to fight for a 205 contendership. Then hey, we can do that, too."

Jones update. Michael Kelly, the first doctor to inspect Jon Jones' toe following UFC 159, scoffed at criticism of the way the injury was handled in an interview with Fightland. Jones is expected to return to full health within six-to-eight weeks.

Belfort feels young, wants title. UFC middleweight contender Vitor Belfort told Bleacher Report that he doesn't care about rematches, he just wants the belt. Belfort, an admitted TRT user, then added: "I feel that I am starting my career right now. I feel young enough to keep fighting for a bunch more fights. I have been fighting and winning all the fights in my division. I think I deserve a title shot."

Light heavyweight rankings. No surprise here, UFC champ Jon Jones topped SB Nation's official light heavyweight rankings. Check out the rest of the list here.

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MEDIA STEW

The latest Focus, courtesy of the All Elbows crew:

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In 20 years, when Tarec Saffiedine's son is light heavyweight champ of the world, we'll all look back on this footage and giggle like idiots.

Props to @DaleJones20 for the find.

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This is just insane. There really aren't any other words for it, but I'll try to walk you through this mess. First, start at 14:30. See these two fellows? They're about to compete for an Italian promotion called Slam MMA. Now, let's list off all the things wrong with this video, in chronological order. (Huge props to MiddleEasy for breaking this down.)

1.) See those guys pressed against the outside of the cage? Well, that's the corner of Ankle Wrap Guy. (We'll call him AWG for brevity's sake.) They're definitely not supposed to be that close. 2.) Referee stand up from a guillotine? Sure, why not. A few extra cheap shots during the stand up? Of course. 3.) Locking cage doors these days is so passé. AWG is more than willing to knee your face outside the ring. 4.) Another immediate stand-up? Eh, the ground game is for fools. Headbutts, now that's where it's at. 5.) Referee talking to the other guy in the corner? Time for a flying punch. I swear, AWG is the best. 6.) That guy in the white t-shirt that just stormed in and destroyed AWG? Yeah, he's the owner of Slam MMA. 7.) Screw it. Somebody has to be the winner.

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Two TTTHS' in one week? What's the world coming to these days?

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Invicta consistently puts out quality video work. Other promotions should take notice.

Props to @Pegson for the find.

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It's not often the UEFA Europa League makes it into the Morning Report, but then again, it's not often Benfica's Nicolas Gaitan knocks Fenerbahce's Gökhan Gönül out cold with perfect flying high kick. How bad was this? According to Mark Lowdon, "play was stopped for around four minutes before Gönül was conscious enough to be substituted," plus he lost some teeth and received some stiches. The bright side? Now Gönül always has this gnarly photo to remember the occasion.

Props to Mark Lowdon for the find.

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Okay, the FOX Phantom Cam is spectacular. Check this out in 720p if you can:

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IT'S COME TO THIS

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SOME CLARIFICATION

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DON'T NEED TO KNOW PORTUGUESE TO UNDERSTAND THAT

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ANYTIME, ANYWHERE

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WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Thursday, May 2, 2013):

  • N/A

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day is a refreshing bit of satire, courtesy of PlantingaFan: After Disappointing UFC 159, Dana White cuts 14,000 Fans

In a move that many observers saw coming, President of the UFC, Dana White, has cut 14,000 people from the ranks of the UFC's fans. "After a string of disappointing performances," said White, reading from a prepared statement, "we have concluded that we no longer wish to retain the services of 14,000 fans in the United States in watching any further UFC events for the foreseeable future."

White made it clear that, in most cases, it was the caliber of fans' performances that led to their cuts from the promotion. "If you pay $60 for a pay-per-view event in order to cheer on Jon Jones, Georges St. Pierre, or Anderson Silva, then you're doing an awesome job as a fan", said White. "But when you root for fighters such as Cheick Kongo, Leonard Garcia, or, God help us, Phil De Fries, then you take your chances. If they go, you go. And I'm sorry to say, they have gone."

In other cases, some of the fans were cut because of contract disputes. "In the cases of Jennifer Pickett of Jersey City, New Jersey, Jonathan Coleman of Washington, D.C., and Steven Kime of Ann Arbor, Michigan, we could not arrive at mutually beneficial terms in using their likenesses as audience members in our upcoming game, UFC Undisputed 4, so we had to part ways."

A final category of viewers was let go because of their use of performance-enhancing substances. "We in the UFC make it clear that we want all our fans to watch our events on a level playing field. So, when some fans use alcohol, marijuana, or Hooters Buffalo wings, that puts other fans at an unfair disadvantage."

One of the cut fans, Steve Petersen of Buffalo, NY, claimed that he is not worried about his cut from the UFC. "Look, there's a lot of fighting organizations out there. Frankly, I haven't had enough time to watch Bellator, and now that I'm not allowed to watch the UFC, I can take a look at some of the fights that they're putting on." Bjorn Rebney, the CEO of Bellator, quickly nixed that idea. "We're not interested in getting the viewership of fans who are UFC cast-offs. We have a plan for attracting fans to our programming, and it's basically just: get Russians. Frankly, we're very pleased by how it's working out."

For many fans, then, their future as watchers of mixed martial arts is in doubt. "I really like MMA, but unfortunately I can't watch it anymore", lamented Mike Yates, of Los Angeles, CA. "So I'm going to pursue something that doesn't require me to watch any MMA or boxing at all: judging MMA and boxing."

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in Monday's column.

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