LOS ANGELES -- Count Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez among those who were disappointed when former Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez remained with the UFC, who matched his contract offer from Bellator.
Disappointed, but not surprised.
Alvarez was at a Hollywood studio Tuesday shooting features promoting his trilogy fight with Michael Chandler on May 17 in suburban Memphis. When asked his thoughts about Melendez staying with the UFC after coming to terms with Bellator, Alvarez made it clear he feels Melendez is ducking him.
To emphasize his point, he grabbed this reporter's recorder and spoke directly into it as he launched into a tangent.
"He didn't want come here," Alvarez said. "Gilbert doesn't want to come anywhere where I'm at. Gilbert don't ever want to sign with a company where I'm at."
Fans have been teased with the possibility of a Melendez-Alvarez match several times over the years, but it hasn't happened.
"Wherever Gilbert goes, he wants to be the top dog, which is the same reason he's avoided me and will for years to come," Alvarez told MMAFighting.com. "Gilbert had the opportunity in the Dream tournament, he didn't. He had the opportunity to sign with Bellator, and go into a Bellator tournament, he didn't. And now he had the opportunity to come to Bellator where I am. He doesn't want to come where I am. He's a phony. It's a facade, it's a mask, he says he wants to fight me, he doesn't want to fight me."
Melendez, it must be said, doesn't have a reputation for avoiding fights. But as long as the two remain in separate companies, you'll have a hard time convincing Alvarez otherwise.
"He says he wants to fight me when I make headlines," Alvarez said. "That's the only time, so he can get some attention. Other than that, Gilbert Melendez does not want to fight me. He knows its a bad fight for him, a bad night for him, that's the real truth with that."