Every day is Groundhog Day for Eddie Alvarez, who waits and waits for resolution to his case against Bellator. His career remains on hold for the foreseeable future, as the U.S. district court filed documents that will set a pretrial conference date no earlier than Sept. 15, 2014.
An actual trial would follow afterward.
Such a timeline would mean that the 29-year-old Alvarez (24-3) is sidelined for at least a two-year chunk of his career. The Philadelphia-born fighter last competed at Bellator 76 in Oct. 2012, knocking out Patricky "Pitbull" Freire.
It was the last fight of his Bellator contract, and afterward, he signed an eight-fight UFC deal with a $250,000 signing bonus, escalating purse/bonus structure and a possible cut of pay-per-view sales.
Bellator, however, invoked their existing matching rights, setting off legal maneuvering that concluding in dueling lawsuits between the promotion and the fighter. They've been locked in legal wranglings ever since, including brief settlement talks.
In January, Alvarez faced a district judge in Newark, New Jersey, asking for an injunction that would have paved the way for him to compete at UFC 159. Alvarez's legal team argued that he would be irreparably harmed if he was unable to fight for Zuffa during the pending litigation, but Judge Jose Linares ruled against him, saying Alvarez failed to satisfy the burden of showing a reasonable probability of success and irreparable harm. With that, the wheels of justice continued grinding.
The discovery portion of the pretrial phase is to be completed by Feb. 28, 2014, and depositions are to be completed by July 28 before a concrete pretrial conference date is set.
To expedite his return to MMA, Alvarez still has the ability to reach a settlement with Bellator and return into the fold. Aside from that, his interminable wait continues.