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Scott Coker on Eddie Alvarez situation: 'Lawyers are talking to lawyers'

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Esther Lin, Showtime Sports

What's the future of Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez? Is he staying in Bellator or, as rumored, heading to the UFC to fulfill his career dreams?

While things with Alvarez and the previous Bellator leadership might have taken very sour turns on more than one occasion, the removal of Bjorn Rebney and replacement of former Strikeforce President Scott Coker would seem to indicate there's a potential chance of mending fences. And if there's not, wouldn't Coker simply let Alvarez walk, much like he did with Jake Shields when Shields was at the end of his contract and headed to UFC?

"I'll tell you. Eddie's a great kid," Coker told Ariel Helwani on Monday's The MMA Hour. "I sat down with him one time and basically he told me all the challenges he had with the past regime. I totally got it. He's a great kid. He's a great fighter. He had a bad taste in his mouth on a whole lot on a lot of different levels. When he told me what happened, I said, 'You know, I don't blame you. I totally understand.'

"Right now, where it's at today is," Coker continued, "Eddie's still a fighter under contract with Bellator. I know that lawyers are involved and that's something that happened way before I came to this company. Right now, I don't have an update for you on that."

Coker may have been non-commital, but the Bellator executive did drop hints on which direction he and his organization are likely headed. While the future is uncertain, Coker said it'd be great to have Alvarez in the fold, but their business will go forward - with or without the lightweight champ.

"I think that at the end of the day, if he comes here and he fights, great. But, on the other hand, too, if we have to rely on one athlete to make or break a company, we're not going to focus on that either.

"I wish I had more to discuss about Eddie, but honestly, Ariel, at this point, when lawyers are involved. When you get two lawyers in a room, it just takes a long time to get stuff done."

As for what the feeling is internally, Helwani suggested to Coker there were some in the Bellator organization who felt it best to simply let Alvarez walk and start fresh. New regime, new era. Coker wasn't dismissive of that, but noted any big decision like that isn't simply his to make on his own.

"I think there's a lot of things in play because we're a television property," Coker noted. "It's not just one person's decision. We make a collective decision, but like I said, I wish I had an answer for you. It goes back to, there's other people involved and at this point, lawyers are talking to lawyers. That's just where it's at."

Still, Coker promised to not leave MMA fans in the dark for too much longer. As the new head honcho of MMA's second-biggest MMA organization said today, expect anything and expect a definitive answer in just a matter of days.

"All the options are open at this table," Coker said. "We'll probably have an update by the end of the week.

"We're not going to waste time here at Bellator."