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Dana White: ‘Time was stolen’ from Eddie Alvarez

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Nearly two years of litigation and mounting frustration finally came to a head for Eddie Alvarez earlier this month, as Bellator granted its two-time lightweight champion his unconditional release, and just a few hours later, Alvarez put pen to paper, inking a deal with Zuffa to fight Donald Cerrone at UFC 178.

The contract represents the beginning of a long-awaited next chapter for Alvarez, while for UFC officials, it signifies the arrival of another world class lightweight as well as an introduction a long time coming.

"That kid got screwed around a lot over the last couple of years," UFC President Dana White told reporters in Mexico City on Tuesday. "The most important thing that was taken away from this kid was time, because as a professional athlete that is the only thing you have. You have a small window of opportunity to make money, do amazing things, have millions of people see it, etc, etc. And that time was stolen from him. Horrible what was done to that kid.

"That being said, I'm happy for him. He's finally here, he's getting the opportunity to fight a guy like ‘Cowboy' who's on an unbelievable roll. Win, lose, or draw, he's here in the UFC now and I'm happy for him."

UFC 178 is scheduled to take place September 27th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Alvarez (25-3) enters his UFC debut having won three consecutive fights, along with 10 of his last 11. He avenged his only loss over that span in his most recent contest, defeating Michael Chandler via split decision last November.