clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Fightweets: Did Eddie Alvarez make the right move going to ONE?

Eddie Alvarez
Eddie Alvarez at the post-fight press conference
Esther Lin/

Oh sure, I could have gone the easy route here, answered a question on all the chatter about Floyd Mayweather and Khabib Nurmagmedov, and gotten all the hate-clicks that go with it.

But I also get the sense Floyd-Khabib talk is getting more eye-rolls from readers than actual interest in a potential fight, and I also get the sense that everyone can use a little break from all the UFC 229 drama, which will return to the forefront next week when Nurmagomedov can Conor McGregor appear before the Nevada Athletic Commission.

So for this week, we’re going to declare this a Floyd vs. Khabib free zone, and with that, we’re off for another edition of Fightweets.

Did Alvarez make the right call?

@TannerRuss2: Is Eddie Alvarez like Ben Askren in that he’ll be the biggest fish in a small pond?

Technically speaking, yes. By signing with ONE Championship, former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion made a decision to go fight in a promotion which has, maybe at best the fourth-best lightweight division of any major mixed martial arts promotion. It doesn’t make you a bad fan to be disappointed that not only will we no longer have the opportunity to see a fighter as exciting as Alvarez tangle with the eilte 155ers in the UFC; but it looks like we’ll also never get that trilogy fight with Michael Chandler in Bellator, either.

It’s totally okay to be disappointed by that, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. However, it’s not okay to begrudge Alvarez the decision he made in maximizing his revenue over the rest of his career.

Alvarez is going to be 35 in January. Dec. 14 will mark the 15th anniversary of his pro debut. He’s been anything but a play-it-safe fighter over the years. Alvarez has been in so many high-velocity battles over the years it seems like a minor miracle he’s still a relevant fighter who is still near the top of the mountain.

But the ride ends sooner or later. Alistair Overeem seemed seconds away from finishing Stipe Micoic for the heavyweight title at UFC 203, and not long thereafter, he was on the wrong end of back-to-back brutal finishes at the hands of Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes.

I’m not saying that’s going to happen in Alvarez -- it very likely won’t against ONE competition -- but if you’re in Alvarez’s shoes, and you’ve given every bit of your heart and your soul to this ruthless business that doesn’t love anyone back, shouldn’t you go in for the biggest paycheck you can while you’re in the position to make that one last big score? This is very likely Eddie’s last chance to make really big money in his lifetime. Few fighters are in position to make this score. He absolutely should be thinking about his family’s future.

Alvarez has accomplished nearly everything there is to accomplish in this sport, as a UFC champ, a two-time Bellator champ, and even a Bellator tourney winner. He says he’s enticed by the idea of winning the ONE lightweight belt, and I believe him, since he’s one of the few fighters out there who seems clinically incapable of bullsh*t.

In summation: Yes, it’s okay to view Eddie as the big fish in the small pond; yes, Eddie is cashing in while he can; and yes, that’s okay.

PFL scheduling

@Woolman7242: PFL did horrible ratings last weekend. Why did they choose to go up directly against Bellator and will this weekend’s event do better?

That’s a great question. Not only did PFL 9 go head-to-head with Bellator’s heavyweight semifinal grand prix weekend, but it came just one week after PFL 8 was held smack-dab in the middle of UFC 229 fight week.

I worked PFL 9 last week for our site, and I felt completely burnt out watching the show after the events of the previous two weeks, even though the card itself was a decent evening of fights. If that’s how I felt as someone who does this for a living, how in the world is PFL going to get traction with casual fans by continually putting on shows in the shadows of bigger events?

Natan Schulte and and Johnny Case had an entertaining scrap at PFL 9, but not that many of you saw it.
Photo courtesy PFL

Maybe these were the only dates PFL could get on NBCSN now that both college football and NHL hockey are back in full swing. Regardless, while I’ve come to enjoy the revamped PFL’s product this year. The league format manages to feel fresh and not a gimmick, and the company has by and large one good fight card after another. You can have the best product in the world and you’re not going to make it if it doesn’t find the audience.

PFL’s done as good a job of a brand refresh as we’ve ever seen in this sport. But the bad time-slotting is a holdover from the World Series of Fighting days that PFL could do without.

Is Stipe getting screwed?

@Dswizzle602: With Stipe not getting the rematch against DC do you think he waits for DC to retire so he fight for a vacant belt or do you think he fights in between now and then? (This is knowing that Stipe wants DC but under the assumption that the UFC won’t match them back up).

First things first, I’ve gotta say, while I understand why Stipe Miocic is frustrated with seeing what appears to be Daniel Cormier’s path to retirement riches, one which does not include a rematch with Miocic, I can also say I see DC’s side of this little spat. Cormier did, in fact, score a first-round knockout of Miocic. It’s not like this was a razor-thin split decision, as was the case in Henry Cejudo’s flyweight title win over Demetrious Johnson. Nor is it Cormier’s fault the UFC has gone to the well one too many times in booking title rematches off decisive finishes.

That’s not in any way an attempt to even try justifying a potential Cormier vs. Brock Lesnar fight over a Miocic fight on the basis of merit (at least in the case of the upcoming UFC 230 main event, Derrick Lewis is 9-1 in his last 10 fights). But it is what it is. And this is also where Miocic’s insistence on maintain his day job as a firefighter helps him, because he’s not desperate for a paycheck.

But if I was in Miocic’s shoes, where we’re one decision from a NYSAC type who enjoys seeing their name in the news from having DC vs. Lewis pulled on either end of the equation, I’d stay in shape and ready to step in, for both this, and the potential Lesnar fight, and not taking any other fights until this whole scenario plays out.

What’s next for “Showtime?”

@TheyCallMeJLaut: What’s the next logical matchup for Anthony Pettis when healthy? Too soon to tell?

It’s a little too soon to call Pettis’ next shot, because for one, he’s going to be out for awhile after the injuries he sustained in his wild fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 229, and for another, pretty much the entire pack of elite 155ers are going to fight between now and the time he’s ready to have another go.

But here’s the general path I’d love to see Pettis take: It’s simultaneously become clear over his past couple fights that the former UFC and WEC lightweight champion has lost a step over his prime, but at the same time, he’s tapped back into that inventive fighting spirit that brought him to the top. I say, roll with it. Become a big-name fun fighter. Don’t worry about the title for now. Take on a Justin Gaethje or a Kevin Lee or an Al Iaquinta, or hell, give Gregor Gillespie the name opponent he needs.

And who knows? Maybe he goes on another run and ends up in the title picture after all. But I’d much rather see the guy who went all out in his exciting fights with Ferguson and Michael Chiesa than the one who looked lost for a year or two prior.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting