Bellator’s Eddie Alvarez: I’ve Heard About $1 Million Caesars MMA Tourney, But Fulfilling Bellator Contract
By Joshua Molina
For the last few years, Eddie Alvarez has been widely recognized by MMA industry insiders and hardcore fans as one of the best lightweight mixed martial artists in the world.
Last month, though, Alvarez tapped out quickly to a rear naked choke against unbeaten Michael Chandler, losing the Bellator lightweight championship. Ironically, the loss may have generated more attention from fans than Alvarez’s successful streak of victories.
In an interview with Full Contact Fighter, Alvarez said the loss woke him up and taught him a valuable lesson.
“I didn’t know that there was room for me to grow anymore,” Alvarez said. “I spent the last three years defending the title – defending it, defending it, defending it. It will be nice to go out there and fight and not have people expecting something from me.”
With the pressure off, Alvarez said he’s looking forward to his future and proving again why he is one of the sport’s elites. He has two fights, or 10 months, left on his Bellator contract.
One change Alvarez has already made is in the area of management. Alvarez recently parted ways with longtime manager Monte Cox and hired Authentic Sports Management, a group that he said is taking an interest in his growth as a fighter and possibly positioning him for recognition and acknowledgement outside of the MMA world.
“There are more things as far as PR that I want to plan for,” Alvarez said. “They (his new management team) set you up for the future. That’s very important to me. I have children and a family.”
Right now, Alvarez is focused on Bellator, but a lot of possibilities are on his mind.
“We have been talking about a bunch of different options,” Alvarez said.
Like many of his colleagues, he’s heard about a possible MMA tournament series being produced in affiliation with Caesars Entertainment Group in 2012. The series will reportedly award the winner of each weight class a hefty prize of $1 million dollars. Competing in that event is on his radar.
“I have definitely heard about it,” Alvarez said. “But I can’t think about anything. I have an obligation to Bellator. I am going to fulfill my obligation first and we will see what happens from there.”
For now, Alvarez said he is enjoying the holidays and trying to heal the torn cartilage he suffered when Chandler kneed him in the ribs. He believes he tore the cartilage in his fight with Chandler. It’s frustrating, he said, to not be able to train, particularly after coming out from a poor performance.
Alvarez said he has watched the Chandler fight several times and knows exactly what he needs to improve upon.
“I concentrated too much on wrestling and not on my stand-up and boxing,” he said. “I made a lot of mistakes. I fought a bad fight and I deserved to lose.”
Despite his tap-out loss, one that knocked him out of the top-10 rankings, Alvarez, surprisingly appears confident about his future. It just might make him hungry again.
“I want to train so badly,” Alvarez said. “It’s tough losing and not being able to get back in there right away and make proper improvements. But this loss was necessary.”