Common sense and legal trickery went head to head on Friday during a preliminary injunction hearing between Eddie Alvarez and Bellator. Guess which won?
“Having thoroughly reviewed the parties’ written submissions, and the arguments presented on the record, the Court concludes that Alvarez has failed to satisfy his burden of showing (1) a reasonable probability of success on the merits and (2) irreparable harm.”
In other words, the case wasn’t clear cut enough for a judge to let Eddie Alvarez fight for the UFC before Bellator gets its day in court. This is probably extra frustrating for Eddie as the UFC had offered him a spot on the Jon Jones vs Chael Sonnen PPV along with a PPV cut that likely would have totaled over half a million dollars.
The entire case brought by Bellator against Alvarez is sleazy in the extreme – rather than matching the UFC’s contract dollar for dollar, they instead matched the contract word for word. Eddie’s UFC contract promises a PPV cut equaling $1 per PPV between 200,000 and 400,000 buys, $2 for each buy between 400,000 and 600,000, and $2.50 per buy above that. So does Bellator’s.
The obvious difference here is that the UFC holds pay per views every month that sell enough to make this offer pretty sweet. Bellator on the other hand has never held a pay per view and has shown no indication that they plan to get into the pay per view business any time soon. Add in the fact that only one non-UFC event in the history of the sport has ever crawled across the 100,000 buy threshold (Affliction: Banned) and you’ve got a matching offer on paper that leaves Eddie Alvarez half a million dollars behind where he’d be with the UFC. And that’s just after the first fight.
“Yeah, but that’s all pretty theoretical” says Bellator’s lawyers. Um. UFC 159 on April 27. Jon Jones vs Chael Sonnen. Estimated PPV sales: 500,000+. That doesn’t sound very theoretical at all to me. Half a million dollars in Eddie Alvarez’s bank account in three months. You better believe that money felt pretty real to him.
You know what sounds pretty theoretical to me? Bellator PPVs.
I con only hope that Bellator gets their legal clocks cleaned when this goes to a proper trial. This lawsuit embodies a lot of things that are wrong with the legal system today and while my heart is a tiny shrunken pit of cynicism, I still refuse to believe that such an obvious case of legal shenaniganry can withstand a proper court examination.