Eddie Alvarez has been a free agent twice in his career and left both times. The first time, after being the Bellator lightweight champion he left to go to the UFC. There he once again became champion and when he was a free agent, left the UFC to go to Asia and fight in ONE Championship.
The move was a surprise to many, as frankly, not many fighters leave their promotions in free agency. But, Alvarez says that needs to change as free agency in MMA is ‘undervalued.’
“The idea of free agency today is so undervalued,” Alvarez told Brendan Schaub on Below the Belt. “Fighters don’t understand. Fighters are captive, kind of, in their own mind thinking, ‘If I’m not here, I’m not going to make money,’ and that’s not the truth.
“There are arenas selling out for MMA all over the world and until you become a free agent and explore that, you’ll never know. When you look at the UFC’s model, $4.4 billion when you look at their model, what do they do? For their infancy, they were on Spike [TV]. They used Spike’s audience, they used everything about Spike. Then they jumped to Fox, jumped to ESPN, they don’t re-sign.
“They don’t stay with a company, they use their leverage,” Alvarez continued. “They put up points for that company and then they go to the other girl who wants them even more. Why wouldn’t a fighter do the same thing? Why wouldn’t they become a free agent and go to the next girl who’s willing to pay them? It doesn’t make any sense.”
Alvarez said he is excited with his offer and knew his value going into free agency which was crucial. As well, he encourages fighters to just test the waters to see if they can make more money and get rid of the show/win split which Alvarez is not a fan of.
Cole Shelton covers MMA for BJPenn.com, MMANews, and MyMMANews.com while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime