Eddie Alvarez will not fight in the co-main event of UFC 159.
According to court documents obtained and posted by TheFightLawyerBlog.com, U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares today reportedly denied the fighter’s application for an injunction against the Bellator Fighting Championships that would allow him to fight at the April 27 UFC event at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
The injunction was denied on the grounds that Alvarez failed to satisfy his burden of showing both a reasonable probability of success on the merits and that irreparable harm would result if the relief sought was not given.
“In this case, there is no illegal restraint that Bellator is seeking to impose on Alvarez, nor is Alvarez precluded from competing professionally absent a grant of his application for a preliminary injunction,” Linares wrote. “It is speculative to suggest, as Alvarez does, that an inability to compete in the April 27 event will result in irreparable harm in the form of a lost opportunity to obtain notoriety, endorsements, and a wider exposure to viewers. Alvarez’s argument requires this Court to make speculative assumptions about what might or might not happen as a result of his participation in the April 27 event. Based on the record before it, the Court cannot make such assumptions.”
Alvarez’s counsel reportedly argued Friday that Bellator could not match the UFC’s pay-per-view pay structure offered to Alvarez, nor would the fighter’s exposure on Spike TV match the exposure that the lightweight would receive fighting under the UFC banner on Fox. However, Judge Linares ultimately could not find cause to grant Alvarez his injunction, and the litigation between the fighter and promoter is expected to continue.
Alvarez, whose contract with Bellator expired this past October, entered into negotiations with the Ultimate Fighting Championship after Bellator waived its exclusive negotiating period with the condition that Alvarez could elicit an offer exclusively from the UFC. The former Bellator lightweight kingpin then fielded an eight-fight offer from the Zuffa-owned promotion, which was subsequently sent to Bellator officials. Bellator then had 14 days to match terms of the UFC’s deal and offered Alvarez a new contract.
Alvarez and his counsel did not believe the contract offer to be a true match, however, and Alvarez made his intent known to sign with the UFC. Bellator subsequently filed suit against Alvarez, alleging breach of contract and tortious interference on the part of five unnamed individuals. In response, Alvarez filed a countersuit, seeking an injunction against Bellator so that he could compete at UFC 159. Alvarez also sought a ruling that would allow him to accept Zuffa’s eight-fight deal and compete for the promotion with no interference moving forward.
Alvarez, 29, has long been regarded as one of world’s best lightweights fighting outside the Zuffa umbrella. The Pennsylvanian captured the Bellator Fighting Championships 155-pound belt in 2009 and successfully defended the strap in 2011 against Season 2 tournament winner Pat Curran. However, Alvarez would relinquish the title in his next fight, submitting to a fourth-round rear-naked choke from Michael Chandler in a “Fight of the Year” nominee. The one-time Bodog Fight welterweight titlist then returned to his winning ways last year, avenging his 2008 submission defeat to Shinya Aoki by knocking out the former Dream king before doing the same to Season 4 finalist Patricky “Pitbull” Freire in his final contracted fight with Bellator on Oct. 12.