Credit new Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez for not throwing his promotion under the bus.
After taking a split decision from Michael Chandler in the main event of Bellator 106 Saturday night, Alvarez was given a microphone and a live Spike TV audience.
Instead of airing any potential “dirty laundry” involving him and Bellator, Alvarez remained poised and calm – only thanking those that stood by him.
The legal battle between Alvarez and Bellator has been re-hashed over and over again, so I won’t bore you with the details. Instead, let’s focus on what Alvarez did to save the show.
Billed originally as the first-ever pay-per-view by Bellator, officials were forced to scrap those plans when Tito Ortiz suffered a neck injury and was knocked out of a main event fight with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Now, most believed Alvarez-Chandler was the real main event, as it featured a rematch of a 2011 bout called the “Fight of the Year” in a lot of circles. Nevertheless, the loss of Ortiz-Jackson with just a few weeks to spare made it so the PPV was no longer a go.
Had Bellator just went with Alvarez-Chandler 2 as the headline act all along, they could have kept things on track. They didn’t, and for good reason for those that watched the program.
Mike Richman’s KO of Akop Stepanyan to start the main card was the only highlight in the first two-plus hours of fighting. Joe Riggs-Mike Bronzoulis failed to deliver much, and even Daniel Straus’ upset of Pat Curran for the featherweight title lacked any real emotion until the very end.
Straus is a “feel good story” for those that can look away from his drug charges, but Curran was hyped as a potential Jose Aldo-like fighter. That didn’t happen. He wasn’t even on the level of Jose Aldo, Sr. Saturday evening.
Emanuel Newton-King Mo Lawal? An interesting five-round battle, but not one that will be remembered.
All we were left with what Alvarez-Chandler, and they delivered – again. Five rounds of back-and-forth action with both fighters spilling blood and overcoming adversity.
We’ll have a third meeting likely in 2014 should all go as planned, and maybe Bellator will try to focus a PPV around that. If they do, they better be sure to find the right matches to make it a worthwhile purchase because asking Alvarez and Chandler to deliver a third time could be too much.