The legendary former UFC and Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez is reportedly close to being unveiled as ONE Championship’s latest marquee signing.
ONE FC has quietly become recognized as the world’s biggest mixed martial arts promotion in terms of its reach – broadcasting to over 1 billion homes in 138 countries.
As Asia’s largest sports media property, it has been able to dominate the Asian market since its inception seven years ago.
With this latest signing, they may well have garnered their biggest star to date.
ONE’s president Chatri Sityodtong teased the announcement prior to making it official.
I’m about to announce one of the biggest athlete signings in history for ONE Championship. Any guesses? ??? #WeAreONE
— Chatri Sityodtong (@YODCHATRI) October 13, 2018
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani then reported that the deal was very close to being made official.
Free agent Eddie Alvarez is very close to agreeing to a new multi-fight contract with ONE Championship, multiple sources told ESPN. This would be the biggest FA signing in ONE history.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 13, 2018
Speaking on the UFC Unfiltered podcast a few months ago, UFC president Dana White made it clear that he would understand if Alvarez chose to sign a deal elsewhere – something that could and should be interpreted as him admitting they aren’t willing to pay him what he wants.
“I like Eddie Alvarez. I like him personally, and I like him professionally. He’s at an age now where he needs to make some decisions for his family and for what will probably be the last contract he signs for the rest of his career.
“I’m in a place if Eddie wants to go somewhere else and try it, I’m cool with that. If Eddie wants to stay, I’d keep him here too.
“I told him that. I told him, ‘Listen, if you want to finish your career with me I would like that. If you want to finish your career somewhere else, I have no problem with that either, man.’ When guys get to the point where it’s the last contract they’ll ever sign, I understand.
“At the end of the day, what we’re looking for here are young guys that want to be world champions. Young guys that know they can be a world champion in the UFC. Or girls that know they can be a world champion in the UFC.
“If you feel that you can’t be and you feel there’s a better decision you can make at this point in your career for the last contract you’ll ever sign, I absolutely understand that.”
Eddie will leave the UFC with a promotional record of (4-3, 1 NC), the heads of Justin Gaethje, Anthony Pettis, Rafael dos Anjos, Gilbert Melendez, an all-time classic or two and, of course, a stint as the UFC’s lightweight champion.
Alvarez has won titles in every organisation he has ever competed in and had fought all over the world before his UFC run. Whether he can add a belt in ONE FC remains to be seen.
A true legend in every sense of the word.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena