The U.S. District Court of New Jersey denied a claim Friday by former Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez for an injunction that would have allowed him to compete at a UFC event on April 27 in Newark.
The claim was part of a countersuit filed by Alvarez on Jan. 15 against his former employer. Bellator Fighting Championships sued Alvarez on Jan. 3 for breach of contract after the fighter moved to accept an eight-fight offer from the UFC.
Attempts made by ESPN.com to reach Alvarez were unsuccessful, while Bellator declined comment.
Alvarez signed a long-term deal with Bellator in 2008 that granted the promotion a 90-day exclusivity period at its conclusion and the right to match any contract offered to Alvarez within one year.
Bellator, owned by mass media company Viacom, moved to exercise that right in December, when it says it matched the UFC contract offered to Alvarez. That contract included a $250,000 signing bonus, an initial fight purse of $70,000 and a share of pay-per-view revenue based upon units sold for his first bout and any subsequent bout in which he was defending the UFC lightweight title.
Alvarez has asserted the Bellator deal fails to match the UFC contract based, among other things, on the promotion's absent history in PPV events. The UFC contract also guarantees Alvarez's placement on one event broadcast by Fox Network Television.
Bellator attorneys have responded the company is planning its first PPV event in the first quarter of 2013. They also state there is no "meaningful difference" between the audience reach of Fox Network Television and Bellator's broadcasting partner, Spike TV. Additionally, at least two reruns of Alvarez bouts would air on Spike TV, whereas UFC on Fox events have historically not re-aired on later dates.
Federal Judge Jose L. Linares denied Alvarez's claim based on a failure to show reasonable probability his lawsuit would hold up should the two sides go to trial. Alvarez (24-3) will remain sidelined as the legal process continues.