ONE Championship: Eddie Alvarez says martial arts legend Renzo Gracie helped with decision to sign with ONE
Santino Honasan on Oct 25, 2018 12:05 PM
"He spoke very highly of the ethics and the integrity behind the promotion and how they treat the fighters. These were important things to me, things that I was most curious about, and he kind of let me know that I would be in good hands," - Eddie Alvarez on what Renzo Gracie said about ONE Championship
Former UFC and Bellator Lightweight World Champion Eddie "The Underground King" Alvarez is just the latest in a long line of big names that have been picked up by Asian mixed martial arts promotion ONE Championship.
The 34-year old Alvarez made the signing official in mid-October and will likely make his promotional debut in 2019.
Alvarez follows in the footsteps of Brandon Vera and Ben Askren, who had both made names for themselves in North American promotions - Vera in the UFC and Askren in Bellator - before coming over to Singapore-based ONE Championship.
It was martial arts legend Renzo Gracie however, that was an integral part in the decision to sign with ONE, says Alvarez.
"I did call Renzo Gracie, and he’s a friend of mine and I respect him and his opinion means a lot to me, so I called him," Alvarez told ABS-CBN Sports. "I spoke with him, and I trust him, I trust his word and what he says, and a lot of what he said, it had bearing on what I was going to do."
A member of the so-called "First Family of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu", Renzo Gracie has also fought all over the world, including in PRIDE FC and the UFC. Last July, Gracie made his ONE Championship debut at ONE: REIGN OF KINGS in Manila when he defeated Yuki Kondo via submission.
When asked about what Gracie said in particular, Alvarez mentioned ONE's treatment of their fighters as one of the main points.
"He spoke very highly of Chatri [Sityodtong] and he spoke very highly of the ethics and the integrity behind the promotion and how they treat the fighters. These were important things to me, things that I was most curious about, and he kind of let me know that I would be in good hands," said Alvarez.
Chatri Sityodtong is the Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship.
As for his deal with ONE Championship, Alvarez states that it's more than just a fighter-promoter deal, but rather somewhat a partnership. It was revealed on Ariel Helwani of ESPN's show that Alvarez's multi-fight deal was worth eight figures.
"Without giving details of the actual deal, I think most fighter’s contracts are based on show and win, and my contract in particular was a little more involved than that," Alvarez shared, "there was a lot more details in it, and I think it was just a true partnership, not just to come in and show and ‘here’s your win money,’ and goodbye, it’s more than that. The promotion valued me, the see more value than just being a fighter and the compensated me because of it."