Bellator President Scott Coker seems to have some interest in bringing two of the biggest free agents aboard: Aspen Ladd and Eddie Alvarez.
The UFC released Ladd following her latest weight miss ahead of her scheduled fight against Sara McMann at UFC Vegas 60. After a series of difficulties cutting down to bantamweight, the UFC decided to move on from Ladd.
Ladd’s weight-cutting issues began when she missed weight ahead of Invicta FC 18 back in 2016. She ended up fighting Jessica Hoy in a catchweight bout, winning via a second-round TKO.
Alvarez and ONE decided to mutually part ways following a lengthy hiatus from competition. Alvarez’s last fight came in a unanimous decision loss to Ok Rae Yoon at ONE on TNT 4 back in April 2021.
As Ladd and Alvarez become free agents, Coker seems open to signing the two of them and bolstering his roster with two veterans.
Scott Coker Ponders Signing Aspen Ladd & Eddie Alvarez
During a recent interview on The MMA Hour, Coker answered whether or not he would be interested in signing Ladd to Bellator.
“Actually, I think her manager reached out to us. I introduced him to Mike (Johnson, Director of Operations), so I know they’re talking. I know the situation was more due to weight than her losing fights in the cage,” Coker said of Ladd. “(The question) is, what is the matchup that we are looking for when a fighter becomes free? And then, how long will it take to build that fight, and is it gonna move eyeballs? If it is, then we’re gonna go after it. We’re not afraid to go after free agents or people that have gotten released. But it has to make sense for the company. There’s a lot of moving parts.”
Ladd lost three of her last four fights in the UFC before her release. She most recently fought against Raquel Pennington in a unanimous decision defeat at UFC 273 back in April.
Coker went on to address the idea of signing Alvarez to Bellator, nine years after Alvarez’s last Bellator fight against Michael Chandler at Bellator 106.
“My initial response was like, you know where this company is going, we have a lot of veterans and great talent, but we have a lot of young fighters that are up-and-coming, and we’re putting a big investment into younger talent,” Coker said of the idea of signing Alvarez. “When I thought about Eddie originally, I was like, ‘Well, I kinda like the roster where it’s at.’ … I mean, it’s worth a conversation. Eddie was a great guy… I really haven’t talked to him or had any type of conversation… Let’s see what the deal would look like. It’s worth a conversation. I’m not saying it’s something we will pursue, but it’s at least worth a conversation.”
Alvarez has also expressed interest in returning to the UFC for his next venture. He won the UFC lightweight title over Rafael dos Anjos before losing it against Conor McGregor at UFC 205.
Bellator continues to add talent and Coker isn’t ruling out potentially signing Ladd and Alvarez to contracts, although the 27-year-old Ladd seems like the more realistic option.
Should Bellator sign Aspen Ladd and/or Eddie Alvarez?