Hitman, Herrera in Trademark Tussle

September 29, 2008

Tapout’s profile has seen a great increase this year, and it would be expected that the rising tide would lift all boats. One of their sister labels, Hitman Fight Gear, looks to be able to follow in their wake into the mainstream. One impediment from a possible move up, though, is a pending trademark infringement lawsuit filed against Hitman Fight Gear by former UFC fighter and fight promoter Paul Herrera.

The trademark infringement suit was filed earlier this summer and still looks to be unresolved:

Plaintiff: Paul Herrera
Defendant: Hitman Fight Gear, LLC, Daniel Diaz, Graphic Ink, Corp., Vinnie De La Torre and DOES 1 – 10

Case Number: 8:2008cv00709
Filed: June 25, 2008

Court: California Central District Court
Office: Southern Division – Santa Ana Office [ Court Info ]
County: Orange

Herrera heads a up a group called Hitman Fighting Productions that put on cards back in 2002, and have attempted to put on a few cards since then, most recently in 2006. HIs efforts in 2006 were shut down by CSAC

Paul Herrera, Hit Man Fighting Inc. an MMA promoter addressed the commission
regarding his September 30, 2006 event that was shut down by the commission
due to not enough rounds.

The basis of Herrera’s case seems to be the promotion pre-dating the apparel company. We’ll keep you up-to-date on the case as we find out more.

Attempts to contact Herrera have proven unsuccessful. MMAPayout.com contacted Hitman Fight Gear but the company issued no statements as of press time.

Disclaimer: MMAPayout.com makes no claims as to the validity or lack thereof of any claims made in the preceding lawsuit.

Historic Night At Battle In The Ballroom

September 27, 2008

If 22 straight sellouts aren’t enough to get you to the next Battle In The Ballroom pro boxing show at the Irvine Marriott on Thursday, October 9th, promoter Roy Englebrecht has come us with two historic reasons to be in attendance, and they are both groundbreaking in the boxing history.

Besides the Main Event for the Battle In The Ballroom Championship Belt, Englebrecht has announced that Avalon Anders, one of the early Ring Card Girls to work at the Marriott shows, will be stepping into the ring with her 19 year old daughter Amanda Stronegger, making them boxing’s first ever Mother-Daughter Ring Card Girls! Anders was a member of Playboy’s Swedish Ski Team in 1991 and was living in Garden Grove when she started doing Ring Card Girl duties at the Marriott. Amanda is currently pursuing a modeling and acting career. “I remember Avalon having to get a baby sitter for Amanda when I booked her at the Marriott,” stated Englebrecht. “She worked for me for nearly 15 years and even was the Ring Card Girl on the Celebrity Boxing shows on Fox. Now to have Avalon and Amanda in the same ring is really having my business come full circle.”

Added to this great six bout card set for October 9th, will be another first for the sport of boxing, when Ricky and Ana Tangaro step into the ring to become the first ever husband and wife to fight on the same fight card! Married for five years and training out of the Coachella Boxing Club and trained by Lee Espinoza, they will both be making their pro debuts but will not be fighting each other. Ricky will meet Efren Lopez out of Bakersfield and Ana will face 1-0 Michelle Nelson from Alberta, Canada.

The Fernando Quintero vs Luis Alberto Cervantes main event will be a good one as both fighters can win their first ever championship belt. Quintero out of Oxnard is undefeated at 5-0 and will get all he wants from Cathedral City’s 7-2 Cervantes.

If you liked the two spectacular knockouts at the August 27th show, ballroom matchmaker Arnold Berber is working on bringing both Terrell Hendrix and Herman Scott who made big pro debuts with the KO wins. Plus exciting flyweight Angel Magdelano meets Huntington Parks’s Jose Pacheco.

Tickets priced at $37 and $30 are available online at www.battleintheballroom.com.

ProElite "Champions of Cage" Series Debuts on FSN This Sunday Night

September 27, 2008

LOS ANGELES, Sep 26, 2008 — ProElite, Inc. said today that its four-part EliteXC “Champions of the Cage” series premiers this Sunday at 9:00 pm on the Fox Sports Network (FSN). The new series of Sunday night mixed martial arts (MMA) telecasts continues through October 19, culminating with an exclusive “King of the Cage” episode.

This Sunday’s special telecast features Frank Shamrock vs. Phil Baroni and Kimbo Slice vs. Tank Abbot. The premiere will also air action from EliteXC Welterweight Champion Jake Shields and Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett. The series, which airs at 9:00 pm ET/PT, is hosted by Jay Glazer.

The other feature bouts in the FSN Champions series include:
Sunday Oct. 5: Anderson “The Spider” Silva vs. Jorge Rivera (Replays: Oct. 22)
Sunday Oct. 12: “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler vs. Murilo “Ninja” Rua (Replays: Oct. 24)
Sunday Oct. 19: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Sean Gray (Replays: Oct. 29)

The four-episode deal between FSN and ProElite that resulted in the specials that debut this weekend are part of an effort to enhance the growing fan base for MMA. Announced last month, the FSN programs will pit top name, impact fighters in bouts that showcase the incredible talent of ProElite’s MMA combatants.

“Being included in the FSN’s Sunday Sports Block gives us an opportunity to develop our audience and add to our TV cache by putting more of our MMA superstars in primetime,” said ProElite VP of Home Entertainment Turi Altavilla. “We think this series has terrific potential and we are really excited about it.”

WEC Drops Middleweight & Light Heavyweight Divisions

September 26, 2008

Months of speculation ended on Thursday as Zuffa’s World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) announced that they will no longer be promoting fights at the 185lbs. or 205lbs. weight limits.

It’s become clear that the WEC is very much focused on becoming the home for the best lighter weight fighters in the world. Dropping the heavier weights will help to solidfy their niche place in the market, while also giving greater opportunities to lighter fighters.

In recent months and years the WEC have largely ridden the coat tails of their champions like Urijah Faber and Carlos Condit. Now, with extra room on their cards, they’ll be able to grow the names of some of the other truly talented fighters they have on the roster – uber-talents like Miguel Torres, for example.

And although, the announcement stopped short of talking about the future of current WEC-contracted fighters at the middleweight and light heavyweight limits, it’s safe to assume that some of them will find a home in Zuffa’s other holding, the UFC.

TUF 8 Episode 2 Ratings

September 26, 2008

The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 Episode 2 earned a 1.2 household rating, a 1.4 in Men 18-49, a 1.6 in Men 18-34, and an average audience of 1.5 million viewers.

Among Basic Cable Networks that aired between 10p-11p, TUF ranked #2 in Men 18-49 and Men 18-34 (behind FX Sons of Anarchy).

HDNet Purchase of IFL Assets Possible

September 26, 2008

According to a recent filing by the IFL, HDNet LLC has offered to purchase the assets of the IFL for $650,000. The deal is pursuant to agreement from IFL shareholders on the deal and no further higher bids being placed.

The main item of value from the deal would be the video library, which clocks in at around 400 hours of various footage. The library would bolster the MMA offerings available on HDNet. There is an old business meme that states that content is king and that is what is driving this purchase. While the library isn’t first run material, it also doesn’t have the costs associated with first run or live material either (like the high cost of HD filming, salaries, union rules, satellite time, etc.).

The IFL does still have TV deals in place with FSN and a slew of international contracts, but with HDNet wanting the library for content for its own channel, it is doubtful anything will be done with these existing deals if the sale goes through.

As detailed in earlier financial filings, one of the remaining liabilities on the books for the IFL are the contracts that some of the coaches have with the fight group. If these contracts are assumed, HDNet has a range of properties (Inside MMA, color commentary on HDNet fight cards) through which to employ the coaches to receive some value for their money.

MMA Lifestyle Apparel is Opportunity Field

September 26, 2008

Pacific Business News has a good article up illustrating the opportunities that MMA provides to those looking to enter the business field. The article centers around the fortunes of Illicit Wear Inc., which does business as Skin Industries Hawaii. When looking to start a business in Hawaii, they faced a nearly impossible battle to crack into the local surf and skate market rife with high end players:

They also knew they faced an uphill battle in an already saturated surf and skate market dominated by Mainland companies such as Quicksilver, Billabong and Volcom and Hawaii companies such as T & C Surf Designs, Hawaiian Island Creations, Local Motion and Honolua Surf Co.

Their strategy: tap into an emerging niche market geared toward the mixed martial arts, motocross, alternative, active lifestyle set.

The MMA lifestyle arena was a key dimension of these efforts. MMA Lifestyle vendors and companies were much more receptive to working with them in filling out their product offerings for their retailing location, with MMA apparel player Skin Industries becoming a key partner:

He doggedly pursued vendors for under-the-radar brands such as Sullen, Osiris, DC Shoes, Silverstar and Zooyork and eventually joined with California-based Skin Industries for what would be the Claytons’ first store.

In addition to graphic T-shirts, surf shorts and skater shoes, the stores sell clothing and accessories for mixed martial arts and motocross.

The company generated $717,000 in sales in 2006, its first year in business, then grew by about 80 percent to $1.3 million last year. Sales have reached $1.4 million already this year.

This summer, they entered into a partnership with the Carlsbad, Calif., company to rebrand as the state’s first No Fear Hawaii stores.

A still growing industry like MMA lifestyle apparel was key in providing the doorway of opportunity for Illicit. A direct leap into the surf and skate market would have been improbable but their MMA play allowed them to achieve their end goal of having a foot in surf and skate, with the added bonus of having a more diversified product offering in the end than their competitors by virtue of their MMA and motocross offerings. Theirs may not be a pure MMA play but such hybrid mixes of Surf/Skate/MMA look to be a growing trend of the future. The recent Virtue Expo is another signal that this will be a growth area of the future of MMA lifestyle apparel.

Pacquaio vs De La Hoya Gate: $17 million

September 26, 2008

While reports indicate the Couture-Lesnar gate should break new records and exceed the $5 million mark, those numbers seem to pale in comparison to the monster figures being put up by the December fight between Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquaio:

It must be a dream fight — it sold out in minutes Tuesday to the tune of nearly $17 million in ticket sales, the second-biggest gate ever behind De La Hoya-Mayweather.

(Editor’s Note: Clarified in order the put forth the correct Gate/Site Fee Distribution)…Golden Boy Productions is believed to have just completed a “four wall deal” for the fight. A casino four wall deal has many variations, but usually means the talent gets the venue rent free but no money guarantee. The promoter and fighter works off either all or a percentage of revenue from ticket sales. The casino may or may not cover some costs and keeps the gate in lieu of a site fee. It is never both….a casino either gives you a site fee and they keep the ticket gate, or the promoter rents the venue and they keep the gate. The Golden Boy deal is believed to be one where GBP keeps the entire gate in lieu of a site fee.

These numbers are illustrative of a couple of things in regards to mixed martial arts. One is the different financial planes the two sports operate on when it comes to their high end shows. The UFC looks to have a highly profitable run of cards from November to January, but it would take two or possibly all three of the UFC cards to equal the De La Hoya fight when all the monies are finally counted.

The second thing to take from this is the war chest available to Golden Boy in their Affliction experiment. They certainly have the wallet for the deal, but do they have the will? In the absence of a true understanding of MMA within GB, will there be a crisis of faith in their co-promoted cards with Affliction? That is a key question, one that you would think was answered in the affirmative before they ever decided to step into the MMA arena.

Billboard Rec Sports DVD Chart – 10/04/08

September 26, 2008

The Billboard Recreational Sports DVD Chart for the week of October 4th:

1 WWE: The Life And Times Of Mr. Perfect

2 UFC 84: Ill Will

3 WWE: The Rock: The Most Electrifying Man In Sports Entertainment

4 UFC: The Best Of Fight Night Live

5 2001 FedEx Orange Bowl National Championship

6 Pride Fighting Championships 32: The Real Deal

7 WWE: Nature Boy Ric Flair: The Definitive Collection

8 NBA Champions 2007-2008: Boston Celtics

9 WWE: The Best Of Raw: 15th Anniversary 1993-2008

10 WWE: Twist Of Fate: The Matt & Jeff Hardy Story

This week indicates a strong showing from the UFC, with three properties in the Top 10. The multiple titles indicate that, while the WWE still tend to dominate the sports DVD industry, the UFC is upping their game in this realm.

Pacquaio Takes on Promoter Role

September 25, 2008

SignOnSanDiego has details on boxing champ and Filipino legend Manny Pacquaio entering the promotional end of the boxing business.

Tomorrow’s program represents the first promotional venture by Manny Pacquiao Promotions in this country. Sycuan Ringside Promotions is co-promoting it in its outdoor venue on a hill above the casino. Six bouts are scheduled, including a scheduled 10-round main event

The Pacquaio deal with Sycuan is part of a larger deal that also adds MMA into the mix. Sycuan are taking a multi headed approach when it comes to combat sports, having both MMA cards and boxing cards in their product mix (though not on the same card like a proposed Affliction/Golden boy type scenario). :

Gibbons said Sycuan views this card as a test run for a series of boxing and mixed martial arts programs the casino is planning. “To see if people will come out,” Gibbons said. “Our whole objective is to do programs on a regular basis.”

According to Gibbons, the series is to be made up of six boxing and six MMA cards, with the first MMA card scheduled for Oct. 2. Total Combat, a San Diego firm, is joining Sycuan in the MMA field, Gibbons said.

While this isn’t the extreme of the Affliction Golden Boy pairing, it does signal a dovetailing of interests between the two sports in the minds of venue operators like the Sycuan folks. MMA purists seem content to consign boxing to the scrap heap, but the sport isn’t going anywhere and will continue to occupy space with MMA in the combat sport landscape. Still in question is nature of the relationship between the two and if the general public will support an evolutionary leap like that being put forth by the Affliction-Golden Boy promotions. An intermediary measure like the efforts by Sycuan (separate cards but under one promotional umbrella via Sycuan) may be more palatable and a step towards that end.

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