Alvarez lawyers request preliminary injunction to appear at UFC 159

January 20, 2013

Eddie Alvarez’s attorneys will seek a preliminary injunction to allow the free agent lightweight to sign a Zuffa contract to fight at UFC 159 on April 27, 2013. The Order to Show Cause hearing is set for January 25th.

According to Court papers filed in the US District Court for the District of New Jersey by Alvarez’s attorney, Zuffa will not promote or contract with Alvarez until it has Court permission.  It has to do so within 90 days of the event.  Thus, the deadline is January 27th (the hearing is set for Friday the 25th since the 27th is Sunday).

The hearing is to show cause as to “why Bellator should not be restrained from interfering with Alvarez’s prospective contract with Zuffa and why Alvarez should not be permitted  to contract with Zuffa, so that he may participate in Zuffa’s April 27, 2013 event.

As in all preliminary injunctions, the threshold Alvarez’s attorneys must prove for the Court to grant the preliminary junction is:
1) the likelihood of success on the merits;
2) that Alvarez will suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is denied;
3) that granting the preliminary relief will not result in even greater harm to the nonmoving party (Bellator); and
4) that the public interest favors such relief.

If granted, Alvarez’s attorneys would post a bond pending the outcome of the litigation.

Payout Perspective:

Elements 1 through 3 are questionable especially element 1 which we believe Bellator will base much of its substantive argument.  Bellator briefing opposing the preliminary injunction should be filed this week.  It will be interesting to see what the state court will do here considering the general notion that preliminary injunctions are usually granted. Alvarez’s attorneys emphasize the uniqueness and short duration of a fighter’s career to stress the need that Alvarez should be allowed to participate in the April card.

In the pleadings, Alvarez’s attorneys hypothesize that the Court should grant the preliminary injunction notwithstanding the fact that the Court may decide in favor of Bellator on the merits. Thus creating the scenario that Alvarez fights on the April card for the UFC but then Bellator will have the rights (although limited) to re-sign Alvarez.  The attorneys for Alvarez also point to a $500 bond indicated in the Bellator contract.  Usually, posting bond is much more and this would be a nominal amount.  If the Court grants the injunction, Alvarez’s attorneys would need to post bond pending the outcome of litigation.  A $500 bond would be worth the amount he could make at UFC 159 based on the proposed contract Zuffa has already offered Alvarez.

MMA Payout will continue to monitor this week.

21 Responses to “Alvarez lawyers request preliminary injunction to appear at UFC 159”

  1. BrainSmasher on January 21st, 2013 6:59 AM

    I think what people missed on all of this that already happen to the UFC is the fighters seeing what this contract was. The UFC can afford to pay Bendo and others this type of money. You cam bet your ass Chandler is going to ask for even more than what they offered Alverez. Is Bellator willing or able to pay him 250K sign bonus and about 100k to show and 100k to win? Then what about their other champs? This just caused every fighter to not resign and test the free agent waters. Which is going to great rise Bellators expense drastically or cause them to lose tons of fighters. This is why the UfC had to bite the bullet over the years on some fighters and just let them go. It was how they controlled fighter expense. Bellator wether they win this case or not really shot themselves in the ass.

  2. Killa K on January 21st, 2013 11:09 AM

    Brainsmasher has spoken the correct.

  3. Ogueira on January 21st, 2013 11:36 AM

    Is there a link to the court papers? I think Element 2 might actually be the most difficult one for Alvarez to prove — typically, courts don’t treat monetary damages/lost income as “irreparable harm.” I’m curious what non-monetary irreparable harm Alvarez is claiming; best I can come up with off the top of my head is the fact that a fighter’s career and thus earning potential is extremely finite, so the longer this legal battle goes on, the more he loses out on his time and ability to earn an income/progress his career. I don’t know how convincing that argument is, though.

  4. Sampson Simpson on January 21st, 2013 12:27 PM

    I doubt it since they are building guys from scratch at a really cheap price.

    UFC has a huge overhead and relies on PPV which isn’t good to build a fan base or get eyeballs on the product.

    End of 2013 = Beginning of the end for the UFC

  5. Henry on January 21st, 2013 2:34 PM

    “A $500 bond would be worth the amount he could make at UFC 159 based on the proposed contract Zuffa has already offered Alvarez.”

    Must be a Typo, $500 seems rather small.

    The UFC signed Ben Henderson to a new contract (8 fight) a week ago – a few days after he tweeted his show & win money in response to UFC’s Alvarez contract. Henderson says:

    “New deal done w/ @danawhite, @lorenzofertitta and @ufc, I’m a HAPPY man…thx to @malkikawa, @TheMMALawyer for staying late on this biz”

    @Brian
    I agree with your analysis that the details of Alverez’s UFC contract will put a strain on future Bellator contract negotiations w/ fighters. The UFC can afford to pay ‘stars’ decent d of money, but can Bellator? What will happen when Chandler & other champions decide they want more money?

    The Alvarez/Bellator contract dispute may see fighters preferring to stick to regional shows until the UFC comes calling instead of sign with Bellator.

    For example, Charlie the Spaniard Brenneman was cut by the UFC last year and chose to fight in a regional promotion. Many fighters when cut by the UFC, amass a few wins in regional promotions, then get called back.

    No fighter wants to be in Tyson Nam or Alvarez type situation?

    @Sampson Simpson
    “UFC has a huge overhead and relies on PPV which isn’t good to build a fan base or get eyeballs on the product”

    …That’s why they’re on FOX and have UFC Fight Nights & UFC on FX, all free. The UFC do a good job getting “eyeballs on the product”, there a many free TV shows.

  6. Jeremy Lynch on January 21st, 2013 4:08 PM

    According to other online reports, the UFC has tweaked the wording so Eddie will get a PPV cut if he does co-headline this event. If so, I would think it will make it much harder for Bellator to say the offers are equal.

    And to Sampson: Henderson/Diaz was seen by 5 million people on Fox. and the UFC now has more free shows than ever before.

  7. Brain Smasher on January 21st, 2013 4:55 PM

    What really sucks is guys like Chandler who have the belt are stuck in the Champions clause. So as long as Chandler has the belt he cant be a free agent. If Bellator chooses to not give him a raise. Then he could be locked into his current deal for an infinite amount of fights until he loses. Not that it would go that far but it could. Because of the champion clause he might not get market value.

    I was thinking worst case senario how a fighter coudl deal with the Champion clause. IF you lose it hurts what you can command as a free agent. Even if you took a dive you couldnt and wouldnt want to admit that. So i come to a simple solution to save face and get out of the champ clause. When you fight starts come out and kick the guys straight in the balls as blatent as possible to get a DQ and lose the belt. You would lose but it wouldnt not reflect on your ability. It would be looked at like Jon Jones loss to Matt Hamill. Now you are a free agent lol.

  8. Sampson Simpson on January 21st, 2013 9:51 PM

    Free shows on Fuel seen by nobody.

    UFC used to do over 2 million viewers + for the live broadcast of their events wiyh 2-3 more million on replays via Spike.

    FOX shows get one live viewership figure then are relegated to mo mans land on fueltv

  9. Brain Smasher on January 21st, 2013 11:18 PM

    Soon you wont have anything to bitch about. Fox is taking all sports off FX and rebranding Fuel to Fox Sports 2. Im willing to bet the UFC gets more time on FOX and FX events will be moved to Speed which i assume will be Fox Sports 1 as it is in 80 million homes in stead of the 37.6 million fuel has.

    The only way this would worki out for the UFC is if they were given more time on FOX. Maybe TUF will move to Fox atleast. I6ts doubtful the UFC can lose much viewers if it isnt give more fox time. But the potential is there for more time on FOX which means more viewers. Also i expect more Fuel content to be moved to Speed where it will get more ratings. Therefore serving you a big heaping serving of Crow with a side of STFU! lol

  10. Jose Mendoza on January 22nd, 2013 12:16 AM

    Brain Smasher:

    The move is very risky in my opinion. The UFC loses FX, which is one of the best rated networks on Cable and which is in 99M homes. They now move the FX content to Fox Sports 1 (SPEED), which is in 81M homes. Fuel TV then gets rebranded to Fox Sports 2, but their reach will still be 35M homes and is where most of the UFC content still. FOX will not air more UFC content, so this seems like a downgrade to me. Moving from a casual heavy network like FX and moving it to a 2nd tier sports startup network trying to compete against ESPN & who’s best sports are MLB, NASCAR, CFB, CBB, and some soccer doesn’t seem like a great plan to me at the moment. Seems like Fuel TV was a big bust, even with UFC programming and now some major restructuring is going on within FOX.

  11. Jason Cruz on January 22nd, 2013 12:30 AM

    @Henry: I see the problem with my quote. I am stating that paying a $500 bond would be worth it considering he’d be making much more. How it can be interpreted (that a $500 bond is more than Zuffa would pay him at 159) can be confusing. My fault.

    Also I corrected the court in which the injunction will be heard. Its the US Dist Court for the district of New Jersey, not its state court.

  12. Sampson Simpson on January 22nd, 2013 6:32 AM

    This is bad for.the UFC and only gives Bellator more juice. End is near…

  13. Chris on January 22nd, 2013 9:05 AM

    Does Sampson Simpson work for Bellator? All this guy talks about is riding Bellators nuts and talking about the UFC is done.

    Bellator has 1 event, the biggest events they’ve ever done and it only did a million viewers and this guy thinks Bellator is gonna take over? LOL

  14. Chris on January 22nd, 2013 9:09 AM

    Jose you do realize Fuel being rebranded into a sports network and getting other sports on it will get carriers to pick it up, right?

    They will def be in more homes just like FS1 will get in more homes. This is just where they start, they arent stuck on these numbers forever, they can get both networks into more homes.

    And yes FX was one of the best rated networks for series not sports.

    Is FX a better network than Spike? then why did the UFC numbers go down when they moved to a better network? Yes TUF and fight nights were on a bad night but they didnt kill in teh ratings so its not like FX was some great network that helped them.

    Being on an all sports network that Fox is behind could help them in the long term.

  15. Sampson Simpson on January 22nd, 2013 9:26 AM

    Sure Chris… sure. Keep cheerleading little guy

  16. Chris on January 22nd, 2013 11:20 AM

    isnt that what you are doing for Bellator Sampson?

  17. Sampson Simpson on January 22nd, 2013 8:12 PM

    Nope. Just the facts

  18. Jose Mendoza on January 22nd, 2013 8:22 PM

    Chris,

    There are no guarantees that providers will want to add FS2 and FS1 to more homes. Let me ask you this, what is FS2 going to show that viewers or carriers will want? You don’t just re-brand and get magically added to millions of households. There is a reason a ton of sports properties are leaving FOX and why carriers are fighting back from all these sports networks and channels being created and trying to get more money.

    NBC and CBS have tried to create their sports networks to go up against ESPN and have not done well at all. They can’t outbid ESPN so they are stuck with lower tier sporting content. It’s going to be very tough for FS1 and FS2 to put sports on the network that will draw good ratings.

    There are many variables here. What tier will they end up in? Will customers need to upgrade to a sports package where they were getting FX on the standard package before, etc? Many variables still left to be ironed out so I wouldn’t bet on being added to millions of households just yet.

  19. Brain Smasher on January 23rd, 2013 12:31 AM

    Jose

    I agree it is risky. But what are they really risking? Ratings? Not really sure that their current ratings effect their PPV buys so much and they havent started bring in new buys yet anyway. I dont think anyone wil stop watchig the content they already watch. But it will hurt their expose in the short term. But there is also the possibility the rebranded Fuel netowrk gets picked up with its new plan and future. We could see much of the Fuel contend switched to FOx Sports 1 which would be a ratings boost. We could also see UFC get more time on Fox to compensate any percieved down grade. Most importantly UFC moves off FX that clearly isnt a sports friendly network. Its lead ins are never the same demograpic and the UFC gets no help. Being on a sports network will help and the UFC is always going to bring their fans regardless of what channel. We saw this with Verses. Its nice if you can count on 500,000 plus sports fans to join your 1 millions + UFC fans.for a solid rating. FX wasnt providing that.

    It is risky but riding out the same situation wasnt a good idea either. Numbers on FX wasnt what was expected. Time would have made it worse since peope were starting to panic. Fuels growth become stagnant. So this is th best option IMO.

    I also believe Fox and UFC knew about this rebranding before they worked out a deal and why they did the deal to be on fuel when it looks a little strange at first. UFC had to suspect something and ask question when they are put on a racing network with a racing name. We all kind of knew that wasnt going to last. Im sure they were told it wouldnt last too. With a non racing name and more conventional sports it will be picked up by more providers that it is now as a network with the UFC and a bunch other crap.

  20. Sampson Simpson on January 23rd, 2013 7:50 AM

    Brainsmasher is obviously stupid. She seems scared to admit the obvious.

    No… there will be no more regular FOX dates allocated for UFC. That’s plain and clear.

    Now the UFC is OFF FX, a well distributed cable channel and is now relegated to weak sports channels that nobody tunes into casually. Sure the UFC can bring in their own fans but what about bringing in new ones?

    That’s what FX was for, reaching a new demographic. Just like dumb ass BS states that Bellator is only catering to old fans on Spike… that’s still a hell of a lot more fans than the amount that will tune into FS1 or FS2.

    Cry me a river… HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

  21. Sampson Simpson on January 23rd, 2013 9:47 AM

    And if you already didn’t prove your lack of business sense… ratings = sponsors/advertisers.

    Now that their reach has been CHOPPED, their marketing partners and sponsorship revenue will go down with it. As PPV numbers continue to dwindle and ratings on FS1 & FS2 being tiny compared to what they used to get on SPIKE, it only spells disaster for the brand.

    D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R

    Your welcome for the education Dana

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