Bellator files opposition for Friday hearing in Alvarez lawsuit
January 24, 2013
Bellator has filed its opposition briefing for Eddie Alvarez’s preliminary injunction. It includes two declarations which supports the contention that the organization had matched Zuffa’s offer.
On Friday, January 25th, the Court will hear Alvarez’s Order to Show Cause regarding a preliminary injunction sought by the lightweight so that he may seek a contract with Zuffa.
Bellator’s opposition includes two declarations. The first is from Main Events boxing CEO, Kathy Duva. Duva’s declaration states that matching rights clauses are commonplace in fight contracts and that guaranteed purses are the customary measure to determine whether a third party has matched terms of the contract. Duva also indicated that she is an attorney-at-law with a law degree from Seton Hall.
The next declaration is from former Showtime exec, and current EPIX TV consultant, Ray Langbord. Mr. Langbord addressed two issues in his declaration. First, he addresses the right to match issue. In reviewing the contracts in question, he opines that Bellator matched Zuffa’s offer and actually offered more non-speculative monetary compensation. Langbord also indicated that matching rights measure is guaranteed payouts as Duva addressed in her declaration. He also goes into a discussion about weighing Fox versus SpikeTV and states that Spike TV is more experienced in MMA than Fox.
Langbord, also an attorney, addresses the PPV issue. He states that despite the fact that Bellator has not run a PPV it still is capable of doing so.
As for the legal brief, we addressed the elements needed to prevail here. The most notable argument is whether Alvarez would likely prevail on the merits. Bellator argues that New Jersey does not require “matching of immaterial terms, or what appears to be the same thing, [and] do not let insubstantial variations between the third party offer and the right’s holder offer to defeat the right.”
Bellator also brings up the issue of a “poison pill” clause that has been addressed by courts in New Jersey. Essentially, poison pill clauses violate the duty of good faith and fair dealing in contracts. Bellator attorneys cite a USA Cable vs. World Wrestling Federation case as authority.
It will be interesting to see what happens Friday. Certainly, Bellator attorneys make a good case against the injunctive relief sought by Alvarez. The declarations are helpful for Bellator but necessarily instructive for the court. Yet, it does support Bellator’s belief that it matched the guaranteed money offered by Zuffa.
The poison pill clause is something that has been used in the NFL and NBA. Jeremy Lin’s contract with the Houston Rockets is an example of such a poison pill. Basically, the poison pill is something in the contract that the other side cannot or will not be able to match.