Bellator-Alvarez case will not go to trial until late 2014 at earliest

June 26, 2013

The “Joint Proposed Discovery Plan” filed with the Court in the Eddie Alvarez-Bellator case reveals the sobering reality of the judicial system.  Among the dates set by the Court, a pretrial conference will occur sometime after  September 15, 2014 which would mean an actual trial in the case would not occur until late fall 2014 or even early 2015.

The Court held an initial status conference this week which included the rendering of a “Joint Proposed Discovery Plan” which essentially lays out the plan on litigating the case.  This includes the written discovery and a plan on how many people will be deposed by each party (each side will have a maximum of 10 depositions).  It also includes a time for expert reports and expert depositions.

A pretrial conference may take place “any time after September 15, 2014 and after resolution of any dispositive motions (motions to dismiss claims)” according to the Order.

At that pretrial conference, the Court will likely appoint a Court date.  Thus, it’s most likely a trial would not commence until late 2014 or even 2015.

Another interesting note that has come out of the case is that the parties have agreed to a Discovery Confidentiality Order which may prevent the public from seeing documents deemed confidential by the parties.

Another interesting point was the status of the settlement talks which occurred prior to the filing of the discovery plan.  Bellator had offered Alvarez two PPV level fights with the first being a shot at the lightweight title currently held by Michael Chandler.  Alvarez declined the offer and countered with just one fight for Bellator.  This stalled the negotiations.

Payout Perspective:

And this is why Alvarez should not have stated that he was not going to settle with Bellator.  A trial date at best would not happen until the fall of 2014 (Alvarez will be out of action for 2 full years if this happens) but this does not even include any scheduling delays or motions to continue a trial date which are norms in litigation.  The parties have already noted that there may be scheduling issues with third parties (UFC?) and “disputes regarding designation of documents as confidential.”  Thus, there are already logistical obstacles and it’s still June 2013.  We shall see how this progresses and if the parties will look to settlement discussions.  But, in my opinion, the parties will want to conduct some discovery and depositions before any further discussions on settling occur.

9 Responses to “Bellator-Alvarez case will not go to trial until late 2014 at earliest”

  1. BrainSmasher on June 26th, 2013 11:35 PM

    Wow. Not sure what jurisdiction this is. But it sounds like Bellator might have some pull. This plays heavily in their favor. They could careless how long it takes. They have no time table. Alvarez has no real value to them like a fighter in the UFC who could sell 500K+ buys. However Alvarez does have a shelf life. He cant win a waiting game and they wont break before him due to the cost of fighting it out. He cant win.

    If I was him I would take the deal. BUt I would refuse any title fight in Bellator that would lock him into a Champions clause. Then I would look for a way out after the contract was over and start the process all over again.

    The Collateral damage Bellator will see imo is. Top guys and prospects are watching. In fact all fighters are watching this. Fighters are going to think long and hard about signing with Bellator. There is already guys who refuse to fight for the UFC rival. Opting to fight small shows until they get called up. We may start seeing more of it. Like it or not. Fighters look at Bellator as a stepping stone to get to the UFC. If Bellator is going to block them from ever making the jump to the next level. They will fight else where. Lucky for Alverez he is in a position where is was offered a lucrative contract by both sides. But what if the next time this all happens over a 20-40K contract? Missing out on a dream and fame by not getting into the UFC is easier to swallow when you are maybe making 1 million per year. But at the lower end of the pay scale it can be devastating.

    Bellator has a huge problem lately dealing with their fighters. The UFC has had a few fall outs here and there .But not many in the grand scheme of 12 years and many thousands of fighters who have passed through the UFC. Bellator has only been in the game a few years and have very few fighters and seems to cause them all kinds of problems. Seemingly due to BFC negligence. Not a good think when there is many other promotions for fighters to go to. Also if BFC ever grows. This will bite them fighting for free agents. Short term they will win this. BUt who knows long term. They might have to dig deep to repair the damage and create some good will with fans and fighters to prevent this from biting them.

  2. Jason Cruz on June 27th, 2013 5:02 AM

    @BS – Its the District Court of New Jersey. Federal, not state court so they are pretty strict on court deadlines. However, when you see “sometime after September 15th” that could be a long time after September 15th.

  3. Machiel Van on June 27th, 2013 7:36 AM

    Damn, he should find a way to settle. That’s just too much time.

  4. BrainSmasher on June 27th, 2013 9:44 AM

    MMA is the last sport you want to sit out for long periods of time. It’s like the NFL. The speed of the game is so fast that the only way to prepare is be actively fighting. Not to mention the sport is rapidly evolving because it is still relatively new. There is a pretty good history of guys who took time away and were never the same. I think Tito killed his career because he was always taking a year to 18 month breaks between fight due to contract disputes or injuries. No one trains lime they do when they have a fight coming up.

  5. Jason Cruz on June 27th, 2013 10:24 AM

    Brandon Vera is another example

  6. BrainSmasher on June 27th, 2013 3:38 PM

    Don Frye left for 3+ years and was never the same. Tank Abbott was never the same after 5 years away. Royce was never the same after 5 years away. IMO, I think Josh Barnett is still technically way behind where he was when he went to Pro Wrestling. He stopped the physical decline that inactivity in MMA has by using steroids. But his striking, BJJ and Wrestling were all better back then. Vera is a good one. Although I think styles and competition were as much a factor for him also. Another one is Frank Shamrock. He was basically inactive for 5-6 years. HE was crap when he come back. He was schooled By Renzo, Diaz, and Cung Le. Only real win was a punch drunk Baroni.

  7. BrainSmasher on June 28th, 2013 3:52 PM

    I forgot about Ken Shamrock. H went to hell after 5 years out of fighting.

  8. Matt C. on June 29th, 2013 10:42 AM

    I’m confused on how this is possible. The matching period will have ran out by the time this goes to court. Not to mention the length of the contract will almost certainly be half over by then based on the amount of fights he could have had in the almost two years this is going to drag on. How in the hell can a court not see the need to expedite this case based on the circumstances. This timetable favors one side over the other in a real big way and that should be considered.

  9. Machiel Van on July 2nd, 2013 12:12 PM

    Matt C.,

    The matching period became irrelevant, from a contractual perspective, the moment he accepted the UFC’s offer. Now that Bellator has decided to “match”, he’s beholden to one of the two contracts (either Bellator’s or the UFC’s), depending on whether or not the court accepts Bellator’s offer as an actual match. His only other option, at this point, is to retire. In my opinion, he should just settle with Bellator and get back in the cage as soon as possible. It will just take too much time for this suit to be settled in court.

    As for the court-date scheduling, I don’t know what to tell you other than that there are a slough of factors that go into the setting of court dates, and it’s almost never as cut and dry as “this party might suffer unreasonably if this issue isn’t handled in a more timely manner.” It’s probably beyond my breadth to explain it in sufficient detail.

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