CSAC rules Rousey released from fight contract
April 4, 2014
Sherdog’s Mike Whitman first reported that the California State Athletic Commission issued its ruling in the arbitration of Ronda Rousey and Fight Tribe Management. The commission ruled that Rousey is released from her fight contract but left the commercial aspect of the contract to the court.
Executive Director of the CSAC, Andy Foster heard the arbitration between the parties last week over the dispute between the UFC women’s bantamweight champion and her manager Darin Harvey. Originally, Harvey had petitioned the Los Angeles Superior Court for the issue regarding the representation agreement between the parties to be decided via arbitration. However Rousey’s legal representatives claimed that the contract should be determined by the CSAC. The arbitration was held on March 28 with Foster serving as the arbitrator with the assistance of two attorneys from the AGs office.
Harvey claimed that the representation agreement was drafted as a talent contract and not a fighter-manager contract. Regardless, Rousey’s attorneys argued that the representation agreement was void under California law.
The facts stated that Rousey and Harvey entered into a 3 year agreement starting on May 15, 2012 and signed on January 29, 2013. Harvey would receive 10% of Rousey’s income generated from professional fighting, modeling, acting and other commercial activities. However, the CSAC determined that the agreement “was not prepared on the required, pre-approved forms, nor did both parties appear before the commission at the same time in order to receive the commission’s approval, thereby invalidating the agreement as a fighter-manager contract in California.” (quote via Sherdog) The CSAC ruled that Harvey was not a “manager” as defined under Business and Professions Code section 18628
The CSAC left open the issue as to the “commercial activities” that were incidental to “fighting activities” to the court. So, it’s likely that we have not heard the last of this dispute.
MMA Payout will have more on this decision as it becomes available. The initial read from Sherdog’s report reflects the fact that this contract dispute is not over. It’s interesting to note that based on the information available, Harvey sought his manager fee from “commercial activities” which may have been a conflict with Rousey’s agents at William Morris. We note that Rousey signed Fight Tribe’s agreement on January 29, 2013 and then signed on with William Morris in late February 2013. Whether this was coordinated by Harvey and/or the relationship between Fight Tribe and William Morris became strained over time is an issue that may play out in court proceedings.