White replaces judge at UFC Fight Night 48

August 25, 2014

UFC president Dana White relieved a fight judge of his duties at UFC Fight Night 48 this past Saturday.  Not satisfied with the judge’s scores, White replaced him for the rest of the night.

As this was a self-regulated event, the UFC apparently had the authority to do this since Macau does not have a commission to do this.  According to the Junkie article, White admitted it was not a good night for officials and shouldered the blame since they were in charge of appointing the judges for the event.

(H/t:  MMA Junkie)

Payout Perspective:

It was an interesting move and perhaps a subtle sign for the commissions in places like Nevada and California that the removal of a judge during an event can happen if the judge is not doing his or her job.  It also poses an uncomfortable situation where the appearance of impartiality is compromised.  Essentially, if the UFC does not like the outcome of a fight, it switches the judges.  Sure, there are a lot of decisions where the judging is quite poor, but you have to live with the good and bad.  And while the removal of the judge on Saturday could be seen as a proactive move on the UFC’s part, it could also open it up to much more criticism.

Latest round of court filings in Zuffa-New York lawsuit

August 24, 2014

Late last week Zuffa and the State of New York have filed its opposition to each party’s motions for summary judgment.  The responsive briefing is the continued litigation in the UFC’s quest to legalize professional MMA in the state.

As you may recall, both parties filed Motions for Summary Judgment.  New York filed a Motion for Summary Judgment in hopes of dismissing the remaining claim by Zuffa that the New York law that bans professional MMA is unconstitutionally vague.  Zuffa’s Motion for Summary Judgment would essentially strike down the law and preclude New York from its enforcement.

In its opposition to New York’s Motion for Summary Judgment it claims that it has standing to raise its challenge to the New York statute.  The argument is in direct rebuttal to New York’s assertion in its moving papers that Zuffa had no standing to bring the lawsuit in the first place since it could not claim injury.   Zuffa contends that it does have standing since it was the “object” of the state regulation.  Here, Zuffa argues that it was a direct object of the law as it is prohibiting professional MMA in the state.

In addition, it rebuts New York’s contention that there was no injury (and thus no standing).  The first was the claim that Zuffa had no plans to hold an event in New York and thus there was no injury.  The second contention was that Zuffa had no agreement with an Exempt Organization in the statute (which would allow for it to hold an event in the state). However, Zuffa argues that it “has taken all steps – short of violating the criminal law – to hold a professional MMA event in New York and it need not put itself in legal jeopardy to establish standing.”  In fact, in its brief, it indicates it has secured a date at Madison Square Garden for 2015.  It also cites that the UFC had discussions with the WKA (“World Kickboxing Association”), an Exempt Organization under the New York law, about working together to hold a UFC event.  Zuffa contends that there was a “meeting of the minds” about putting together professional matches in New York.

The opposition papers from Zuffa also argue that the statute in question is vague as to whether it is enforceable on Indian reservations in New York.  Specifically, Zuffa argues in its pleadings that “it is interested in promoting events on Indian reservations in New York – particularly if it is unable to do so elsewhere in the state.”

New York responds to this assertion about its enforcement of a state statute on an Indian reservation (which as many know, Indian reservations are governed by federal law).  New York argued that it has dominion over “offenses on Indian reservations within the State of New York to the same extent that it has over offenses commented elsewhere in the State.”

In addition, the papers also argue over the vagueness of the statute as it pertains to amateur MMA and the New York liquor statute which allows licenses at events.

Notably, New York is seeking to strike some of the evidence which Zuffa attached to its initial Motion for Summary Judgment stating that it is inadmissible for a variety of evidentiary reasons (e.g., lack of authentication, hearsay, irrelevance, opinion, etc.).  The court will have to determine New York’s motion to strike prior to determining how to rule on Zuffa’s motion.  Some of the evidence New York would like to have stricken from consideration is the issue with the differing interpretations of the law banning professional MMA in the state by multiple government officials.

AG Brief by JASONCRUZ206

Zuffa's Opposition.PDF by JASONCRUZ206

Payout Perspective:

The legal argument continues.  Zuffa appears to have the clearer arguments in the opposition briefing.  However, New York is seeking to strike the evidence which appears to be the most damaging – the multiple interpretations of enforcement of the law.  This would undercut the argument that the statute is unconstitutionally vague since a portion of the legal argument is that the multiple interpretations of the law by the same officials that are to enforce it is evidence that the law is vague.  If that evidence is wiped from the record, there’s less for the court to consider. We will see how each side responds to the opposition briefing.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

UFC Fight Night 49 numbers

August 23, 2014

MMA Junkie reports that UFC Fight Night 49 in Tulsa, Oklahoma drew 7,119 and a live gate of $452,075.  The figures were announced at the post-event press conference.  In addition, Rafael dos Anjos heads the list of bonus winners for UFC Fight Night 49 on Saturday night from Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Dos Anjos scored the bonus with an upset victory via first round KO of Benson Henderson.  In addition, Jordan Mein, Thales Leites and Ben Saunders scored “Performance of the Night” bonuses.  For the second time today, no “Fight of the Night” award was given out.

(H/t:  MMA Junkie).

The attendance and gate did not reveal the number of comps.  The Bok Center, where the event was held, holds up to 19,199 although the configuration for the UFC event was not revealed.  The event outdrew UFC Fight Night 48 by 97.

Payout Perspective:

The returning Saunders showed us that the Eddie Bravo “mission control” technique works with the first ever oomaplata submission as he subbed Chris Heatherly.  The attendance for both events fared better than last weekend’s UFC Fight Night 47.  UFC FN 49’s attendance and gate is lower than June’s regional fight nights in New Mexico and San Antonio but appears to be par for the course with these events.

UFC Fight Night 48 attendance and bonuses

August 23, 2014

MMA Junkie reports the attendance and bonuses from this morning’s UFC Fight Night 48 which took place at the Venetian in Macau off the coast of China.

There was no Fight of the Night bonuses although 4 fighters received the $50,000 Performance bonuses:  Michael Bisping, Tyron Woodley, Alberto Mina and Yuta Sasaki.

In addition, attendance was announced at the post-fight press conference although no gate was revealed.  UFC officials declared the event at The Venetian Macao’s CotaiArena a sellout with 7,022 in attendance.

As indicated by Junkie, there were two other events held at the CotaiArena.  Notably, the last 2 were this year and no gate was reported.

UFC on Fuel TV 6 – November 2012 8,415/$1.4 million gate

UFC Fight Night 48 – August 2014 7,022

TUF China Finale – March 2014 6,000

Payout Perspective:

It’s interesting that the trend is that gate tallies are not being announced for international shows. Although considered a sellout, UFC Fight Night did not have as many in attendance as it did in November 2012.  This could be a seat configuration issue.  There were some good individual efforts on the card but nothing FOTN worthy.

Pacquiao does not have to post $75M bond in PI tax case

August 22, 2014

Manny Pacquiao will not have to pay $75.2 million in taxes…yet.  This is based on a recent Philippine Supreme Court ruling which stated that the government could not seize the boxer’s assets while his income tax case is being heard per Yahoo! Sports.

The tax issue was based on the claim that the Filipino boxer had unpaid taxes totaling 2.2 billion pesos (roughly $45 million U.S. dollars) in 2008 and 2009.  Prior to the court ruling, Pacquiao would have had to provide a cash bond of 3.3 billion pesos ($75.2 million), which is the tax amount that is in dispute.

Per Yahoo! Sports, Pacquiao claims that he paid the 2008-2009 taxes in the U.S. and due to an agreement between the U.S. and the Philippines he did not have to pay the tax bill in the Philippines to avoid double taxation.  The Philippines claims that he did not provide evidence that he paid the amount in the U.S.  Even if he did pay, he’d still have debt in the Philippines because the taxes were higher in the Philippines.

Payout Perspective:

The fact that Pacquiao’s career earnings greatly exceed the $75.2 million in dispute is a red flag and something we’ve written about in the past.  The great fear is that Pacquiao could end up bankrupt at the end of his career despite being one of the highest paid fighters in recent memory.  Moreover, how must it look for a public official in the Philippines to have such a case for unpaid taxes.  For Pacquiao’s sake, hopefully he has trustworthy attorneys and accountants that can find their way out of this mess.

Boxer Ward loses again to promoter

August 21, 2014

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by boxer Andre Ward which attempted to terminate his promotional contract with promoter Dan Goossen.  Although the case was dismissed, there are other pending lawsuits between the boxer and promoter.

Ward had filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court seeking declaratory relief which would invalidate the promotional contract with Goossen.  Ward argued that the promotional contact he signed with Goossen exceeded the seven year maximum which would be in violation of California Labor Code Section 2855.  Ward and his counsel had argued that the Court ruling should have preceded the CSAC Arbitration hearing this past spring.  As you may recall, the CSAC ruled in favor of Goossen in determining the validity of the promotional contact.  Adding insult to injury, the court used the CSAC ruling as guidance for its own ruling that the promotional contract was valid.

Although Ward lost here, he has filed a lawsuit in federal court in the Bay Area citing violation of the Muhammad Ali Act.  As a result, Goossen has filed his own lawsuit for defamation which relates to statements made alleging Goossen’s promotional activities should be investigated for criminal activities.

Payout Perspective:

Realistically, the loss here may not be as big as one might think.  Essentially, the CSAC had ruled on the promotional agreement and the court appears to have just followed suit.  Ward’s legal team is likely focusing on the Ali Act violations as well as defending the Goossen defamation lawsuit.  Ward’s team might try to remove the Goossen lawsuit from LA Superior Court and “consolidate” it with its claim in federal court.  This may be a strategic maneuver by Ward’s legal team and also a practical matter as there would be two different lawsuits in different courts (one federal, one state) with different court deadlines.

Le contributes sponsor money to orphanage

August 21, 2014

MMA Junkie reports that Cung Le will be donating a large part of his sponsorship money to a Vietnamese orphanage.  Le bought rice, toys, candy and gave money to an orphanage in his native Vietnam.

The 42 year old former Strikeforce champion faces Michael Bisping at UFC Fight Night 48 in Macau, China. Le put video/photos on his Instagram account commemorating his vist.

Payout Perspective:

The gesture by Le reflects the good that many UFC athletes do for charity and from a public relations perspective it’s good publicity leading to this Saturday’s event.  Although no monetary figure was reported and it’s not clear how much Le would have made from his sponsors, one would hope it would be a generous donation rather than a modest gift to get publicity.  One would think that if his sponsors knew ahead of time it would have matched and/or contributed to the donation by Le as a way to help out as well as piggy-back the press.

 

Payout Perspective:

The gesture by Le reflects the good that many UFC athletes do for charity and from a public relations perspective it’s good publicity leading to this Saturday’s event.  Although no monetary figure was reported and it’s not clear how much Le would have made from his sponsors, one would hope it would be a generous donation rather than a modest gift to get publicity.  One would think that if his sponsors knew ahead of time it would have matched and/or contributed to the donation by Le as a way to help out as well as piggy-back the press.

NAC delays Silva decision due to motion to dismiss

August 21, 2014

At its monthly meeting held on Thursday, the Nevada State Athletic Commission tabled the disciplinary hearing of Wanderlei Silva due to the fighter’s motion to dismiss the disciplinary complaint filed against him.  No date had been set for the continued hearing.

As you recall, at the NAC hearing in June, Silva admitted he evaded a mandatory drug test in leading up to his July showdown with Chael Sonnen.  He also claimed he was taking anti-inflammatories and a diuretic at this time.  Ironically, the fight was scrapped altogether due to Sonnen’s failed tests.  The commission did not have time to properly respond to the complaint due to the late filing of the motion and continued the hearing as a result.

UPDATED:  Per Kevin Iole at Yahoo! Sports, Silva’s attorney Ross Goodman is challenging NAC 467.850 which indicates that the NAC has jurisdiction over a “licensee.”  The argument asserted by Goodman, is that Silva is a “non-licensee” and thus the NAC had no jurisdiction to employ the drug test over Silva at that time.

Payout Perspective:

The continuation of the hearing is a likely formality as the NAC wants to ensure that Silva has due process for this complaint to ensure that there will not be any further appeals from Silva’s camp.  It would be unlikely that the UFC is looking to book Silva any time soon.  From Silva’s perspective, this is reputation management and perhaps a way to mitigate any sort of prolonged suspension since he’s nearing the end of his career.  Of course, Goodman’s argument that the NAC did not have jurisdiction over Silva since he was not licensed at the time is a compelling argument.  But is it persuasive?

Glory appoints new CEO, returns to Spike for ’15

August 20, 2014

Glory Sports International announced that it has appointed Jon J. Franklin as Global Chief Executive via company press release.  It also announced that it has extended its agreement with Spike TV to provide original kickboxing programming through 2015.

Via Glory press release:

GLORY Sports International and its board of directors today [August 19, 2014] appointed Jon J. Franklin as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. In this role, Franklin will oversee management of the world’s premier kickboxing league, with coverage in over 170 global territories.

Since 2002, Franklin has been President of The Sports and Entertainment Company (Sports-EntCo), a sports and entertainment marketing firm that assisted with production, programming, sponsorship, and logistics for GLORY events in the United States.

“I look forward to working with Jon in this new capacity. He has been a big part of our incredible success thus far and is uniquely suited to lead GLORY into the next phase of development,” said Pierre Andurand, GLORY Chairman and Co-Founder. “With Jon at the helm, we are confident that 2015 will be a banner year in the evolution of our brand as a leading combat sports league in the United States and abroad”.

Previously, Franklin spent 15 years in senior roles at IMG-Media and has also served as President of Golden Gloves Boxing LLC and AP-X, a division of America Presents Boxing.

“I’m honored to have been a part of GLORY’s growth into one of the top fight promotions worldwide, but the work is not done,” said Franklin. “I truly believe that we have the best athletes in the world, with production for both live audiences and home viewers that is second to none. As we move into the new year, I can’t wait to share GLORY’s global vision for kickboxing with our fans.”

Andrew Whitaker, who served as CEO previously, will assume an advisory role withGLORY as a consultant for business development.

Payout Perspective:

The big news for kickboxing fans is that Glory will be returning to Spike TV in 2015.  We will see if there will be a new direction for the company in 2015 with the appointment of Franklin.  It will be interesting to see how it intends to increase the brand and whether it will make another attempt at a PPV or focus on events on Spike.

Promoter sues boxer Ward for defamation

August 20, 2014

Boxing promoter Dan Goossen has filed a lawsuit against boxer Andre Ward and his attorneys as a result of Ward’s lawsuit claiming that the promoter violated the Ali Act when promoting the super middleweight.

The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court accuses Ward, his attorney James McCarroll and McCarroll’s law firm Reed Smith of “character assassination.”  Ward had filed a lawsuit claiming that Dan Goossen of not providing financial disclosure information pursuant to the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act.  Prior to that, the two sides battled over the length of Ward’s promotional contract with Goossen.  In that round this past spring, in an arbitration hearing, the California State Athletic Commission ruled in favor of Goossen,

Goossen now is claiming $10 million dollars in damages plus attorney fees as a result of what the promoter claims is a “vicious campaign to smear” him.  The lawsuit appears to be due in part to public comments made by Andre Ward to BoxingScene.com that Goossen violated the Ali Act and that the U.S. Attorney’s Office launch a criminal investigation.

(H/t:  Boxing Scene)

Payout Perspective:

Boxing lawsuits never disappoint.  From Goossen’s perspective, the inference that he is doing something criminal without factual evidence (not yet presented) feasibly hurts his business and you may see why he is filing the lawsuit.  But can he prove a claim of defamation?  The key issue in a defamation claim is that the individual making the defamatory statement must know that the statement is false.  This may be a tough hurdle to surpass but we recently saw this occur with the Jesse Ventura defamation lawsuit.

Obviously, a lawyer accusing another lawyer of misrepresenting the truth is (believe it or not) frowned upon and is the proverbial “white glove slap across the face.”  Look for this lawsuit, and the Andre Ward lawsuit, to heat up in the future.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

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