Jackson’s management clarifies severing ties with Bellator

December 29, 2014

The manager for Rampage Jackson issued a statement regarding the reasons it left Bellator and signed with the UFC per a report with MMA Fighting.  Jackson’s management cites Bjorn Rebney as the source of the contractual irregularity with Bellator and its subsequent reasons it left the company.

Per Lee Gwynn, Jackson’s manager, Jackson was disenchanted with Bellator and decided to leave.  According to Gwynn, in addition to a Bellator contract, Bjorn Rebney offered a Paramount movie deal, a Spike TV reality show and a TNA pro wrestling contract.  Gwynn interpreted these additional incentives as creating an entertainment contract rather than a normal fight contract.  He also included a PPV payment model for Jackson.

It appears from the statement that the PPV buys did not meet Jackson’s incentives in his contract and they looked to renegotiate the structure at that point.  However, Rebney was replaced by Scott Coker.

As Gwynn interprets the contract with Bellator as an entertainment contract, they claim that there was a 45 day notice to list the grievances it had with the company and the company had time to rectify the issues.  Obviously, with Jackson signing with the UFC, Coker was not able to satisfy Jackson’s concerns.  Per Gwynn’s statement it gave Bellator 70 days instead of the requisite 45 days.

Gwynn indicated that his lawyers, UFC lawyers and “an outside law firm” agreed with Jackson’s position that terminating the Bellator contract was “legitimate.”

Payout Perspective:

This is obviously one side of the story.  But, Jackson’s reps paint the picture that Rebney is to blame for the contract and the subsequent breach.  The question of whether Jackson could renegotiate the contract when the PPV did not fulfill his contract is an issue.  Also, another issue is whether the additional “entertainment” sweeteners made the entire contract an entertainment contract.  Rampage did have a “reality series” on SpikeTV entitled “#Rampage4Real.”  He also participated in TNA.  As we recently revisited the Ronda Rousey split with Fight Tribe, at least in California (we assume the Rampage contract was signed in California since Bellator’s office is in Newport Beach) the fight contract and entertainment portion of the contract can be parsed out to be litigated and/or arbitrated.  This will not be the end of this contractual drama.

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