Court opinion in Bellator-Rampage lawsuit made available

April 9, 2015

A copy of the court opinion by Judge Karen Suter which granted Bellator MMA’s injunction in its lawsuit against Rampage Jackson was made public.

After oral argument on April 2nd, the Court issued its opinion on April 7th.  MMA Fighting provides a copy of the lawsuit here.

The court made it abundantly clear that it was not deciding the merits of the case and specifically that it was not deciding whether the contract between Bellator and Rampage was breached.  However, it made clear that Bellator had proved its case

Although the Court referred to several cases involving boxers that sign promotional agreements and then seek additional help from other promoters, the Court distinguished this case based on the exclusivity of Bellator’s agreement with Rampage.  It sided with Bellator in its argument that it was likely that Rampage breached its contract despite the arguments raised.

As previously stated, the Court found “clear and convincing” of the following on behalf of Bellator.  The four factors in determining a preliminary injunction are as follows:

  1. A substantial likelihood of success on the merits of the case;
  2. There is a substantial threat of irreparable damage or injury if the injunction is not granted;
  3. The “balance of harms” (threatened injury) weighs in favor of the party seeking the preliminary injunction;
  4. Granting an injunction would serve the public interest.

Some interesting points from the 25 page ruling.

  • The Court emphasized the exclusivity of the contract between Bellator and Jackson. It also stressed the fame and notoriety of Jackson as evidence that Bellator would suffer injury if Jackson were allowed to participate at UFC 186.
  • The Court did not buy the argument that Bellator breached its contract since it did not provide Rampage or his management with PPV summary report. The Court indicated Bellator had substantially complied with the information and that not providing the PPV summary was not a material breach of the contract.
  • Rampage’s claim that his fights were not adequately promoted by Bellator and the need to obtain the PPV summary was necessary fell flat. The Court ruled that there was no marketing provision setting a certain amount of money that was required to promote his fights.  Even without producing the summary report for PPV, there would be no breach since the actual compensation Rampage received was not in dispute.  Furthermore, the Court opined that Rampage offered no rationale for why Bellator would not want to market and promote one of the company’s top stars.
  • The Court sided with Bellator with its argument that if Rampage were allowed to fight at UFC 186, it would harm Bellator more than just monetarily, but from a reputation and brand standpoint. Bellator argued that the “MMA community” would denigrate Bellator if Rampage were allowed to leave for the UFC.  Moreover, Bellator argued that denying the injunction would be a sign to other fighters and their managers that they could just “ignore their contracts” and leave for perceived better opportunities.  Bellator also argued that if Rampage were to leave, Bellator would have lost out on the time and money it had invested in promoting him.
  • The opinion also notes that on December 4, 2014 Scott Coker claims to have notified the UFC that Rampage was still under contract while negotiations by Rampage to the UFC were ongoing. This seems to call into question how much the UFC knew about the Bellator-Rampage contract dispute.  It also calls into question the UFC’s decision to sign him and then put him on a card prior to a legal determination.

Payout Perspective:

In the end, Rampage and his legal team may win this court battle, but the first big decision out of this case falls in Bellator’s favor.  The Court opinion preventing him to fight at UFC 186 is not a good indicator of things to come.  Certainly, the Court made it clear it was not ruling on whether a breach occurred, but the threshold for proving a preliminary injunction is warranted is high (“clear and convincing” as opposed to “more likely than not”).  We will see what Rampage’s legal team decides on whether it will appeal the decision.

Another issue that was raised in passing was the knowledge that the UFC may have known about the contract issues with Bellator.  There could have been potential legal action between Bellator and UFC regarding interference with a contract but it seems as though Bellator did not want to pick that fight just yet.

MMA Payout will keep you posted on this.

9 Responses to “Court opinion in Bellator-Rampage lawsuit made available”

  1. saldathief on April 9th, 2015 7:33 AM

    More great news for the UFC hahahaha

  2. d on April 9th, 2015 8:02 AM

    Sal’s going nuts because of PBC bombing. HAHAHAHA!!

  3. Saldathief on April 9th, 2015 12:00 PM

    D is too stupid to realize that pbc is acually doing good with major sponsors and views. Also D is beyond stupid because you also have to give it more then a couple of shows, more like a year to make any serious evaluation. D is showing his lack of any real sensible knowledge once again. Refunds in Canada haha

  4. d on April 9th, 2015 12:30 PM

    HAHAHA!!!! Sal is too stupid to realize you have to generate ratings in order to maintain this business model. Sal thinks that the ratings will increase drastically from their debut, which anyone with a clue would realize would never happen. These shows have bombed and Sal is doing everything he can to pathetically spin the horrible results. He is a shameless boxing paid troll. He is too gay to comprehend anything.

  5. JF on April 9th, 2015 3:21 PM

    You two keep using the third person when answering each other. That’s usually the greatest sign of respect.

  6. saldathief on April 10th, 2015 10:19 AM

    D is too stupid to realize that boxing is an established dynasty sport. PBC has real sponsors and so far decent ratings. Boxing out draws mma 3 to 1 in venues and in views. There are more than double the boxing fans, and in most part of the world 10 times the boxing fans. Half a billion and the ufc just bombed in poland hahah
    oh another failed drugs test hahaha

  7. d on April 10th, 2015 12:02 PM

    Sal is too retarded to comprehend what a dynasty is, let alone the reality that PBC has bombed so badly it is unreal. For anyone to defend these numbers considering the money going into it, is clearly a boxing paid homo. Your statistics are more delusions that are manufactured in your brain. You just literally make things up, by pulling them out of your ass.

    Boxing on PBC<Bellator. HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

  8. d on April 10th, 2015 12:05 PM

    By the way Sal, you still also don’t understand that if PBC continues to burn through money like this without putting up major viewership numbers, it will lose every penny these idiotic investors threw their way. 3m viewers for buy time deals that have purses in the 6m range, is a massive financial loss. HAHAHA!! Idiot!

  9. Miles Deep on April 11th, 2015 1:44 AM

    You two provide the entertainment that this serious website lacks. Thank you, and keep up the constructive rivalry!

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