January 16, 2017
The next season of The Ultimate Fighter will feature bantamweight coaches T.J. Dillashaw and newly crowned champ Cody Garbrandt according to a UFC press release. The long-running series will continue with former competitors from past seasons on the show.
The new season begins on FS1 on April 19th with a two hour premiere.
No date yet for a fight between Garbrandt and Dillashaw although the press release indicated that they would fight after the season of TUF so this might put us at the July show of International Fight Week which would be a great co-main event. As for the series, I’m not sure if these two as coaches will garner more viewers than previous seasons although the curiosity of seeing past TUF fighters serves as a “Where are they now” sort of feel for people that have watched past seasons.
January 15, 2017
Yair Rodriguez led the bonus winners after demolishing B.J. Penn.
Aleksie Oleinik, Augusto Mendes and Frankie Saenz were the other bonus winners. Mendes and Saenz drew Fight of the Night while Rodriguez and Olenik won for Performance Bonuses.
UFC 103 in Phoenix drew 11,589 for $913.372. The event took place at the Talking Stick Resort Arena (formerly US Airways Arena).
January 14, 2017
Due to weather conditions in Kansas City, Missouri the NFL has decided to push the divisional playoff game between Kansas City and Pittsburgh to a 5:20 p.m. PT kickoff rather than a 1:05 pm PT start. The delay will come at the cost of UFC as its event in Phoenix airs at the same time.
UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez vs. Penn takes place from Phoenix, Arizona at 7pm PT. Of course, most sports viewers will be watching the Steelers-Chiefs game.
The UFC Prelims will air on FS1 prior to the main card.
The UFC had hoped that they would capitalize on NFL Football this weekend but not with a game occurring during its main card. Now, you might see a decrease in viewership due to the competing game unless there is an extreme blowout.
January 13, 2017
Dana White has made a counteroffer to Floyd Mayweather’s offer of $15 million to Conor McGregor. On FS1’s “The Herd” with Colin Cowherd, he offered to pay the fighters $25 million each and a split of the PPV revenue.
During his ESPN “car wash” earlier this week, Mayweather stated he’s interested in McGregor but as the “A” side would want $100 million plus his PPV cut. He would grant McGregor $15 million.
White chimed in today with his offer.
Of course, but its far less than Mayweather had been suggesting. Thus, TMZ caught up with Floyd who gave his response.
Let’s be honest, this fight will not happen if the UFC wants to co-promote. Mayweather garnered a 60-40 split in his Fight of the Century with Manny Pacquiao. He’ll be sure to want a 70-30 split against an unproven commodity. Sure, the UFC PPVs and attendance/gate are good for McGregor, but Mayweather knows his worth and there’s no reason for him to fight unless he gets what he wants.
January 12, 2017
The Al Haymon-Golden Boy antitrust lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles is set for trial on March 14, 2017 if the court does not grant the defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment.
For a good refresher on what this case is about and the gist of the motion, you can read Paul Gift’s synopsis last month. We take a deeper dive in the legal issues of the motion below.
An oral argument for the motion was taken off calendar (i.e., cancelled) by the court this past November 28th. As of this date, there has been no ruling issued by the trial court. Realistically, there is no timeline for the court to render a ruling on the motion except for the fact that there would likely be an opinion prior to trial documents needing to be filed with the court.
Haymon’s Motion for Summary Judgment
Haymon’s attorneys, and the attorneys for his entities that were also sued in this litigation argue that Golden Boy failed to establish a triable issue of fact of its attempted monopolization. It essentially argues that there is no evidence of specific intent for a monopoly, Golden Boy failed to identify any anticompetitive or predatory conduct and Golden Boy misconstrues the concept of antitrust injury.
One of the claims set forth by GBP is that Al Haymon should be held individually liable for violation of the antitrust laws. Haymon attorneys assert that Haymon could not be liable of antitrust injury because individual liability requires “inherently wrongful” conduct, a per se violation. Haymon argues that attempted monopolization is not properly evaluated as a per se antitrust violation.
In an antitrust case, there are two ways a court looks at whether there is a violation of the antitrust laws. The first is a “per se” violation and the second is the “rule of reason.” Per se relates to conduct that is manifestly anticompetitive with limited potential for procompetitive benefit. The rule of reason is the presumptive or default standard and the general standard it examines whether the procompetitive benefits outweigh the anticompetitive effect.
“Inherent conduct” is equated to a “per se” violation by Haymon. In its moving papers, they state that courts have regularly dismissed claims against corporate officers in cases dealing with conduct that is permitted or even encouraged by the antitrust laws. Here, the argument is that Haymon and his entities did not do anything wrong.
It also argues an “even if” scenario providing the hypothetical that if a court were to analyze the tying claim as a “per se” claim it would fail on the merits. It first argues that there is no tie in the first place. Haymon points out the similar Top Rank lawsuit in citing that Top Rank failed to prove as a matter of law that the two distinct services of promotion and managing were tied together. The clause in the contract that is questioned is the provision that requires consent to enter into contracts. However, Haymon’s attorneys point to the Canelo Alvarez-Amir Khan fight in May 2016 as an example of interpromotional fight making. Also, the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao case is another example which reflected the opportunity for a contracted Haymon fighter to work with another promoter. Thus, the examples show that the contracts do not foreclose other promoters.
Haymon argues that the market described by GBP are artificial and are “illogical, divorced from the reality of the boxing industry, and fail to satisfy GBP’s burden to establish coherent markets in which the Defendants could possibly have market power.” It states that “Championship-Caliber Boxers,” the market described by GBP in its lawsuit is not a recognized industry term. Haymon attorneys identify the fact that the term was interpreted differently by multiple people within the boxing industry. They also argue that GBP has not shown that there are barriers to entry in the markets for which they define.
Golden Boy Theory of Antitrust Injury
As you might recall Golden Boy brought a lawsuit against Al Haymon and his entities illegal tying of its managerial and promotional services.
As we wrote:
The lawsuit claims that Haymon, et. al have created a “tying” relationship in violation of antitrust laws. This is done through agreements affecting to separate relevant markets. The first market is for management of Championship-Caliber Boxers and the market for promoters. As described in the Complaint, the management market is the “tying” market whereas the promotion market is the “tied” market. Essentially, the fact that Haymon manages so many fighters it affects the promotions market since he has exercised control over the direction of each fighters’ career.
Tying under Section 1 of the Sherman Act must show:
- There is evidence of a tie;
- There is evidence “of coercion” of purchasers to buy products or services;
- There is evidence of market power in a properly defined market.
Golden Boy opposes the motion on the grounds that Al Haymon is personally liable for antitrust injury. It suggests that the standard for individual antitrust liability is met when an officer knowingly approves to each element of a claim whether or not the claim involves “inherently wrong” conduct. It also states that it has ample evidence to support their tying claim as Haymon tied their management services to the rejection of competitors’ promotion services in favor of their own. Also, it rebuts the assertion by Haymon that it has fabricated the relevant market definition. It also contends that there are “significant barriers to entry” in the relevant markets. Finally, it states that the Haymon acted as promotes as well as managers.
GBP claims that issues of fact exist as it relates to the evidence of exclusionary contracts which “tie out” others. It also claims that its expert’s testimony provides ample evidence of the markets in the industry and that they are controlled by Haymon.
In its opposition to the motion for summary judgment, GBP argues that Haymon’s model of paying supracompetitive sums is not a “rational business model, unless there is to be a payoff.” The “payoff” as concluded by GBP is the monopoly of the boxing promotion business, controlling the television market for boxing and “invoking supracompetitive pricing once dominance is obtained.”
The opposition points to “draconian exclusionary terms” in contracts which give Haymon Sports control over all aspects of the boxer’s career and a veto right over all boxing related contracts. In its pleadings, Haymon does admit that a “standard management agreement gives it the right to approve the boxer’s selection of promoter, it has never exercised this right to require or coerce its boxers to use or not use a particular promoter.” This seems to negate, but confirm terms within the Haymon boxing management contract that reflects control over the boxer’s selection of promoter.
GBP also argues that Haymon has a tying arrangement in which one must refrain from accepting another product. Here, GBP contend that Haymon tied his management services to the rejection of competitors’ promotion services. They suggest that fighters under contract with Haymon know that they cannot work with other promoters outside of Haymon. GBP indicates that this is a triable issue of fact that would
The standard on a motion for summary judgment is to weigh all of the pleadings and facts within and weigh them in the “light most favorable to the non-moving party (in this case GBP).” If the court determines that there are no genuine issues of material fact, it will grant a dismissal as a matter of law. However, a court will deny a motion for summary judgment if there are pending issues of fact.
Whether or not Haymon could be individually liable will be an issue the court will need to determine based on the facts provided and the legal arguments made by the parties. While Haymon’s attorneys argue that personal liability cannot be assessed in these matters, Golden Boy argues that case law supports the contention that Haymon is personally liable. As for the business model, the fighter contracts will be an issue for the court to consider as well as GBP’s expert testimony which addresses the relevant markets.
Once a decision is rendered, MMA Payout will let you know
January 11, 2017
Floyd Mayweather, Jr. indicated that he has indicated that he would fight Conor McGregor if the UFC lightweight champion would take $15 million and a cut of the PPV. Mayweather stated that he was the “A” side and would want $100 million guaranteed plus a bigger share of the PPV.
Doing the ESPN “car wash,” he told Stephen A. Smith on “First Take” that he tried to make the Conor McGregor fight. McGregor stated he would box Mayweather for $100 million.
On a Facebook Live chat with ESPN’s Brian Campbell, Mayweather claimed that the last time he saw Conor McGregor fight in the UFC was a little of his UFC 205 fight on a cell phone while at Boston Celtic Isaiah Thomas’ wedding. He also stated that he Facetimed with Nate Diaz talking about McGregor.
Mayweather was doing the car wash as Mayweather Promotions is promoting fights taking place at the Barclay’s Center Saturday. His fighter Badou Jack, is in the main event fighting James DeGale.
In response to Mayweather’s ESPN interviews, McGregor posted a cartoon of himself standing over Mayweather, holding two belts.
Will a McGregor-Mayweather fight actually happen? While McGregor has obtained a California boxing license, it’s still unlikely that the fight actually happens. McGregor is still under contract with the UFC and unless they get a cut of this endeavor, I would suggest they remain the greatest obstacle (not the salary squabble) from this spectacle from happening.
January 10, 2017
UFC Heavyweight Mark Hunt has filed a lawsuit against the UFC, Dana White and Brock Lesnar in the District Court of Nevada on Tuesday. The lawsuit stems from Hunt’s fight against Lesnar at UFC 200.
Hunt is claiming violations of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act, Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering, Fraud, False Pretenses, Breach of Contract, Breach of Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Duty, Negligence and Unjust Enrichment.
The premise of the complaint is that the UFC allowed Lesnar to fight at UFC 200 while providing the WWE wrestler with an exemption from the UFC’s anti-doping policy.
Lesnar tested positive for a banned substance in both an out-of-competition and in-competition drug test.
Lesnar defeated Hunt via unanimous decision at UFC 200 this past July.
The Complaint makes reference to UFC 152 when Vitor Belfort was allowed to fight with a testosterone use exemption but without disclosing the information to the public or his opponent Jon Jones.
In the lawsuit is embedded a photo of Lesnar pummeling Hunt.
In Hunt v. Zuffa, LLC, et al., complaint embeds a pic with the caption, “Doping Lesnar Fights Hunt, a clean competitor, at UFC 200.” pic.twitter.com/Q4HCcUAIvc
— Jason Cruz (@dilletaunt) January 11, 2017
Of the notable items in the Complaint, Hunt claims RICO violations against the UFC which carry treble (3 times) damages.
He also claims personal injuries which include damage to reputation, loss of opportunity of career advancement and further earning potential.
Hunt has intimated that he may take legal action and he did. The timing comes after Lesnar was recently handed 1 year suspensions from USADA and the Nevada State Athletic Commission which meant that he could come back in July 2017.
RICO is a very specific statute that requires that a person must commit at least two acts of racketeering activity from a set of crimes within a specific time frame and are related to an enterprise. This will be interesting for Hunt to prove and would make discovery as interesting as the current antitrust lawsuit filed by former fighters.
Hunt is scheduled to fight in March 2017 which makes this lawsuit all the more interesting.
MMA Payout will keep you posted.
January 9, 2017
Dana White has responded to Meryl Streep’s remark about mixed martial arts in her Golden Globe speech. In an interview with TMZ, White called Streep an “uppity 80-year-old lady” in his response.
Streep is an accomplished 67-year-old actress that graduated from Yale. Her comments were directed to President-elect Donald Trump and she made an offhand remark about mixed martial arts and football in the process.
Scott Coker invited Streep to Bellator 170 in Los Angeles as an offer for her to partake in an MMA event. But mostly, for the free publicity it might garner (it may have worked, as MMA sites like this one took the bait).
While he tried to be even-handed in his rebuttal of the purported diss, he could not help himself with the “uppity” remark.
Michelle Waterson also provided a commentary on Streep’s speech in defense of MMA.
Is MMA an art? According to courts, no. White’s rebuttal is more for PR consideration than anything else. Ironically, he calls Streep’s reference to MMA as uneducated but does not know her age. If he does, he makes a juvenile shot at her age. Apparently, White needed to respond to the comments. Waterson also took part as Streep’s remark which has been interpreted as pejorative as to MMA struck a chord within the ultrasensitive MMA community.
January 9, 2017
Zachery Light is dismissing his lawsuit against Bellator. Light’s attorney filed a Request for Dismissal on December 20, 2016.
The Request was signed by Light’s attorney, William Crosby, and Bellator’s counsel Richard Kendall.
The dismissal is “with prejudice” which would end both Light’s lawsuit against Bellator and Bellator’s cross-claim against Light. The details can be found here and in the original lawsuit in which Light stated that the promotion disobeyed laws for forging medial information for fighters. Light claimed that Scott Coker and Rich Chou advised the former Bellator employee not to press the issue.
Bellator claimed that Light requested a loan from the company and was given $9,403 and entered into a written agreement with Light that made him pay back the money on an agreed schedule. Bellator claims that he never paid back the loan.
In all likelihood, the parties have decided to settle their dispute without incurring further litigation costs. Also, I would suppose a non-disclosure agreement was signed by Light which would preclude him from talking about the case. It would be interesting to know of the allegations regarding Bellator hiring Kogan while he still managed fighters. Of course, Light probably could not sustain paying his legal bills up against Bellator. From all indications, he is now working for MMAAA.
January 8, 2017
Jumping on the possibility of receiving mainstream possibility from an off-hand remark made by Meryl Streep during her acceptance speech at The Golden Globes Sunday night, Scott Coker sent out an invitation for her to attend Bellator’s event on January 21st.
Streep, making a statement with her speech on immigration, made a flippant remark that if the new administration were to curb foreigners from American we would be left with the “NFL and mixed martial arts.” She added that football and MMA were not the arts.
Coker sent out a statement via twitter soon after her comments made it to social media:
— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) January 9, 2017
Kudos for Streep for naming the sport and not the “UFC” when referring to the sport. For those that took her comments as a biting criticism of MMA, you are too sensitive. As for Coker’s comments, it’s a chance at mainstream PR and an added talking point for Chael Sonnen and Tito Ortiz to promote. It’s unlikely Streep will attend the event in Inglewood on January 21 but it was a chance to get the name and event in the news.