Plaintiffs in UFC Antitrust Lawsuit request Court to file response to MMA Manager Declaration

August 30, 2018

The plaintiffs in the UFC antitrust lawsuit have requested that the Court review its Surreply Brief in opposition to Zuffa’s Motion to Seal Zuffa’s Summary Judgment Motion and Portions of Plaintiffs’ Class Certification Reply.

Specifically, the Surreply Brief addresses the Declaration of MMA Manager Ali Abdelaziz which was included in Zuffa’s Reply Brief.

A Surreply Brief is not automatically considered by the Court, in fact, it is usually disliked since its additionally work for an already overworked court.  These types of briefs must bring up new evidence, facts important to the case not brought up or another exigent reason.  Reiterating arguments that would have been contained in an opposition will likely get poor treatment.

Here, plaintiffs believe the need to address Abdelaziz’s Declaration which Zuffa used to aid its Reply Brief.  The argument in which Zuffa uses Abdelaziz’s testimony is based on the need to seal payout information of fighters.

The manager of many top fighters submitted this declaration on behalf of Zuffa.  He claims that public disclosure raises “legitimate safety concerns” for fighters and their families.  He also believes that public disclosure of terms and compensation of fighters’ agreements.

Declaration of Ali Abdelaziz by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

It is worthy to note that no current UFC fighter signed a Declaration in support.  But, Abdelaziz, who represents a huge swath of UFC fighters supports the sealing of documents.  Although Abdelaziz’s declaration supports the last argument in Zuffa’s brief (and usually the weakest), plaintiffs felt compelled to address it.  The declaration was torn apart by the plaintiffs in its Surreply Brief.

Motion to FIle Surreply by on Scribd

Plaintiffs’ list four reasons why Ali’s Declaration fails: 1) The rationale that disclosure of fighter compensation hinders rather than helps in obtaining negotiating athlete purses rings false lin light of evidence of salaries of players in other major leagues.  2) The Declaration contradicts Zuffa’s own arguments in favor of sealing since it argued that disclosure would put Zuffa in a strategic disadvantage whereas Abdelaziz says non-disclosure is advantageous. 3) The allegation that fighters would be put at risk of kidnapping or extortion is not supported by credible evidence.; and 4) Plaintiffs calls Abdelaziz credibility a question since he’s an MMA manager and alleged principal in the WSOF as a promoter.

Payout Perspective:

While the brief is damaging, its still up to the Court to decide whether or not to take it into consideration.  Of course, we know that Zuffa will file an opposition to this Surreply which means more filings.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

TUF 28 debut draws 186,000 viewers

August 30, 2018

The Ultimate Fighter 28’s debut on FS1 drew 186,000 viewers on FS1 Wednesday night via Nielsen according to ShowBuzz Daily.  This season features coaches Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum and features Featherweight Women and Heavyweight male contestants.

The featured fight of the first episode saw Maurice Greene take on Przemyslaw Mysiala.  Greene took out Mysiala via KO in the first round.

The 186,000 is less than last season’s 200K debut.  TUF 26 last fall drew 308K for its debut.

Payout Perspective:

 This is the last season of TUF on FS1 and it will be interesting to see the types of changes the TUF Franchise will go through when it moves to ESPN.  Even with a robust DVR boost, this season is off to a poor-ratings start.

GGG-Canelo 2 will be available in movie theaters

August 29, 2018

Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez are set for their rematch on September 15th and not only will you have the choice of purchasing the event in PPV, you can also attend the card at your local movie theatre.

Dan Rafael of ESPN reports that the fight will be available in more than 450 movie theaters across the country.  Golden Boy Promotions and Fathom Events made the announcement this week.

The price point is usually around $20 for the event.  Fathom Events has collaborated with promotions in the past to show Boxing PPVs.

Looking back at the first fight between the two, Fathom really put together an interesting trailer.

For the rematch, Fathom does it again.

Payout Perspective:

Expect this event to do as well as their first fight.  Fueled by the animosity due to Canelo’s suspension, we can see these two go toe-to-toe for another 12 rounds.

Zuffa requests court to review Hunt ruling in antitrust case

August 29, 2018

Zuffa has filed a Motion for Leave to File Supplemental Authority regarding its Motion to Seal related materials in its Summary Judgment motion of Plaintiffs’ lawsuit in their antitrust case.

The supplemental authority is the recent ruling in the Mark Hunt case on Zuffa’s “Renewed” Motion to Seal Documents in that case.  The court previously denied the Motion to Seal but changed course in granting the “Renewed” Motion.  It should be noted that Hunt’s attorneys did not oppose the “Renewed” motion for some reason.

This Motion hopes to include this ruling in deciding the pending motion before the court in the Antitrust matter. They persuasively argue that Plaintiffs had referred to the previous Hunt ruling where the Court denied the sealing of records.  As Zuffa points out in this motion, the original order was “without prejudice” whereas the renewed motion was “with prejudice.”  The difference with or without prejudice is that “without” prejudice means that the ruling could be amended on a party’s motion.  With prejudice is the final ruling of the Court.

Supplemental Authority After Hunt by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

The Hunt ruling, although I disagree with the outcome, will likely be considered in the antitrust case as it relates to similar documents.  Thus, the motion will be granted, and the Court will consider it as persuasive authority when determining whether or not to unseal the redacted materials by Zuffa.

UFC Fight Night 135 draws 596,000 on FS1

August 28, 2018

UFC Fight Night 135 drew 596,000 viewers on FS1 Saturday night according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The prelims on FS2 drew 273,000 viewers.

The main event featured Justin Gaethje against James Vick with The Highlight delivering one with a KO in the very first round.  The event started 11 minutes late with the first minutes on FS2 delivering 247,000 viewers.  The post-fight show drew 208,000 viewers and a 0.10 in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are higher than Sunday morning’s UFC 134 in Germany but lower than July’s UFC 133 which did 754,000 viewers.  Notably, UFC Fight Night 135’s main card edged out Top Rank Boxing on ESPN which drew 532,000 viewers.  The ratings are marginal for a late summer event.

PBC on FS1 draws 247,000 viewers

August 27, 2018

PBC on FS1 Friday night drew 247,000 viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The event featured Jamal James as he stopped Mahonry Montes in the second round of their welterweight matchup.

According to a report from the Minnesota Star Tribune, the event drew a paid attendance of 3,754.

PBC on FS1 included the main card on FS1 which was preceded by the prelim card on FS1.

Payout Perpective:

The ratings reflect that the popularity of boxing when against NFL Football. Despite the games being preseason, the football games rank much higher than that of boxing events.  PBC last aired on FS1 his past December and drew 276,000 viewers and earlier that month drew 236,000.  This event did not improve that much more as compared to December.

UFC Fight Night 135 attendance, gate and bonuses

August 26, 2018

UFC Fight Night 135 took place in Lincoln, Nebraska Saturday night.  The event drew 6,409 in attendance for $478,000.  The main event saw Justin Gaethje KO James Vick in the first round.

Gaethje was one of the bonus winners on Saturday.  Eryk Anders, Cory Sandhagen and Iuri Alcantara were the other bonus winners.  Anders scored a KO victory over Tim Williams with a kick to the face.  Sandhagen and Alcantara earned Fight of the Night with a back and forth fight which saw Sandhagen battle back from a perilous submission of an arm bar to regain top control and pummel Alcantara.

The event drew 6,409 fans for $478,337 according to UFC officials post-event.  The last time the UFC visited Nebraska it was in 2012 for an event in Omaha for a fight night which drew 9,103 fans.  In 2012, a UFC on Fuel TV event drew 6,283 fans.

Payout Perspective:

It was a good night for Gaethje which sets him up for one of the four fighters in the main and co-main event of UFC 229.  The event attendance and gate are on par with these types of Fight Night cards.  It was a definite mix of local favorites (e.g. Jake Ellenberger and his in-Octagon retirement) and entertaining fighters like Gaethje.

UFC announces 25 short films in honor of 25th Anniversary

August 24, 2018

UFC announced that it is introducing a 25-part short film series in honor of its 25th Anniversary.

The shorts will begin on Monday, September 17th on UFC Fight Pass and will be rolled out in an eight-week span leading up to the final film on Monday, November 12, UFC’s official 25th anniversary.

Via UFC press release:

Many of the shorts will be helmed by award-winning directors and producers, including several alums of ESPN’s landmark 30 for 30 film series, including Nick and Colin Barnicle, Adam Condal, Jason Hehir, Rory Karpf, Dan Marks, and Matt Ogens.

Payout Perspective:

The shorts are an innovative way to get everyone’s story into the 25th Anniversary.  It also gives some perspective on the promotion’s beginnings and a historical perspective for those that have just become fans post-2010.

Huge demand for UFC 229 makes average resale price $1,100

August 24, 2018

UFC 229 looks to be one of the biggest events in the UFC’s business history.  Tickets sold out last week when available to the public and its tracking to be the second-highest ticket demand in promotion history.

At this point, the UFC’s New York debut featuring Conor McGregor winning his second UFC title against Eddie Alvarez had more ticket demand.

The October 6th show is a sell-out with the get-in price as of earlier this week is $719.00 according to SeatGeek which looks at the average resale price of the tickets sold on its web site.  The average resale price is $1,102.00.  The MSG event featuring McGregor and Alvarez had a resale value of $1,441.00.

Tickets went on sale last Wednesday with prices ranging from $205 up to $2,505.  The availability was rolled out with UFC Fight Club and Newsletter members having priority.  There were other “VIP Experience” options available as well which range from $5,000 to $7,500 per seat which includes other amenities with the purchase.

Payout Perspective:

With the addition of Tony Ferguson to face Anthony Pettis on the undercard, there is no doubt that this card is the most highly-anticipated events this year.  The increased ticket prices and quick sell-out reflect the fan interest.  Conor-Khabib fans likely scooped up most of the tickets early and will now have to pay more if they want to attend in person.  This event will be a big PPV success and should help with the company’s overall average this year.

Court denies Plaintiff’s request for Conor McGregor financial info, deposition in thrown can lawsuit

August 23, 2018

The plaintiff in the Conor McGregor lawsuit claiming injury to a thrown can during the August 2016 pre-fight press conference at UFC 202 was dealt a huge blow in discovery as the Court denied motions to compel financial information from McGregor and his deposition.

William Pegg claims he was injured as a result of McGregor throwing a can during the press conference altercation.  A lawsuit was filed in Clark County Nevada but was moved to federal court in Las Vegas by McGregor’s attorneys. McGregor denies wrongdoing in the lawsuit.

Prior to removal to federal court, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel documents with the motion to be heard in state court on May 30, 2018.  But, McGregor’s attorneys filed for removal on April 26, 2018.

Plaintiff’s attorney attempted to compel documents to determine McGregor’s ability to pay a potential claim as well as his deposition.  This included his W-2s, tax returns and payouts from the UFC.  McGregor’s attorney asserted that the financial information was confidential and not discoverable.  He also offered McGregor to be deposed in Dublin, Ireland after his October 6th fight with Khabib Nurmogomedov in Las Vegas.  Plaintiff’s attorney requested they depose McGregor in Las Vegas as it is known that he will be training there prior to his October 6th showdown with Khabib.  However, Defendant did not offer this as an option.  Discovery closes on October 23rd, so if they are unable to depose McGregor prior to then, he will not be deposed.

Motion to Compel Deposition of Conor McGregor by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Defendant’s Response to Motion to Compel by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Defendant’s Response to Motion to Compel Depo by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Plaintiff included an example of how McGregor profited from this incident by embedding a screenshot of a “MacEmoji app” being sold which depicts him throwing cans.

The Court Order denying McGregor’s deposition notes that the Plaintiff failed to file a “Points and Authorities” section in its Motion which is a requisite in Court proceedings.  Thus, as outlined by McGregor’s attorneys, the motion should be denied for this failure alone.  The Court notes that Plaintiff’s motion failed to include any citations to legal authority.  As a result, they have “consented to the denial of his motion…”  For similar reasons, Plaintiff’s request for documents was denied for the same grounds.

Order on Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Depo of Conor McGregor by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Order on Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

Being a lawyer is hard.  And aside from knowing the law, you must know the procedure.  In this instance, the fatal defect for Plaintiff was an elementary knowledge of the rules.  In its response to Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel the Deposition of Conor McGregor, his attorneys go after Plaintiff’s attorneys including requesting that they be sanctioned (fined) for not knowing the rules.  They note that the form of a motion is “a basic premise to all first year law students…”  Yet, Plaintiff did not do it.  This almost certainly harms Plaintiff’s case and it’s clear that this is being characterized as a “nuisance” claim.  In looking at this incident, it may have been helpful if the plaintiff would have gone after the UFC and/or the MGM as insurance may have kicked in.  Instead, Plaintiff is facing an uphill legal battle.

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