Plaintiffs in UFC Antitrust Lawsuit file brief opposing Top Rank, Bellator and Golden Boy’s objections to use of documents

July 3, 2019

Plaintiffs in the UFC Antitrust Lawsuit filed an Opposition this past Friday to the objections of Bellator, Golden Boy and Top Rank from producing the use of “potential” confidential information at August’s evidentiary hearing.

The Plaintiffs hope to utilize deposition testimony from Scott Coker related to Coker’s prior employment at Strikeforce, a copy of a standard Golden Boy promotional agreement template with boxers and a single paragraph from the Expert Rebuttal Report of Plaintiffs’’ expert Dr. Andrew Zimbalist which displays Top Rank’s wage share for the years 2013 to 2016.  There is also additional financial information from each of the three parties which Plaintiffs contend is “granular information.”

Plaintiffs’ Oppo to Non… by on Scribd

A set of evidentiary hearings will take place the last week of August and mid-September to determine the evidence provided by experts in the Antitrust lawsuit.  Pursuant to a scheduling order, the parties have produced exhibit lists they intend to use for the hearing.  Objections and responses have now been filed with reply briefs coming soon.

In addition, Bellator and Top Rank have filed objections to the use of information that includes information.  As third-parties to this lawsuit (they are not a plaintiff or defendant in the Antitrust lawsuit), they have filed objections to preserve the confidentiality of the documents.

Plaintiffs point out the standard that Bellator and Top Rank must convince the Court is that there must be “compelling reason” to exclude the documents from use.  Described as a high burden by Plaintiffs they cite to the overarching public policy that there is an “assumption that the press and public have a presumed right of access to court proceeding and documents.”  The only instance in which a party could overcome the policy is if “closure is essential to preserve higher values and is narrowly tailored to serve that interest.”

In arguing that Top Rank’s financial information which include the total annual revenues from 2010-2016 and average wage share are not commercially sensitive, they state that neither of the figures sought to use convey “granular, athlete-or event-specific information that could convey competitive advantage.”  Similarly, they suggest that the gross revenues from Bellator and Golden Boy would not provide a competitor advantage.

“Bellator and Golden Boy’s annualized gross revenues do not contain granular information that a competitor could potentially use to harm the Objectors because the figures convey no information that would enable a competitor to, for example, sign one of Objectors’ athletes, counterprogram Objectors’ events, or lure away Objectors’ sponsors.  If Objectors assert another type of harm, they have not articulated it and it is therefore waived.  Similarly, Objectors’ wage shares do not include information that could provide their competitors with an unfair advantage or put Objectors in a disadvantaged position in athlete negotiations or otherwise.”

Plaintiffs argue that Bellator’s annualized top-line revenues provide important context for assessing Zuffa’s dominant position in the market and wage share provides comparison regarding the class wide effects of Zuffa’s anticompetive Scheme.

With respect to the request to seal references to annual revenues and average wage share from 2010 to 2016, Plaintiffs argue that the information is “too old” to contain any competitive value.  Plaintiffs highlight the years in which each wants to seal their financial information from disclosure in arguing that the information is far removed from the litigation of today.

Bellator financial information:  2010-2016

Golden Boy financial information:  2015-2016

Top Rank financial information:  2013-2016

With Bellator and Golden Boy signing deals with streaming platform DAZN, Plaintiffs argue that the financial information is now obsolete.

Also, Bellator is asking to seal two passages from the deposition of Scott Coker.  Plaintiffs contend that there is not a compelling reason to do so.  Specifically, Coker reads from an email Zuffa produced that he wrote while he was Strikeforce president which is supposedly exemplifies Zuffa’s market share and its approach to competition.  The second passage asks the Court to seal identities of three principals in Strikforce’s parent company.

Finally, Plaintiffs claim that the Golden Boy standard contractual template is not a trade secret as it contains nothing specific or identifies an individual fighter.

Payout Perspective:

Top Rank, Bellator and Golden Boy will have a chance to respond to the Opposition Brief and argue the compelling reasons why the documents should remain confidential.  Alternatively, they might argue that the standard for exclusion is less than that proposed by Plaintiffs.  More likely, Bellator and Golden Boy will argue that the release and/or use of the financial information may provide a future template for competitors.  Regardless of how old the financial information is and despite any new partnerships, the information would be trade secrets that should not be disclosed to the public or utilized by Plaintiffs.  There is a lot riding on this ruling as Plaintiffs hope to use the information in late August for the expert hearings.  If not, it would present a big obstacle as they would have to find another way to present their evidence.  For Bellator and Golden Boy, the possible release of information might present more scrutiny on their company from its fighters and public as to the state of their finances as compared to prior statements of the company’s health.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

Top Rank Boxing on Friday night draws 490,000 on ESPN

July 1, 2019

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN drew 490,000 viewers Friday night according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event, which took place in Temecula, California, was a unique Friday event as opposed to its usual Saturday fight cards.

The main event Richard Comney as he stopped Ray Beltran.  The event drew a 0.15 share in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

The event was held Friday likely due to the ESPN event on the network Saturday night.  A couple weeks prior Top Rank Boxing on Saturday night drew 799,000 viewers as it had the UFC as a lead-in to its telecast.  The decrease in ratings might have been simply to a change in nights.

Payouts for Top Rank Boxing’s Comney-Beltran event

June 28, 2019

ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports the purses for Top Rank Boxing’s event in Temcula, California on Friday night.  The information was disclosed by the California State Athletic Commission.

Per Rafael’s post:

Richard Comney:  $350K plus $20K from Ray Beltran’s purse for failing to make weight.

Rey Beltran:  $160K minus $40K per the CSAC

 

Carlos Adames: $30K

Patrick Day:  $50K

 

SauL Rodriguez:  $30K

Miguel Angel Gonzalez:  $5K

 

Junior Fa:  $15K

Dominic Guinn:  $15K

 

Vincente Morales:  $3K

Ruben Rodriguez:  $4K

 

Augustine Mauras:  $3K

Raymond Muratalla:  $4K

 

Joaquin Chavez:  $5K

Elvis Rodriguez:  $6K

 

Jose Antonio Meza:  $4K

Dmitry Yun:  $5K

 

Prisco Marquez:  $3K

Christopher Zavala:  $5K

 

Osbaldo Gonzalez:  $3K

David Kaminsky:  $3K

Fury tops payout for Saturday’s Top Rank event

June 18, 2019

MMA Payout has obtained the full roster of salaries from the Nevada Athletic Commission from Saturday’s Top Rank promoted event featuring Tyson Fury at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Tyson Fury’s reported salary was $1 million although its been known that he’s receiving around $12.5 million for the fight.  According to the NAC paysheet, he’s paying $300,000 to the IRS as well as a $25,000 sanctioning fee. Fury also paid incidentals which equated to him taking home $673,428.  His opponent Tom Schwarz received $250,000 for the fight.  He paid $75,000 to the IRS and $7,500 in sanction fees for a take home of $167,450.

The rest of the roster payout from Saturday’s event are as follows:

Jesse Hart:  $150,000

Sullivan Barrerra:  $125,000

 

Mikaela Meyer: $20,000

Lizbeth Crespo: $10,000

 

Andy Vences: $20,000

Albert Bell:  $20,000

 

Isaac Lowe: $20,000

Duam Vue:  $20,000

 

Cem Kilic:  $4,000

Martez McGregor:  $5,000

 

Guido Vianello: $10,000

Keenan Hickman: $4,000

 

Peter Kadiru: $1,000

Juan A. Torres: $4,000

 

Sonny Conto:  $4,000

Daniel Infante:  $3,000

Payout Perspective:

The disparity in salaries from the top of the card to the mid-tier fighters to the starters is glaring.  One boxer just made $1,000 on the card in which Fury will reportedly making $12 million.   Fury did pay the most in sanctioning fees and to the IRS.

Fury-Schwarz Prelims on ESPN2 draw 493,000 viewers

June 18, 2019

The undercard for the Top Rank Boxing event this past Saturday night on ESPN2 drew 493,000 viewers per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The telecast preceded the main card for the Fury-Schwarz fight.

The event drew 143,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo and a 0.32 share overall.

The undercard featured several fights including Junior lightweight Mikaela Mayer’s win over Lizbeth Crespo and Albert Belll’s win over Andy Vences.

On the main card, Jesse Hart scored a victory over Sullivan Barrera in a mild upset in a light heavyweight contender matchup.  The main card was featured on ESPN+.

Payout Perspective:

The prelims began at 4pm west coast time so the 493,000 viewers is a pretty decent turnout for boxing on ESPN2.  According to Jake Donovan, it outperformed every 2019 PBC Show on FS1 except for one and every Showtime card except for last month’s Wilder-Breazeale fight.  The ratings could go to the draw of the heavyweight matchups and/or the character that is Tyson Fury because the fight itself was anticlimactic and not competitive.

Top Rank Boxing draws 799,000 viewers on ESPN Saturday

June 11, 2019

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN drew 799,000 viewers Saturday night per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event drew 314,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo.

The telecast, which featured Oscar Valdez defeating Jason Sanchez to retain his featherweight title drew a 0.56 share.

The event came after the UFC 238 Prelims which drew 964,000 viewers.  It drew 489,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo and a 0.63 share.

Payout Perspective:

Based on the bare numbers, the numbers reflect little drop off from the UFC as a lead-in.  Certainly, you have little crossover audience although the hope for the UFC and the network is that those that watched the prelims buy the PPV on ESPN+ but if they didn’t, tune into boxing.  The viewership numbers for Top Rank are promising considering there was a self-imposed competition with MMA on Saturday night.

UFC 237 Prelims draw 813,000 viewers as lead-in for Top Rank Boxing which drew 740,000

May 14, 2019

The UFC 237 PPV Prelims on ESPN drew 813,000 viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The event featured BJ Penn-Clay Guida at the top of the telecast and ended with Ryan Spann’s KO of Antonio Rogerio Nogueria.  UFC 237 took place at Rio de Janeiro Brazil.

The event drew 425,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo and a 0.53 share.

It’s interesting to note that the UFC served as the lead-in to Top Rank Boxing on ESPN which drew 740,000 viewers and 354,000 in the A18-49 demo.  The event from Tucson, Arizona featured Miguel Berchelt as he took on Francisco Vargas.

Payout Perspective:

It was a busy night of combat sports and its interesting to see that the viewing audience really stayed on the channel as there was little dropoff from the UFC as the ‘lead-in’ into Top Rank Boxing which lost out on less than 100,000 viewers.

Main event fighters draw hefty purses for Saturday’s Top Rank event on ESPN

May 7, 2019

MMA Payout has obtained the Payoff Sheet from the California State Athletic Commission from Saturday night’s event at the Stockton Arena promoted by Top Rank Boxing.

The event featured Artur Beterbiev as he defeated Radivoje Kalajdzic. Beterbiev earned $850,000 while Kalajdzic made $200,000.  After $314,500 miscellaneous fee and a $25,500 sanction that was not explained, Beterbiev netted $509,400.  Similarly, Kalajdzic received a sanction of $6,000 and an advance of $5,000 and another $500 for gloves.  After these and other miscellaneous deductions, he netted $181,000.

The rest of the payouts are as follows:

Jersin Ancajas:  $90,000

Ryuchi Funai:  $20,000

Gabriel Flores, Jr.:  $7,500

Eduardo Pereira dos Reis:   $6,000

Jesus Algandar Godlinez:  $2,000

Marco Antonio Arroyo:  $1,500

Vincent Jennings:  $6,000

Vislan Dalkhaev:  $6,000

Carlos Rodriguez:  $8,000

Brian Mendoza:  $10,000

Mario Aguilar:  $2,000

Felix Valera:  $30,000

Osbaldo Camacho Gonzales:  $4,000

Quillisto Madera:  $3,000

Joey Montoya: $5,500

Blake McKernan:  $800

The $850,000 purse for the IBF light heavyweight titleholder gives pause to many casual fans considering his fight was the second lowest-rated Top Rank on ESPN event this year. Obviously, opposite Canelo-Jacobs, this televised event was going to be a tough sell. Still, the main eventers received top payouts which rival most top-tier UFC fighters but past the semi-main event, the salaries resemble more of a UFC card.  It is interesting to look at the differing ways MMA and Boxing pay their respective independent contractors.

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN draws 480K viewers opposite Canelo-Jacobs

May 7, 2019

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN drew 480,000 viewers Saturday night for the event in Stockton, California.  It also drew 166,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo.

The event featured Artur Beterbiev as he defeated Radivoje Kalajdzic.  The opener for the telecast saw a slugfest between Jerwin Ancajas as he stopped Ryuichi Funai.  In addition, Gabriel Flores, Jr. defeated Eduardo Pereira dos Reis.

The ratings are the second lowest for Top Rank Boxing and ESPN since the two began its working relationship in 2017.

Payout Perspective:

It’s hard not to think that most boxing fans were watching the Canelo-Jacobs fight on DAZN.  While the event from Stockton showed the best from its featured fighters, it had the unfortunate scheduling conflict of one of the biggest fights this year.

Ratings for Top Rank, PBC and NCAA Wrestling this weekend

March 26, 2019

This weekend’s boxing event took a step back from the last couple of weeks as events for Top Rank on ESPN and PBC on FS1 were flat likely overshadowed by the NCAA Tournament.

On Saturday night, Top Rank Boxing on ESPN drew 469,000 viewers and 150,000 in the A18-49 demo per Nielsen via ShowBuzz.  The event featured Kubrat Pulev as he defeated Bogdan Dinu via KO in the 7th round.  There were two fights on the telecast which aired Saturday night.

Sunday afternoon, PBC on FS1 took place with a fight between Lamont Petersen and Sergey Lipinets.  The Kazakhstani Russian stopped Petersen who then announced his retirement from boxing.  The event drew 374,000 viewers and only 74,000 in the A18-49 demo.

On another note, College Wrestling on ESPN drew 312,000/128,000 A18-49 Thursday (7:00pm), 407,000/147,000 A18-49 Friday night (8:00pm start), 625,000/245,000 A18-49 Saturday night (7:00pm EST start) for the NCAA Mat Madness showdown.

Payout Perspective:

This weekend sports programs were likely overshadowed by the NCAA Tournament which started for both the men’s and women’s brackets.  The opening rounds usually garner a lot of viewership which likely meant that most other sports took backseats to them.  The PBC on FS1 event is somewhat low for a name like Petersen, but with a late afternoon/early evening start it competed with NCAA games.

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