16 for 16: No. 13 GSP declares himself a free agent

December 21, 2016

How different would UFC 206 in Toronto would have been if Georges St-Pierre made his return to the Octagon?

However, that was not the case and with his declaration this fall that he was a free agent and his alignment with MMAAA its unlikely we’ll see him in the UFC anytime soon.

In October, GSP stated that he was a free agent after the UFC breached its contract with him.  The UFC responded by stating that the former welterweight champion was still under contract with the company.  GSP’s lawyer, Jim Quinn, maintains that GSP’s contract is terminated.  Quinn indicated that the UFC has options including offering GSP a new contract or taking legal action against the fighter.

One of the contentions made by Quinn on behalf of GSP was that the UFC had not offered St-Pierre fights.

Via our post in October:

One of the issues GSP’s lawyers contend that caused a breach was the lack of fights given the St-Pierre.  His lawyers state he has never received an actual bout agreement.  St-Pierre’s lawyers gave the UFC 10 days to offer St-Pierre a fight.  According to his lawyers, the UFC responded on the final day in which it offered St-Pierre former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler.  But that did not come to fruition.

GSP’s current contract was signed in 2011 per ESPN.  Of course, the UFC has evolved since then.  Notably, as pointed out in the ESPN story, is that the UFC has Reebok as its official clothier.  Also, fighters are no longer able to have outside sponsors (aside from official UFC sponsors) to promote during fight week.  St-Pierre had (or has) a deal with Under Armour in addition to other non-UFC sponsors.

Both sides are likely still in at an impasse with the contract.  Neither party has filed a lawsuit against the other for breach of contract.  It’s not known if there is a timeline at this point but there will likely be movement in this situation in 2017.  With St-Pierre entering his late 30s, one should expect something to happen sooner than later.

UFC states GSP still under contract

October 18, 2016

The UFC has responded to claims that Georges St-Pierre is a free agent.  Not surprisingly, the UFC denies claims that GSP is free from his contractual obligations from the UFC.

On The MMA Hour on Monday, GSP declared that he was a free agent per his attorney.  His claim was that the UFC did not provide GSP with a fight and as a result his contract was terminated.

In a prepared statement, the UFC responded later in the day:

“Georges St-Pierre remains under an existing agreement with Zuffa, LLC as his promoter.  Zuffa intends to honor its agreement with St.-Pierre and reserves its rights under the law to have St.-Pierre do the same.

Payout Perspective:

It looks like we may be heading to a legal dispute over GSP’s contract.  The declaration of a terminated contract by GSP was reminiscent to Rampage Jackson’s claim that he was free from Bellator’s contract due to not fulfilling certain things within the contract.  As you recall, a lawsuit occurred and was subsequently settled.  You can bet that the UFC would oppose GSP from fighting in another organization if it boils down to it.  GSP’s lawyers seem confident that there was breach of the contract, and/or an unmet requirement within the contract which allowed for the termination.  We will see if the parties can come to a resolution prior to litigation.

GSP declares himself a free agent

October 17, 2016

Georges St.-Pierre is a free agent according to the former UFC welterweight titleholder in an interview on The MMA Hour.

Rumors of GSP’s imminent return were strong but according to GSP his lawyer terminated his UFC contract after the UFC failed to offer him a fight.

GSP’s last fight was in November 2013 at UFC 167 against Johny Hendricks.  GSP has remained active despite not being in the Octagon.  According to the interview via MMA Fighting, GSP was offered Robbie Lawler but Lawler is taking time off from fighting after losing his title in July.

Payout Perspective:

Obviously, there are two sides to each story and we will have to see if the UFC confirms that St. Pierre is indeed released from his UFC contract.  If so, this would be big news for other organizations such as Bellator.  GSP is a popular fighter despite being away from active competition since 2013.  His return to MMA would spark interest with any promotion he might land with in the near future.  Now let’s hope this does not get pulled into litigation which might keep GSP from returning.

Aldo threatens to take UFC to court

September 28, 2016

MMA Fighting reports that a disgruntled Jose Aldo is talking about taking the UFC to court if he is not released from his contract.

According to a Combate report, Aldo has talked to a lawyer about his legal possibilities.  He has six fights left on his existing contract.

Aldo was angered that the company passed him over for a title shot against Conor McGregor at UFC 205.  Instead, the UFC chose Eddie Alvarez as the opponent for the Featherweight Champion.  McGregor has not defended the title since he defeated Aldo this past December.

Dana White indicated that he would speak to Aldo and his team and would not terminate the contract.

Payout Perspective:

The prospects of Aldo suing the UFC to get out of his contract are probably slim.  Rather, the talk of lawsuit is posturing so that White and the UFC grant Aldo some concession.  Whether it is monetary or he gets to pick his next fight and opponent, I would suspect that the UFC would be willing to negotiate with Aldo rather than deal with another lawsuit.

Will Brooks signs with UFC, debuts July 8th

June 15, 2016

The UFC has signed former Bellator lightweight champion Will Brooks.  His first fight comes in less than a month as he faces Ross Pearson on July 8th at the TUF 23 Finale in Las Vegas.

Brooks replaces James Krause.  Off of a two fight win streak, Krause pulled out of the fight earlier this week.

Despite being the lightweight champion of the promotion, he was released last month.  Brooks had been vocal (mostly via social media) about his stay with the promotion.  Many perceived the fighter as a malcontent.  Scott Coker terminated Brooks’ contract and waived all negotiation rights which allowed Brooks to pursue a UFC contract and fight with the promotion almost immediately.

The last reported salary for Brooks was $36,000 to show and $36,000 to win in April 2015.  He had another fight in November 2015 although I was unable to obtain that salary.  So, he may have made a little more than the $72K total from last April.

Payout Perspective:

It will be interesting to see what type of salary Brooks will make in the UFC.  I don’t think he will be paid as much as Eddie Alvarez received from the outset when he began with the company.  One has to think it will be a pay cut at the start.  However, if he is truly a top fighter in the lightweight division, I would think that he would be able to ascend in salary sooner than later.

Jury hits Canelo with $8.5 million verdict

June 14, 2016

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will have to pay $8.5 million to his former promoter, All-Star Boxing for unjust enrichment after a trial in Miami-Dade County.  Although Golden Boy Promotions was sued in the lawsuit, the jury did not assess a verdict against it.  However, per the LA Times, it stated that Alvarez will appeal the verdict.

All-Star Boxing owner Felix “Tuto” Zabala, Jr. stated that he did it for the dignity of his business and that “[y]ou must respect contracts.”  Zabala claimed that Alvarez breached a contract in which he had 3 more years left when he signed with Golden Boy.  The promotion also claimed unjust enrichment on the part of Alvarez which eventually was the reason the jury awarded the amount.

Golden Boy was sued for tortious interference with a contract.

Per BoxingScene.com, Alvarez claimed that the contract he signed with All-Star Boxing was in English and the terms to him were unclear.

The verdict ends, for now, a lawsuit that was filed in 2011.  All-Star Boxing offered to settle the lawsuit for $5 million but that was rejected by Golden Boy.

Golden Boy issued a statement that despite Canelo’s verdict, All-Star Boxing will have to pay attorney fees for Golden Boy.  This is due to the fact the jury found no contract between Alvarez and Golden Boy per a Golden Boy spokesperson.  Presumably, since the jury did not find any wrongdoing on the part of Golden Boy, All-Star Boxing must pay for the promotion’s attorney’s fees.  All-Star Boxing refutes this claim.

Payout Perspective:

As the LA Times points out, even though Canelo was assessed the verdict, it is not clear whether the fighter added an indemnification clause in his contract which would have the promotion cover expenses in legal matters.  This would probably be the reason why Golden Boy will likely appeal the judgment.  The fact pattern as it seems is an example of the reasons why the Muhammad Ali Act is in place: a dispute over a prolonged contractual obligation, a claim that a promotional agreement was signed under duress and a breach of contract.  Although this part of the dispute may be over, we will likely see an appeal.

McGregor in midst of $100M deal with UFC?

May 22, 2016

Conor McGregor told ESPN’s Kenny Mayne, in the network’s trademark “Sunday Conversation” that he is in the midst of a $100 million deal with the UFC.  In the interview, he opened up about the “retirement” tweet, the UFC and Floyd Mayweather.

Whether or not you believe this to be true, the deal is likely the biggest fight contract for a UFC fighter in the company’s history.

Assuming what McGregor is saying is true, the deal is likely for 8 fights which would amount to approximately $12.5 million per fight not including any PPV upside or other performance-type bonuses.

The interview includes talking about the “proposed” fight between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and the Irish MMA fighter.  The latest in that saga is Mayweather offering $50M to McGregor.  In his ESPN interview, McGregor proclaimed that Mayweather needs him, not the other way around.

Payout Perspective:

I would suppose that McGregor and the UFC would be working on a new contract (or revising the old one) which would mean more fights and more money.  I also think that the contract would be much more in-depth and detailed than your standard boilerplate contract with the UFC.  Namely, it would detail the terms of his promotional schedule.

The subtle thing here is that McGregor is giving ESPN’s Kenny Mayne this exclusive interview and not Fox or FS1 doing this.  Obviously, it would be more advantageous for ratings if FS1 were to do this interview rather than ESPN.  But, as we’ve seen, when big news occurs for the UFC, ESPN is the first to report.

Sterling chooses to re-sign with the UFC

February 15, 2016

Aljamain Sterling announced that he is re-signing with the UFC.  The bantamweight was a free agent after his fight this past December and while there was much speculation about where he would sign he has decided to remain in the UFC.

Sterling made the announcement on The MMA Hour.  He said that he got a better deal by waiting for free agency.  Sterling feels confident about his skills and adding value to the company.

Although no terms were disclosed, Sterling signed in with the UFC in January 2014 when he accepted a four-fight contract at $8K/$8K with a $2K increase if he won.  According to an article with Bleacher Report, Sterling says the UFC offered him a raise to $20K/$20K.  But, he declined the offer and fought out the last fight of his contract.  He was subsequently offered $24K/$24K by the UFC but declined that offer too.

In addition to Sterling’s choice to stay with the UFC, Heavyweight Alistair Overeem decided to re-sign with the UFC as well.

Payout Perspective:

Do you think that the UFC blew Sterling out of the water with their offer or did he not receive a better offer from a rival organization?  One would think that Bellator could have used the money it spent on signing Chris Leben to sign Sterling.  He could have bolstered that division and been an instant rival for the likes of Joe Warren.  Re-signing with the UFC probably means that in addition to more money, Sterling will get better, higher-profile fights.  With a raise, perhaps Sterling will get some prime fights at bantamweight and maybe headline a Fight Night.  He is a likable, charismatic person that can finish a fight.  We shall see what the company does with him.

Coker not taking Brooks comments personal

February 14, 2016

MMA Fighting reports on Scott Coker’s response to lightweight champion Will Brooks’ criticism of the organization for not promoting him versus others within the company.

Brooks, according to his twitter account, plans to fight out his contract with Bellator.  The insinuation is that he is going to head into free agency and look for a better deal than what the Viacom-owned company is offering him.

Rather than fight Brooks in the media, Scott Coker state that he’s not taking it personally and that Brooks’ feelings are “part of the business.”  Coker indicated that Bellator would make an offer to Brooks but did not go as far as to say they would go out of their way to re-sign him.

Payout Perspective:

With Benson Henderson coming into Bellator, could its current lightweight champion be leaving?  Brooks presents an interesting case since he’s a current champion.  One would think that the Champions Clause might prevent Brooks from leaving the company cleanly.  We will see if that happens (or if Brooks has this clause in his contract).  But, Coker is playing this well.  He’s not getting personal and is complimentary of Brooks despite his dismay with the company.

Holly Holm signs new deal with UFC

January 3, 2016

ESPN reports that Holly Holm has signed a multiyear contract extension with the UFC per Holm’s manager Lenny Fresquez.  Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Holm was in attendance Saturday night at UFC 195 and inked the deal on Saturday.  Per ESPN, it is not uncommon for the UFC to sign a newly crowned champ to a new deal.

According to disclosed salaries by the California State Athletic Commission, Holm was at $25K/$25K at UFC 184 and July 2015’s UFC Fight Night 71.  One would suspect that Holm will receive a significant boost in pay with the potential for PPV points.

Payout Perspective:

Maybe we get further details in the coming days as to how long the contract is for Holm.  It appears that most re-ups are for 8 fights thus making the deal “multiyear.”  Hopefully, Holm received a deal comparable to her new status as the top woman’s fighter in the UFC.  With a potential fight coming with Miesha Tate and a rematch with Ronda Rousey in the not too distant future if she gets past Tate, Holm is positioned to usurp the position Rousey has held since 2013.

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