Plaintiffs in UFC Antitrust Lawsuit Oppose Sealing of Documents by Zuffa in latest legal filing

August 14, 2018

Plaintiffs in the UFC Antitrust lawsuit have filed an opposition to Zuffa’s request for a Motion to Seal documents in its Motion for Summary Judgment.

Plaintiffs argue that the documents requested by Zuffa to seal from public view do not contain trade secrets, commercially sensitive information, are of public knowledge and are too old to contain trade secrets.  As a result, it has failed to carry its burden that it will be harmed if it is disclosed by the public

Plaintiffs have filed its own Motion to Seal here premised upon Zuffa’s request to seal.  This is based upon the Protective Order previously agreed to and signed by the parties, the documents that they seek to seal have been designated as “Confidential or Highly Confidential – Attorneys’ Eyes Only.”

According to Zuffa’s Motion to Seal, it places its requests in five categories: Financial Information, Business Communication and Strategy, Third Party Information and Expert Reports and Testimony.  Notably, Plaintiffs point out the vague notion of why Zuffa believes certain business communication and strategy should be sealed citing “public disclosure of this information would be likely to provide competitors with unfair and damaging insights into Zuffa’s business practices, including providing those competitors with unearned competitive advantages.”

The Motion notes that Zuffa would like to seal portions of deposition testimony from former Zuffa vice  president and assistant general counsel Michael Mersch about a hypothetical contract.  There is also a request to seal testimony from Lorenzo Fertitta but that portion of the motion has been sealed at this point pending a Court determination.

The Motion cites to certain MMA articles which are about the UFC contracts which display the fact that the information that the UFC seeks to seal is already of public information.

Oppo to Motion to Seal by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

Plaintiffs have just started to oppose the sealing of documents at this point.  They note that previously they have allowed Zuffa to seal info with the motion going unopposed.  Either Plaintiffs are recognizing a new strategy or someone was asleep at the wheel and didn’t realize that they should have opposed these motions all along.  It will be up to a Court to decide if a legal burden to seal the documents has been proven by Zuffa.  A Court could take a look at what is being sought to disclose and render that certain things may be disclosed while others may remain to be sealed.  But, the inference is that all filings should be for public view and its up to a party to prove legal harm from disclosure.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

Show Money episode 23 discusses Antitrust, DAZN-Bellator, etc.

August 8, 2018

Show Money is back with John Nash of Bloody Elbow, Paul Gift of Forbes/Bloody Elbow and myself discussing Zuffa’s recent Motion for Summary Judgment filing, the Bellator/DAZN deal and other issues in MMA…and cinema.

 
 

UFC 227: Payout Perspective

August 7, 2018

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 227 taking place in Los Angeles at the Staples Center.  The show featured two championship fights with one title change.

Dillashaw retains title in stoppage of Garbrandt

T.J. Dillashaw successfully defended his UFC Bantamweight title over Cody Garbrandt with a first round stoppage of the former champion.  Dillashaw is now 2-0 over his former stable mate.

Cejudo wins split decision over Mighty Mouse to end Johnson’s reign

Henry Cejudo’s wrestling was the key in a split decision victory over Demetrious Johnson to win the UFC Flyweight title.  Cejudo’s several takedowns and ability to pin down Johnson likely earned him the narrow victory.  Johnson indicated that he suffered a broken book and knee injury during the fight.  Still, the former champ almost pulled out the victory.

Johnson’s loss is his first since October 2011.  He successfully defended the title 11 times prior to this defeat and has to be considered as one of the greatest title runs ever in the UFC.

Attendance and Gate

The event was a sellout at Staples Center with 17,794 in attendance for a gate of $2.85 million.

Bonuses

Dillashaw, Cejudo, Johnson and Renato Moicano earned the $50,000 bonuses.  Dillashaw and Moicano drew the Performance Bonuses while Cejudo and Johnson earned the Fight of the Night.

Payouts

Mighty Mouse and Dillashaw earned the most out of the purses disclosed by the California State Athletic Commission.  The payouts are here.

Reebok Payouts

Notably, Cub Swanson and Thiago Santos were the only fighters outside of the title fight participants to earn 5 figures.

T.J. Dillashaw: $40,000
Cody Garbrandt: $30,000
Henry Cejudo: $30,000
Demetrious Johnson: $40,000
Renato Moicano: $5,000
Cub Swanson: $20,000
J.J. Aldrich: $4,000
Polyana Viana: $3,500
Thiago “Marreta” Santos: $10,000
Kevin Holland: $3,500
Pedro Munhoz: $5,000
Brett Johns: $4,000
Ricky Simon: $3,500
Montel Jackson: $3,500
Ricardo Ramos: $3,500
Kyung Ho Kang: $5,000
Sheymon Moraes: $3,500
Matt Sayles: $3,500
Alex Perez: $3,500
Jose Torres: $3,500
Weili Zhang: $3,500
Danielle Taylor: $4,000
Marlon Vera: $5,000
Wuliji Buren: $3,500

Sponsorships

Van Heusen made its first appearance in the Octagon as an official sponsor of the UFC.  Stephen Thompson and T.J. Dillashaw star in an online commercial for the men’s brand which is launching a flexible casual line.  It had the fighter prep point.

Fallout 76, a multiplayer action video game sponsored the Embedded Series this time around.

It was announced that Trifecta Nutrition was the “Official Meal Delivery Partner of the UFC.”  The deal is set to be worth $10 million dollars.  Notably, Blue Apron, another company within the same space as Trifecta Nutrition is experiencing issues with its company as its second quarter earnings didn’t match up to analyst expectations.

In addition to Van Heusen and Trifecta Nutrition, Harley Davidson, Modelo, MetroPCS, Motel6.com, UFC Fight Pass, Toyo Tires, Monster Energy/Circle K and the movie Mile 22 which stars Ronda Rousey were in the Octagon.  Monster Energy had the center.

There seemed to be a concerted effort to promote the Reebok walkout shirts from the fighters.

Ratings

UFC 227 Prelims on FX: 717,000, 0.3 in the A18-49 demo (3rd highest in cable)

UFC 227 Pre Fight Show on FX:  306,000

UFC 226 Post-Fight Show on FS1:  122,000

Odds and Ends

Likely overshadowing this event was the news that Conor McGregor was returning to fight against Khabib Nurmogomedov in October.

While the story died down, there were old social media posts made by Garbrandt where he used racially insensitive language.  He was able to explain the posts away and it was seemed to be disregarded once fight night came around.  There was the news that was contemplating pulling out of the fight due to issues with his back but decided to go through with it due to financial reasons.  You have to feel for Garbrandt who has a little baby and is looking to buy a house, get insurance and all the other things with becoming a regular adult trying to start a family.  During a prefight media event, he revealed he went to Vegas to get epidural injections in his back.

There were over 500,000 google searches on Saturday for UFC 227 which is the norm for PPV buys in the 200K range.

Cub Swanson stated that he paid for $26,000 for tickets for the event.  The SoCal native lost via submission in the first round.

Garbrandt and Mike Tyson are friends if you watched the Embedded series.

The Prelims were shuffled to FX due to MLB on FS1.  It was also a busy night for combat sports as there was boxing on Fox and another on HBO.

Conclusion

Based on the google searches and the prelim ratings, this PPV likely drew around 250,000-275,000 PPV buys.  Outside of Conor McGregor, its hard to see a lighter weight division title fight drawing near 300,000 PPV buys nowadays.

Zuffa files its Motion for Summary Judgment against former fighters in the UFC Antitrust Lawsuit

July 31, 2018

On Monday, Zuffa filed its Motion for Summary Judgment against the Plaintiffs in the UFC Antitrust lawsuit.  The filing argues that despite the lengthy and voluminous amount of discovery taken place, the former fighters have not provided factual evidence to support their antitrust claims.  It also argues that the expert opinion of the Plaintiffs should be excluded, and if not, they do not set forth evidence to establish a market, examine the correct wage comparison exhibiting losses and show causal injury.

Zuffa notes that it has filed Daubert motions which seek to exclude the testimony from Plaintiffs’ two economic experts.  If the court grants those motions, Plaintiffs will not have evidence of market definition, causation or damages.  Even without the court granting those motions, Zuffa argues that Plaintiffs’ allegations for monopolization and monopsonization must fail.  Zuffa argues that based on the testimony from rival organizations such as Bellator, PFL, OneFC and ACB that none had issues securing fighters and thus had the necessary inputs to compete.  The company argues that Plaintiffs changed its alleged “scheme” and omitted any monopoly claims.  The new theory is comprised of a “free floating” monopoly “broth” which comprises different allegations and Zuffa argues that the claims fail due to the lack of a sufficient input or output market.

Zuffa cites to the ruling in the Golden Boy-Al Haymon lawsuit in which Haymon won on summary judgment.  Essentially, Zuffa contends “Plaintiffs have not met their burden of proving an input market of buyers (where Zuffa competes with other promoters to acquire athletes’ service) or an output market of sellers (where Zuffa competes to offer sports entertainment to viewers).”

The motion attempts to poke holes at Dr. Hal Singer’s findings in its expert report supporting the former fighters’ argument for an “Elite MMA Fighter” market.  Zuffa argues, “Dr. Singer has not even attempted to define a market using the accept SSNIP [Significant Non-transitory Increase in Prices] test because he has not defined buying promoters to whom a price decrease by a monopsonist would cause a shift in business.”  It once again cites to the Golden Boy-Haymon opinion for the example where a product market for “Championship-Caliber Boxers” is not sustainable where expert fails “to analyze the qualifications or backgrounds of the current managers in the market.”  Zuffa states, “Dr. Singer merely uses the ranking data combined with his own subjective analysis to include or exclude athletes rather than promoters.”

Zuffa goes on to argue Dr. Singer’s definition of the output markets stating that the proper market definition is broader than just MMA and his expert opinion does not consider the reasonable substitutes.

In arguing that the court dismiss its Monopsonization Claim, Zuffa argues that the testimony from competing MMA promoters have access to the inputs needed to compete refutes the monopsony claim that the promotion is a “monopsony purchaser of athletes’ services.”

Zuffa brings across multiple examples of its promoters thriving despite it being a competitor in the same market.  Bellator’s recent “nine-figure deal” with DAZN to produce 22 annual events is used as evidence to argue that other promotions do not have barriers to entry.  They also cite to PFL’s recent deal with NBC Sports and One Championship’s boast that it broadcasts to “1.7 billion potential viewers across 138 countries.”

Scott Coker’s deposition testimony is quoted in the motion stating, “there’s not going to be a free agent fighter that Bellator can’t affor or have access to” to support the claim that other promotions are comparable to the UFC.

In addition, Zuffa claims that Plaintiffs have failed to evaluate the effect of the challenged conduct on actual compensation levels.  It claims that actual compensation for fighters rose during the Class Period in question.  This goes back to the overarching theme of “wage share” versus “wage level.”  Wage share is the total compensation as a percentage of relevant revenues whereas wage level are the actual wages. Here, Zuffa argues that wage share is an unacceptable measure of anticompetitive conduct because it would have the “practical effect of stifling companies’ innovation and investments for fear of incurring treble damages liability based on a lower than average wage share.”

One of the interesting arguments made by Zuffa is that it did not engage in exclusionary anticompetive conduct.  It claims it did not engage in “predatory hiring,” which is the hiring of talent for purposes of keeping them away form a competitor.  The motion denies that the UFC signed Gilbert Melendez and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira to prevent them from leaving for another organization as claimed by Plaintiffs.  It also mentions the “benching” (i.e., “forced periods of inactivity”) of three UFC athletes: Andrei Arlovski, Roger Huerta and another fighter which is redacted.

The motion also argues that Plaintiffs did not prove that Zuffa’s Exclusive Contracts Foreclose a “Substantial Share of Competition.”  Zuffa claims that Plaintiffs contention that the company’s 30-month exclusive fighter contract (including the right to match period) is illegal is wrong.  “Contrary to Dr. Singer’s assertion that 30-month exclusive contracts are unlawful, courts have routinely held that exclusive contracts even up to six years are not anticompetitive so long as there is sufficient opportunity to compete for each contract at the time it is signed.”

Motion for Summary Judgment by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

MMA Payout will continue to examine this motion as we have yet to talk about the plethora of exhibits which were attached to support it.  The arguments are similar to the ones made at the outset with its motion to dismiss. Zuffa’s introductory section which explains its success based on taking risks on the industry, its investment and its business acumen to get where it is today.

Zuffa stresses the competition in its motion utilizing evidence from testimony of its competitors to show that they are competing with the UFC and in certain instances have had no issues in attaining athletes similarly sought by the promotion.  This would seem to contradict the Plaintiffs argument that it had a monopsony over the market for “Elite Professional MMA Fighter services.”  As for its monopoly claim, Zuffa states the plaintiffs have conceded this claim based on inferences from prior pleadings.

Although it notes it is moving to exclude Plaintiffs’ expert, Hal Singer, it takes direct aim in rebutting his analysis which supports the claims made by the former UFC athletes.  It argues that they have wrongly identified the input or output market by attempting to define the market by the athletes and not by the MMA promoter.

Plaintiffs will have an opportunity to respond in the coming weeks and MMA Payout will keep you posted.

UFC on Fox 30 draws 1.461 million

July 29, 2018

UFC on Fox 30 drew 1.461 million viewers in fast overnight ratings according to Television By Numbers.  It led its time slot with a 0.6 rating for Adults 18-49 and a 3 share.

The ratings were based on the 8-10pm time slot and does not account for the overrun.  The main event featuring Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez seeped over the 10pm time slot with Poirier earning the TKO victory in the second round.

The 1.461 million viewers for the main card on Fox is the lowest out of the UFC on Fox cards held in the summer since the inception of the network cards in 2012.

UFC on Fox Ratings
Overnights
UFC on Fox 1 5,700,000
UFC on Fox 2 4,570,000
UFC on Fox 3 2,250,000
UFC on Fox 4 2,360,000
UFC on Fox 5 3,410,000
UFC on Fox 6 3,770,000
UFC on Fox 7 3,300,000
UFC on Fox 8 2,040,000
UFC on Fox 9 2,410,000
UFC on Fox 10 2,550,000
UFC on Fox 11 1,990,000
UFC on Fox 12 2,020,000
UFC on Fox 13 2,270,000
UFC on Fox 14 2,820,000
UFC on Fox 15 2,430,000
UFC on Fox 16 2,290,000
UFC on Fox 17 2,280,000
UFC on Fox 18 2,430,000
UFC on Fox 19 2,130,000
UFC on Fox 20 2,440,000
UFC on Fox 21 2,200,000
UFC on Fox 22 2,690,000
UFC on Fox 23 2,020,000
UFC on Fox 24 1,740,000
UFC on Fox 25 1,640,000
UFC on Fox 26 1,780,000
UFC on Fox 27 1,590,000
UFC on Fox 28 1,820,000
UFC on Fox 29 1,780,000
UFC on Fox 30 1,460,000

Payout Perspective:

UFC on Fox 30 was the only live event and non-rerun in its time slot which may account for winning the night in the adult demo.   It’s hard to know how much the overrun will aid the viewership as it was perhaps 15 minutes into the 10pm hour.  One may spin it as a win for the UFC as it beat out other programming Saturday night for the A18-49 demo.  But, overall viewers were the lowest during its time slot.  Also, the historical outlook of the viewership for Fox broadcast is at its lowest.

Approaching free agency, Alvarez acknowledge UFC fighters underpaid

July 28, 2018

Eddie Alvarez is not new to MMA free agency.  You might recall he was a party in a bitter lawsuit with Bellator that exposed the world to the UFC’s athlete contract which has been used as a template in many instances.  As he nears free agency in the UFC, he is keen to the business-side of the sport and understands that fighters are underpaid.

Alvarez compared free agency to the Olympics as something that happens every 4 years and stated his excitement on what’s to come.

Bellator sued Alvarez in 2013 after it attempted to match the contract offered by the UFC.  In one of the more unique ways to ensure that they matched an offer, Bellator “cut and paste” the UFC contract terms into their contract offer to Alvarez.  Of course, there was a dispute on whether Bellator had truly matched the UFC’s contract.  The court denied Alvarez a preliminary injunction which would have allowed him to bolt for the UFC.  Bellator’s attempt to dismiss Alvarez’s lawsuit against it was denied as well.

Despite proclaiming he would take his case to trial, Alvarez settled with Bellator and appeared on the company’s inaugural PPV.  The lawsuit exposed the business side of MMA and at the UFC on Fox 30 media day, Alvarez talked about the state of the UFC and the sobering fact that athletes have no real control on their careers.

While he did not directly respond to whether or not fighters need to unionize, his statement about lack of power seemed to attest to the lack of leverage for a UFC athlete.

He acknowledged that it is likely that Conor McGregor will likely leapfrog him for a title shot regardless of the outcome of his fight with Dustin Poirier.  “This is what’s happening,” Alvarez stated to the press as he identified the example of Brock Lesnar’s anticipated title shot.

Alvarez stated that everyone is “underpaid” in the UFC.  The lightweight contender is not the only one to have this sentiment.  He acknowledged that he’d like the UFC “to share a little bit more.”  Even when given the question of Dana White throwing a birthday party for his son which cost $1 million, Alvarez did not take the bait as he differentiated White’s personal spending to what the business does.

It’s not clear what is next in store for Alvarez.  He’s still a top-level fighter and would be a great benefit to Bellator but I would anticipate that the UFC makes a strong case to retain Alvarez.

He says he’s not, but should Anderson Silva sue USADA?

July 25, 2018

On Ariel Helwani’s show this past Monday, Anderson Silva stated that he would not take legal action after USADA determined that his failed drug test came from a compounding pharmacy.  But, a legal action could facilitate a change to the current UFC Anti-Doping Policy.

The former middleweight champ said he has lost 4 sponsors as a result of his absence from the Octagon.

Silva’s statement of losing sponsors could be a claim for damages in a lawsuit against USADA and Zuffa.   Based on the USADA ruling, it absolves Silva of wrongdoing in the matter as he ingested a contaminated supplement.  He unknowingly took a supplement from a pharmacy that made the supplement in-house rather than receiving it from the actual manufacturer.  The issue of “compounding pharmacies” has come up with several tests that were flagged by USADA.  This includes Junior Dos Santos and Antonio Rogerio Nogueria.  All have been reinstated after an investigation revealed the source of the failed test.

In a lawsuit, the broader problem is that Silva would likely have to bring an action against USADA and the UFC for its policy.  Since Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC is the organization that unilaterally (very important) implemented the policy, you would need to sue them.  Certainly, a daunting task for any fighter considering the lawsuits pending regarding Mark Hunt and the ex-UFC athletes in the antitrust lawsuit.

But, Silva would have been a great plaintiff to disrupt the current state of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  Granted, his UFC 183 NAC drug test failure was embarrassing to his legacy, but he has maintained a popularity with most MMA fans.  Stepping in on short notice to face Daniel Cormier at UFC 200 was legendary because it was clear that he was not in shape to go in and fight but did it to help the company.

So, why sue the company that he has been a part of for years?

The UFC Anti-Doping Policy has flaws and there is no way that they can be amended since contracted athletes have no leverage to influence policy.  Project Spearhead among other entities have attempted to organize but those efforts are still pending.

A lawsuit which would include USADA and Zuffa would bring attention to the perceived unfair policy developed by the organization.  While the intent of the policy is for the greater good of the sport in that it prevents the use of performance enhancing drugs, athletes have complained about the testing measures and the collection process.  Josh Barnett, who successfully defended himself at arbitration over a failed drug test, left the UFC due to the lack of trust he had in the process.  Despite the fact athletes may absolve themselves of wrongdoing, athletes are immediately put on a provisional suspension pending adjudication which takes a lengthy amount of time to complete.

Moreover, the standard for which athletes must prove their innocence is a huge obstacle considering that the UFC Anti-Doping Policy operates on a presumption that the athlete is responsible for anything he or she ingests.  Thus, the issue of compounding pharmacy or taking a tainted supplement already makes the athlete culpable.

A lawsuit is a long, arduous process that costs a lot of money.  Silva is 43 and would like to fight before his time is up.  So, not filing a lawsuit is prudent to finish his career in the UFC.  But, his legacy could be more than this if he were to take legal action.  It would be likely that a lawsuit would necessitate a response short of a trial. Meaning, the USADA and Zuffa would want to solve the issue prior to judicial resolution.  The loss of sponsors, assuming they were due to in-ring inaction rather than another issue, may be a viable claim for lost wages due to an unfair system.

Legal action is not always the way to resolve disputes, but at the present time if athletes want a change to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, filing a complaint might be the way to do it.

Court denies UFC’s request to seal Promotional Agreement in Mark Hunt lawsuit

July 23, 2018

The Court in the Mark Hunt lawsuit against Zuffa, Dana White and Brock Lesnar denied a motion for leave to file exhibits under seal.  The defendants’ motion (specifically White and the UFC) sought to seal and redact portions of the 2016 Promotional Agreement with the UFC Heavyweight.

The Court denied the request citing that the public has a right to inspect and copy judicial records.  It relied upon the presumption that the records are publicly accessible. The party seeking to seal “bears the burden of overcoming this strong presumption.”  The Court makes the distinction that since this is a dispositive motion (a motion that may bring an end to the lawsuit), the party seeking to seal the record “must articulate compelling reasons supported by specific factual findings that outweigh the general history of access and the public policies favoring disclosure…”

The UFC and Dana White attached Hunt’s Bout Agreement for UFC 200 and other Bout Agreements from previous fights on as exhibits to its Motion to Dismiss Hunt’s First Amended Complaint.  Denial of its Motion to Seal these documents presumptively means that they would be available for public viewing.

The U.S. Magistrate denied the order and barring an immediate appeal will unseal the documents filed in their motions to dismiss in 14 days.

Order on Motion to Seal by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

This is a good ruling for those interested in the case and public access to court records.  Notably, the UFC is fighting to maintain records sealed in its Antitrust lawsuit filed by former fighters.  In that case, they argue that there is trade secrets/financial information that is confidential.  The Court should apply the standard here which requires a burden of overcoming the presumption is publicly accessible.  For the Hunt case, it will be an interesting look (not since the Eddie Alvarez lawsuit) into the terms of a current UFC bout agreement.

Did UFC satisfy its part of deal for Brian Ortega at UFC 226?

July 20, 2018

UPDATED 7/20/18, 10:19pm PT:  According to MMA Junkie report, a financial deal was struck between the UFC and Ortega).  Brian Ortega was not compensated despite being ready for his fight with Max Holloway at UFC 226 underscores anl issue with bout agreements which allows the UFC to provide an opponent in order satisfy its terms of the contract without additional remedy for the athlete.

Ortega spoke about a meeting he had with White in which the challenger was told he would not be compensated for his time promoting his fight with Max Holloway. The lightweight champion had to pull out of the fight just days before his showdown due to concussion-like symptoms.  According to his interview with Brendan Schaub, Ortega was given the option of fighting Jeremy Stephens or Frankie Edgar on short notice for an interim belt.  Ortega had just beat Edgar and he did not want to fight Stephens as his sole goal was to fight for the belt.

Ortega noted that White claimed that the UFC had done its part in offering a substitute and since he did not want the Stephens fight, their duty to fulfill the contract was done.  White, who Ortega claimed was upset during the meeting to discuss fight options, was upset.  The UFC did not offer to cover expenses for his training camp due to Ortega not taking the substitute fight.

In his meeting with White Ortega noted that he had taken fights on short notice including offering to fight Khabib Nurmogomedov when his fight fell through with Holloway this past April.  He also stated that he had spent extra time doing media for UFC 226 in English and Spanish.

Payout Perspective:

It’s clear that the Bout Agreement allows for the UFC to come up with a fight alternative in the event that the original fight does not go through.  After the UFC has provided a fight, it is up to the athlete to take the fight or decline.  But, if the athlete declines, it’s the UFC’s position that they have fulfilled the terms of the Bout Agreement.  Ortega was adamant that he wanted to fight Holloway for the belt, or the belt itself.  He did not want the interim belt since it was not the same.  From the UFC’s perspective, one might infer that this (fighting for the title) is not written into the contract.  Rather, it’s an alternative to the original fight (or perhaps adding the moniker of being for the ‘interim’ title).  There’s some ambiguity in contract law as to the duty of a party to “cover” in the case of an “anticipatory breach.”  Basically, if it’s clear that the bout could not happen because one of the participants could not fight, the promoter has a right to provide the athlete a substitute.  If the participating athlete declines the substitute, the promoter has fulfilled its obligation of the contract.  In this case, it seems that is the UFC’s position since it gave Ortega an option of Stephens or Edgar.  Of course, the counter to the right to “cover” is whether the substitute is on par with the original Bout Agreement.  Ortega and his camp agreed that any fight outside of Holloway would not be the same and declined the alternatives.  But, it would seem that there would be no real legal remedy for Ortega since the UFC offered him an attempt to remain on the card.  It’s a real sticky situation for Ortega because he has not trained for Stephens or Edgar and a loss would derail his real goal of facing Holloway for the title.  While the UFC may argue that you will eventually fight these challengers, one might assume Ortega would have a whole fight camp to prepare.

Obviously, this hurts Ortega and his trainers and training partners who may be financially affected too since the athlete was not paid, they may not be paid as well.  Unless fighters have the ability to alter Bout Agreements to place clauses which ensures payment regardless of whether fights go forward, this practice will continue.

DAZN enters crowded U.S. streaming market at $9.99 per month

July 17, 2018

DAZN is the latest over the top streaming service to launch in the United States and will do it with a huge boxing event featuring heavyweight Anthony Joshua taking on Alexander Povetkin.  DAZN CEO James Rushton announced on Tuesday that the it will begin September 10th at a cost of $9.99 after a one month free trial.

“We launched DAZN to disrupt the status quo and change the way the world sees sports,” stated Rushton at a press conference in New York City Tuesday to announce the launch of it service in the US.

DAZN’s parent company Perform Group entered into a reported $1 billion deal with boxing promoter Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom boxing in May.  A month later, Bellator joined the stable to stream its MMA events on the service.

Joshua, arguably the best heavyweight in boxing aside from Deontay Wilder, will take on Povetkin on September 22nd.  Bellator’s first event will be on September 29th and feature Gegard Mousasi vs. Rory MacDonald.

DAZN will stream 70 combat sporting events from Matchroom Boxing, World Boxing Super Series and Bellator.  The Viacom-owned MMA promotion will stream 22 fights on DAZN but 15 of those will also be streamed on Paramount.

Payout Perspective:

Get ready to shell out more money for another streaming service if you are a combat sports fan.  ESPN + came on board at $5 per month this past spring.  There is still UFC Fight Pass and the WWE Network if you are into sports entertainment (btw, the stock just surpassed $80).  This is in addition to another multitude of platforms out there looking to provide content for fans.  Then, there are the heavyweights of Amazon Prime, Facebook and Google’s YouTube that are offering a wide-range of streaming content.  Facebook Watch airs PFL as well as an exclusive MLB game every week. DAZN will offer something a little different with a mix of boxing and MMA and we will see the interest level fans will have after the one month trial ends.

Next Page »