How will SCOTUS ruling on sports gambling affect MMA?

May 14, 2018

The United States Supreme Court struck down the federal law banning sports gambling.  As a result, states can now legalize sports betting.  The ruling will certainly affect the sport of MMA.

As of Monday, New Jersey plans to be the first state to offer legal sports betting based upon the new ruling.  Delaware, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are also expected to make it legal in quick order.

Prior to the ruling, Nevada had been the only state allowed to offer sports betting.  Oregon, Delaware and Montana maintained sport lotteries.

The major sports leagues: the NFL, NBA NHL and Major League Baseball as well as the NCAA supported the federal law but were ruled against by the highest court.

The most salient point of today’s Court ruling: “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own.”  This statement affirms the belief that states are free to regulate if federal law does not conflict.  The Court believed the federal law in place regulated sports gambling.

Sports leagues such as the NBA and MLB are looking for “integrity fees” which would be a way to profit from the new opportunity.

For those wondering, the UFC has spoken favorably about legalization.  It may seem evident that the previous UFC owners, the Fertitta brothers, would be partial to sports gambling since their money came from the casino industry.  But, under questioning from New Jersey’s lawmaker Frank Pallone (operating on his own agenda) last December, the UFC’s Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner supported sports gaming.  Although he did not speak for the UFC, he indicated that the company had the infrastructure to deal with any issues with respect to match-fixing based on gambling.

Pallone first asked whether UFC was bet on in other parts of the world. Ratner stated, “I know offshore there’s betting everywhere. In Nevada, all our fights are put on the board, you can bet on the first fight through the last..Personally, not for the UFC, I am in favor of sports betting around the world, around the country especially.” He also asked about how the UFC preserves the integrity of the sport with the knowledge that gambling is ongoing.  He also asked whether gambling has helped with fan engagement to which Ratner stated it did.

We will see how states will deal with sports gambling and the impact it will have in MMA.

Payout Perspective:

Notably, PFL undertook a uniform policy but one of the bans on sponsors was that of gambling sites.  The sponsors have already been turned into the promotion so for some fighters they cannot take advantage of a potential market.  However, other leagues where fighters solicit sponsors might see an uptick.

It is still too early to see how state-sponsored gambling may impact MMA.  Daily Fantasy Sports for MMA came and went as the industry did not seem to stick with the sport of MMA.  But, the potential ease and accessibility of gambling will likely build for years to come.  With many regional MMA cards happening at tribal casinos, you can envision the venues building sportsbooks so you can make bets prior to going in and watching the fights.  This represents the good and bad of the potential future for MMA and sports gambling as the concern over the social issues (i.e., addiction) and integrity will be something to monitor.

There will be an influx of sponsors coming into the market for both fighters and leagues.  Pun intended, but you can bet on gambling being a part of the MMA landscape in the future with the potential revenue that may come from this ruling.

Show Money talks ESPN/UFC Deal and Leslie Smith

May 14, 2018

It’s that time again. Show Money is back talking about the ESPN+/UFC deal and Leslie Smith’s NLRB Charge against Zuffa.

Court issues final order in Wilder-Povetkin but appeal likely

May 10, 2018

The Deontay Wilder-Alexander Povetkin case may be heading to an appeal if you believe the parties.  The Court has issued a final judgment and order in the case and indicated that money held in escrow be sent to World of Boxing.

Order May 10th by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Final Judgment by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

The legal saga that has seemingly dragged on for years looks to be heading to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.  With the exception of Povetkin’s legal cause of action for Defamation against In a letter from Povetkin/World of Boxing’s attorney’s, they advise the Court that Wilder intends to appeal the Court’s summary judgment ruling.  Povetkin/World of Boxing proposed to the Court that the remaining claim for Defamation is stayed until the resolution of the appeal.

The Court issued an order which ends the case (for now) and allows for World of Boxing to regain over $6 million held in escrow since April 2016.

Despite the ruling, the parties fought over whether the escrow funds could be disbursed or whether the Defamation claim must be litigated.  This contentious litigation will likely continue into the appeal.

Payout Perspective:

The parties of 30 days from the date of the Order to appeal the court ruling.  It looks like that Deontay Wilder’s legal team will do so and its hard not to blame them based on the ruling from the Court which appears to contradict a February 2017 trial that found Povetkin ingested Meldonium post-January 2016.  However, the Court adhered to the WBC’s ruling that it could not determine when Povetkin ingested Meldonium.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

Leslie Smith’s Unfair Labor Charge against Zuffa

May 9, 2018

Last week Leslie Smith filed a Complaint with the NLRB citing her dismissal from Zuffa based on her activities in trying to organize fighters.

The Charge Letter, states that Smith was ranked 9th in the world in the women’s UFC bantamweight division and won 3 out of her last 4 fights in the UFC.  According to the filing, Zuffa “misclassifies its fighter employees as independent contractors.”  Smith created Project Spearhead which sought to collect authorization cards from a minimum of 30% of the pro MMA fighters under contract with Zuffa.  She sent approximately 350 public tweets “tagging” fighters with the request that they sign an authorization card to determine whether they were employees and able to get benefits.

The Charging Letter also states that she had communicated with Zuffa to discuss changes to Zuffa’s “UFC Promotional Guidelines.”  Reed Harris set up a meeting with Smith to discuss the queries but, according to Smith, Harris “failed to honor the scheduled meeting.”  She then received an email from Zuffa’s Chief Legal Officer Wm. Hunter Campbell stating that he’d meet with Smith.   However, after multiple attempts, the two could not meet due to Campbell’s schedule (according to Smith).

An interesting fact is that Smith sent pictures of a mouthguard she planned to used for her April 21, 2018 fight against Aspen Ladd.  It contained the words “Project Spearhead” with the organization’s logo on it.  The Charging Letter states that Zuffa took adverse action against her.

Leslie Smith Charging Letter by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

The Complaint states that Smith attempted to negotiate an additional two fights to her UFC contract if she took her fight with Ladd.  At the time, Ladd was over the 135 pound weight limit.  The offer was rejected by the UFC and she was paid her show and win purse instead.  Smith stated that she did not believe that the payment was a quid pro quo to fulfill the end of her contract.  But, instead the UFC had told her the fight was off and soon thereafter received notice that the company was waiving their right to match clause in Smith’s contract which allows her to immediately sign with another organization.  They also let her know that her name had been taken out of the USADA testing pool, a requisite of fighting in the UFC.

Smith argues that the animus that Zuffa had to her efforts to organize fighters via Project Spearhead was a motivating factor in not renewing her contract with the company.

Payout Perspective:

According to Smith’s attorney, the law firm of Morgan Lewis and Bockius will be representing Zuffa in this matter.  The factual information included in this Complaint is interesting and clearly there are two sides to how Smith’s contract ended.  What would have happened if Smith took the fight despite Ladd being overweight and fought with the Project Spearhead mouthguard?  What was the thinking in providing Smith with both win and show money when the UFC has traditionally not given fighters whose fights fall out due to their opponent’s injury/failing to make weight show money?  Is there are other evidence Smith has to show that she was being pegged as someone that UFC no longer wanted due to her efforts to organize fighters?  MMA Payout will continue to follow.


UFC announces new digital deal with Disney’s ESPN+

May 8, 2018

The UFC has announced a media rights deal with the new direct-to-consumer ESPN+ platform.  According to the Sports Business Journal, ESPN will pay $150 million per year over 5 years.  The deal is limited to the UFC’s digital package and begins in 2019.

Notably, Amazon Prime recently announced a deal with the UFC to carry its PPVs.  The new deal with ESPN will carry 10-15 UFC events exclusively on ESPN+.

The SBJ story notes that the television rights fee is not imminent although Fox Sports and NBC Sports have been in talks with the company.

Per the press release supporting this announcement Dana White stated, “I couldn’t be more excited to partner with The Walt Disney Company and ESPN on an agreement that will continue to grow our sport. UFC has always done deals with the right partners at the right time and this one is no exception. We will now have the ability to deliver fights to our young fan base wherever they are and whenever they want it. This deal is a home run for ESPN and UFC.”

The press release also states:

“With more than 280 million fans around the world, UFC boasts the youngest fan base among major professional sports organizations in the US with a median age of 40 and an audience comprising 40% millennials.”

The lineup of UFC content available to ESPN+ subscribers will include:

  • Exclusive, all new-seasons of “Dana White’s Contender Series” beginning in June 2019
  • A new original, all-access series produced by IMG Original Content
  • Exclusive pre- and post-event shows for all 15 “UFC on ESPN+ Fight Nights”
  • Non-exclusive access to UFC’s full archive of programming, including historic events, classic bouts, and original programming
  • Additional UFC-branded content, including “UFC Countdown” shows, press conferences, weigh-ins, and pre-and post-shows

It was just announced that Dana White’s Contender Series will have a second season starting this June.  The announcement today confirms a third season starting next June.

Payout Perspective:

The deal is worth an estimated $750 million over the course of the 5 years.  The announcement appears to envelope UFC Fight Pass into the new ESPN platform although the release states ESPN+ users will have “non-exclusive” access to the fight library.  So, this may mean the Fight Pass will remain on although subscriptions will likely diminish greatly.  A recent article stated that the UFC’s current digital platform had approximately 400,000 subscribers.  This is a good deal for ESPN as it adds more content to its new platform.  For the UFC, one must speculate that this may be a good deal to license its digital content and then find another suitor for its TV rights deal.  You can also view this as bad if you think they could not do an overarching deal for all of its media assets.  You have to think that Amazon was a suitor for the digital service and/or overall media package but ESPN+ likely offered more.

As for TV rights, the note by SBJ that nothing is imminent may be viewed in a lot of ways as in that the UFC is waiting for what it wants or…the UFC is waiting for what it wants.

McGregor’s attorneys respond to request to keep water bottle lawsuit in state court

May 7, 2018

On Friday, Conor McGregor’s attorneys filed a Statement of Removal related to moving the case from Nevada state court to Federal Court.

The Plaintiff filed a lawsuit after alleging that he was injured after being struck by a can thrown by Conor McGregor at the UFC 202 press conference.

Statement of Removal by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

McGregor’s attorneys also responded to Plaintiff’s Emergency Motion to Remand to state court:

Response to Emergency Motion by Plaintiffs by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

The essence of McGregor’s argument is that Plaintiff’s did not properly conduct a “meet and confer” process which would determine the reasons for non-participation in discovery in the state court matter. Further, the Offer of Judgment for $90,000 set the monetary damage amount which exceeds the $75,000 requirement for Federal Court allowing jurisdiction to be retained (that and diversity jurisdiction which is clear hear with plaintiff being a Nevada resident and McGregor a citizen of Ireland and his company based out of California.

Payout Perspective:

It’s pretty clear that McGregor’s attorneys have solid arguments shutting down Plaintiff’s arguments for the state court to retain jurisdiction.  The Offer of Judgment for $90,000 seems like a strategic error here considering the possibility of removal.  What may have been more prudent would be an offer of $70,000.  The medical bills are slightly under $5,000.  Even if McGregor were to settle for that amount, it would have kept it in state court and having to deal with the discovery issues.

Another issue in this case is whether plaintiff should have sued the venue and/or UFC.  It seems that someone has insurance and that should be sought out in this type of personal injury case.

Wilder and Povetkin/World of Boxing legal drama not over yet

May 2, 2018

The Deontay Wilder-Alexander Povetkin legal drama continues despite a Motion for Summary Judgment motion that seemingly answered all the questions left in the lawsuit.  All, except for when World of Boxing (“WOB”), Povetkin’s promoters might recoup the money that has remained in escrow since the start of this dispute.

We’ve covered the exhaustive background of this case since the lawsuit was filed.  For background from beginning, check this post and for the most recent filing you can look here.

On April 25th, the court entered an Order which relied on a U.S. Supreme Court case, Hall v. Hall, which determined whether consolidated cases under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are “immediately appealable upon an order disposing of that case.”  In this case, the World of Boxing has a claim for defamation which was stayed pending resolution of the rest of the claims.  The Court is concerned that the parties have not litigated this portion in the lawsuit assuming no final judgment would be filed.

Order dated 4.25.18 by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

However, the World of Boxing presented a Notice of Presentment of Proposed Final Judgment last week for the Court to sign which would have allowed for WOB to present to the escrow agent and disburse funds back to WOB.

A telephone conference originally set for April 26th has been moved back to May 10th.  The parties are expected to address the situation.

Ahead of their teleconference, the parties were offered to address the issue in letter form to the court.

Wilder sent a letter dated April 24, 2018 to the court:

Letter From Deontay Wilder 4.24.18 by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

The biggest argument in the letter was that the Court’s April 19, 2018 Opinion and Order granting in part and denying in part the parties’ motions for summary judgment, had the effect of dismissing “all claims” except the defamation claim.  WOB’s attorneys noted, “Judge Gorenstein concluded that the Bout Agreement granted complete discretion to the WBC to decide any doping question in this case, which had the effect of overruling the jury’s verdict that Povetkin ingested meldonium when it was banned.  It also pointed out that the Opinion and Order did not direct entry of a final judgment.

In its letter, it argues that consolidated cases retain their separate identity “to the extent that final decision in one is immediately appealable by the losing party.”  Here, WOB cites the U.S. Supreme Court in Hall v. Hall.

On the same day, WOB responded:

Letter From WOB 4.24.18 by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Wilder argued that the Hall case differed from the instant case.  Wilder’s attorneys argued, “[I]t would make no sense and ill-serve judicial economy to grant Defendants’ request for entry of two separate judgment on the same claims in two different cases.  To the contrary, such a result would sow serious confusion before this Court and on the appellate level, and there is no precedent to support that outcome.”

Payout Perspective:

 From WOB’s perspective, the argument by Wilder is seemingly a way to prolong the litigation to prevent WOB from receiving the millions of dollars kept in escrow.  The fundamental legal argument is whether the defamation claim is separate from the other claims made by the parties.  The U.S. Supreme Court case has varied interpretations by the parties.  Wilder believes that there should be one entry of judgment while WOB believes that there could be two judgments made for the one case.  Once again, it appears that the Court was not clear in its ruling as its Order deciding the Motions for Summary Judgment could have outlined the issue or gave guidance as to whether an entry of judgment should occur or pending the litigation of the defamation claim.  The question one might ask, is whether dismissing the claim would allow for this case to end barring appeal.  We will see May 10th.

Man who claimed he was hurt by a Conor McGregor thrown bottle at UFC 202 presser gets case moved to Federal Court

April 27, 2018

The man that has sued Conor McGregor for personal injuries he claims he sustained while working security at the UFC 202 press conference which saw McGregor engage in a bottle throwing war with Nate Diaz and his entourage.

The man, William Pegg, claimed medical bills of $3,065.96 in a demand letter dated December 13, 2016.  In addition to the medical bills, Mr. Pegg wanted an additional $225,000.00.  McGregor’s reps at Paradigm Sports denied liability and threatened to bring an action against Pegg’s attorneys for filing a frivolous lawsuit if it decided to file a lawsuit.

Plaintiff’s Demand Letter to Conor McGregor by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Pegg, of course, filed a lawsuit on March 28, 2017 claiming negligence and battery for throwing “unopened beverage cans” during the press conference.  He claimed that the cans hit him in the back. Pegg sued McGregor and McGregor Sports & Entertainment, LLC.  He originally sought damages of $15,000 in addition to punitive and medical bills.

On March 20, 2018, Pegg Amended his Complaint to add a cause of action for unjust enrichment citing that McGregor profited from the press conference incident and as a result Pegg should receive restitution.

First Amended Complaint by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

On April 10, 2018, Plaintiff’s filed an Offer of Judgment with the state court for $90,000.  The Offer of Judgment allows for the Defendant the opportunity to essentially take the offer within 10 days of the filing.  If not, and Plaintiff receives a more favorable judgment than $90,000, the Plaintiff may recoup legal fees and costs.  The purpose of the Offer of Judgment is to facilitate settlement.

However, with the Offer of Judgment, McGregor decided to remove the case to federal court.  With an amount in excess of $75,000 and diversity of jurisdiction (Pegg a Nevada citizen, McGregor’s company located in California), Federal Court may retain jurisdiction.  A removal to Federal Court is automatic and must be remanded by the non-moving party for the state court to retain jurisdiction.

Plaintiff, seeking the state court to retain jurisdiction, has filed an emergency motion to remand the case back to state court.  Plaintiff’s attorney claims that McGregor has been uncooperative in the litigation process despite an impending trial date in November 2018.  They also argue that McGregor’s removal to federal court was not timely.

Plaintiff’s Emergency Motion to Remand by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

There are advantages for a defendant to move a case to federal court.  First, there are stricter guidelines and rules that are enforced by the judge who are appointed for life.  Second, due to the glut of cases, obtaining a trial date for the case will likely take years.  Based on the information filed, it appears that there is a trial date in state court for this November.  Finally, state court tend to be lax with its rules and admitting evidence which goes to the first advantage in that federal court is much stricter.  The motion to remand will be a tough hurdle for the plaintiff since they’ve already admitted, via its Offer of Judgment, that the value of the claim is in excess of $75,000.  Add to that that McGregor’s company is in California and the plaintiff resides in Nevada and the rules dictate that Federal court retains jurisdiction.  If the case stays in Federal court, its unlikely that the plaintiff will have a trial date this fall as he did in state Court.  Moreover, the opportunity to settle the case swiftly decreases.  Despite the fact that McGregor’s reps have shown their teeth in threatening counterclaims and the like, that’s just saber-rattling which is common in litigation.

MMA Payout will keep you posted.

What was the court thinking in Povetkin-Wilder?

April 26, 2018

The ruling in the Alexander Povetkin-Deontay Wilder case last week was a surprise for many that have been following the case.

Opinion and Order by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

The lawsuit was based upon a drug test which Povetkin failed in lead-up to a fight with Wilder in Russia.  Wilder did not travel to Russia after learning of the failed drug test.  Wilder first sued Povetkin and his promoter World of Boxing as a result of Povetkin’s failed test.  Povetkin filed counterclaims against Wilder for failing to go to Russia 7 days prior to the bout date to which Povetkin claims was a breach of the Bout Agreement.  He also filed defamation claims against Wilder for bad-mouthing the heavyweight after drug test results revealed he took Meldonium.

The Court opinion deciding the Summary Judgment motions relied on the Bout Agreement which was subject to the World Boxing Council’s Rules and Regulations.  It cited language in the Agreement which stated that “any dispute or controversy” would be bound by the Rules and Regulations of the WBC.

Another layer of this dispute revolves around purse money placed in escrow for the fight.  Wilder had written the escrow company to hold the money until a court decided the outcome.  Povetkin and World of Boxing objected to this and sued claiming a violation of the duty of good faith and fair dealing.  In addition, they claimed that Wilder had violated the terms of the Bout Agreement and should be subject to a liquidated damages clause of $2.5 million.  Wilder was due $4.5 million to fight Povetkin while Povetkin was due $1.9 million.  In addition, there was a $715,000 bonus for the winner.

In February 2017, a jury just took 32 minutes to determine that Povetkin took the banned substance Meldonium post-January 1, 2016, however that did not mean much in the outcome of this Summary Judgment motion.

One of the overarching issues in the lawsuit as to who is to blame for the failed fight in Russian in May 2016.  You might infer from the news of a failed drug test from Povetkin that it was the Russian.  However, Povetkin claimed that Wilder’s failure to appear in Russia forced the hand of the regulating body, the WBC, to call off the fight.

The WBC Bout Agreement takes precedent here as the Court examines the contract in applying basic contract principles.  But in its application, there seem to be things that don’t make sense.

“We begin by noting that the Bout Agreement contains no language mandating that each fighter refrain from ingesting banned substances.”

The inference one might yield from this sentence of the Court opinion is that tis ok to used banned substances.  Based on this, the Court held that Povetkin did not breach the Bout Agreement because it cannot conclude when/if he ingested the banned substance Meldonium. Obviously, this is opposite the jury finding.

The good news for Wilder is that there was no finding of a breach of the Bout Agreement when Wilder did not go to Russia for the fight with Povetkin.  The Court notes, “[t]here is simply no evidence that the WBC’s postponement decision was a “normal or foreseeable consequence” of Wilder’s actions, or that Wilder’s acts otherwise caused the WBC’s decision.”  Povetkin and World of Boxing sought $2.5 million in liquidated damages that was part of the Escrow Agreement.  “While the WOB Parties argue that it was Wilder’s failure to appear in Moscow, rather than Povetkin’s positive test result, that caused the WBC to postpone the Bout…no reasonable jury could indulge in the speculation that would be required to conclude that this was so,” stated the Court opinion.  It went on to state, “[B]ecause a reasonable jury could not find that any breach by the Wilder Parties proximately caused the WOB Parties’ damages, the Wilder Parties’ motion for summary judgment dismissing the WOB Parties’ claim for breach of the Bout Agreement is granted.”

As for the escrow funds, World of Boxing is entitled to its release held in escrow but no interest because no judgment was entered against Wilder.

The claims for defamation filed by Povetkin remain although they may be dismissed pending further movement in this case.

The Court opinion seems to fly in the face of the original jury finding that Povetkin took Meldonium post-January 2016.  The opinion seems to lean entirely on the WBC Agreement for its determination on its procedure in determining the status of Povetkin based upon his drug tests.  The Court quotes WBC Rules and Regulations when it notes, “the WBC may in its discretion consider all factors in making a determination regarding responsibility, relative fault, and penalties, if any.”

The WBC did not issue a ruling on Povetkin’s positive drug test until August 17, 2016.  It noted that it called the bout off and reserved any further ruling.  It then determined that it was not “possible to ascertain that Mr. Povetkin ingested Meldonium after January 1, 2016.  After two additional rulings by the WBC which opposed the August 17, 2016 ruling, it overturned the decision and stuck with its August ruling.  It based this on a study showing Meldonium having the ability to stay in one’s system for more than five months.  It also noted Povetkin had negative drug tests six other times.

The WBC seemed to be dragging its feet in this case as it put off the ruling on Povetkin despite the litigation moving ahead.  There’s also the issue of Povetkin’s positive test for ostarine which happened after the lawsuit began.  Yet, the WBC did not penalize him for this and even stressed negative drug tests notwithstanding the two positive tests for Meldonium and ostarine.

This ruling seems ripe for an appeal.  The jury verdict seems to fly in the face of the Court’s ruling last week which seemed to defer to the WBC’s handling of the Povetkin matter.  Wilder’s side may just put this case behind them unless Povetkin is allowed to pursue its defamation claim.

Does Leslie Smith have standing to sue the UFC?

April 25, 2018

Leslie Smith is threatening legal action against the UFC after the end of her contract with the company.  But does she have legal standing to sue?

Smith’s last fight on her contract was to be against Aspen Ladd this past Saturday in Atlantic City.  However, Ladd missed weight and Smith, well within her rights, refused to fight.  The UFC provided Smith with her show and win purse.  The UFC also determined that they would not re-sign Smith.

The UFC does not always give fighters their show money and win bonus in scenarios where a fighter misses weight.  Vitor Belfort’s fight this past January is an example.  Belfort requested pay after being ready to fight Uriah Hall in St. Louis but Hall dropped out during fight week.

But, the UFC’s move to pay Smith and then decide to let her go seems suspect.  Smith has been outspoken about fighters united to come together for better work conditions.  She has touted Project Spearhead, a movement to encourage fighters to determine whether they should be considered employees and been vocal on social media about better rights for athletes.

In an interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Smith indicated that she is considering legal action against the UFC and has even opened up a GoFundMe to help with legal fees.

Payout Perspective:

I’m interested with this strategy by Smith because it gives the UFC time to devise a strategy to deal with this situation.  But, the first question that must be answered is whether she would have standing to sue the UFC.  While it would be great to get the NLRB acting here, the first hurdle for Smith is whether or not she has standing to sue the UFC.    Also, what are her claims?  The UFC paid her out and decided not to re-sign an independent contractor.  While her grievances may indicate issues with the UFC and how it handles its independent contractors, the issue as to whether or not UFC fighters are employees would be hard to prove for Smith.   Clearly, the UFC’s decision (which seems poor since they could have just paid her and decide at a later date to not re-sign her) to let her go may be due to her outspoken views on fighter rights but the legal connection would be hard to prove.

Smith could sue seeking a declaratory judgment which would not grant her money damages but a court ruling clarifying UFC athlete’s status.  But, then again, the question is whether she has standing to sue.  Since she is now a former UFC fighter, she would be requesting a court to seek the status of a group of contractors she no longer belongs to and that would not work.  There is also the possibility that she sues under theory of a constructive dismissal in which due to work conditions, she was terminated although she was not actually fired.   But, based on the facts of the situation (she was paid and not re-signed), that is hard to prove.

These are only a couple theories out there, but with a GoFundMe, a lawsuit is in the near future.

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