After penning article on his health, Hunt taken off of UFC Fight Night 121 card

October 11, 2017

The UFC has pulled Mark Hunt from his main event match against Marcin Tybura in Australia for UFC Fight Night 121 this November citing medical concerns.  The concerns were made known after Hunt penned an article entitled, “If I die fighting, that’s fine.”

Fabricio Werdun will get the quick turnaround and fill-in for Hunt against Tybura.

The UFC pulled Hunt based on the article, in Player’s Voice (an offshoot of the U.S. version of The Player’s Tribune) as it stated that Hunt suffered from short-term memory loss and acknowledges that he is slurring his words.  In the article, he advocates for the expansion of the Ali Act to MMA and advises his children to do something aside from MMA.  In the article, he cites the “drug cheats” he faced in the sport including Brock Lesnar.

The UFC issued a statement to an Australian news outlet explaining its decision (via MMA Junkie):

“Following a recent first-person article published by UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt, UFC has taken the precautionary steps of removing Hunt from a previously announced bout in Sydney, Australia,” a statement first issued to News.com.au read. “The health-related statements made by Hunt in the article represent the first time UFC was made aware of these claims. Athlete health and safety is of the utmost importance to the organization and it would never knowingly schedule an athlete complaining of health issues for a fight. The organization will require that Hunt undergo further testing and evaluations prior to competing in any future UFC bout.”

Hunt is not pleased with this outcome and took to Instagram to blast Dana White and threated to sue.  The case is currently pending.

As we know, Hunt has sued the UFC, Dana White and Brock Lesnar.

Payout Perspective:

This is a sticky situation for the UFC as Hunt publicly notes that he is fine with dying in the ring and lists some serious physical injuries which may likely be long-term health issues.  This could lead to potential liability especially if the UFC allows Hunt to continue the fight despite his statements that he is suffering from short-term memory loss from what he believes is related to fighting.  Also, the UFC is engaged in a lawsuit with Hunt and now Hunt is claiming that he may sue for taking him off the card.  Frankly, the UFC may be in a situation where it may feel like it will have to sever ties with Hunt because it cannot allow him to continue to fight.  Perhaps the UFC and Hunt come together to have a physician examine him to determine whether he can continue to fight.  But, I would suggest that the UFC takes a conservative approach to allow him to fight (maybe a Daniel Bryan-WWE situation if you follow that).  This will be an interesting issue to keep track of moving forward.

Showtime requests class actions suits over Mayweather-McGregor move to New York

October 4, 2017

Law360 reports that Showtime Networks is asking that lawsuits stemming from poor streaming feeds for the Mayweather-McGregor fight be heard in New York.

Currently, there are 8 lawsuits across the nation in which plaintiffs claim that they paid to watch the Mayweather-McGregor fight but could not or received poor video streams.  The first was filed in federal court in Oregon.  Since then, there have been lawsuits in California and New York.

Showtime claimed that the venue for the lawsuits should be in federal court in New York despite the fact that the UFC, a Nevada company, is named in the lawsuits.  The network notes that one of the defendants, the UFC’s digital partner NeuLion, is based out of Long Island, New York.  Also, Showtime and co-defendant Showtime Digital, Inc. are based out of New York.

The argument to consolidate in New York is that it would prevent inconsistent rulings and cut down on the number of plaintiffs’ counsel taking part.  In the alternative, the case should be transferred to Nevada where the fight took place, where the UFC is based and where the fight took place.

Payout Perspective:

The request by Showtime is normal in multidistrict litigation as the parties are trying to consolidate on costs and prevent inconsistent rulings.  It also helps plan litigation strategy and determine which cases have merit and which do not.  Without knowing the merits of each of the cases, it would be surprising if Showtime, the UFC and the other defendants do not file a motion to dismiss based on prior rulings which include the recent Mayweather-Pacquiao lawsuits which were dismissed by a court in August.

Young Bucks receive cease and desist over hand gesture

October 4, 2017

Pro wrestling tag team, the Young Bucks (real life brothers Matt and Nick Jackson) are big stars on the independent wrestling scene.  Recently, World Wrestling Entertainment sent the team a cease and desist letter for using hand gestures and phrases made popular by WWE characters during their performances.

The “Kliq” hand gesture was used in the mid-1999 by WWE performers Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman and Triple H.  It was later used in the 2000s by wrestling group the New World Order in World Championship Wrestling.

Too Sweet

Hook’em Horns

The Young Bucks have used the hand gesture on the independent scene and in Japan along with their stable of wrestlers.

The WWE sent a cease and desist letter to the wrestlers requesting that they stop using the hand gesture in addition to another gesture as well as catchphrases or else be sued by the company.

Notably, the WWE attempted to trademark the “Kliq” hand gesture with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in March 2015.  However, it received an Office Action that the hand gesture was likely to be confused with a trademark owned by The Board of Regents of the University of Texas System.  That trademark, registered in May 2014, is described as “the representation of a human hand with the index and small fingers extended upward and the thumb closed over the middle and ring fingers.”  It is commonly referred to as the “Hook’em Horns” symbol.  Gene Simmons of famed rock band Kiss attempted to trademark a similar hand gesture earlier this year as it is commonly known as a “rock on” symbol.  But, he later abandoned the application likely due to the fact that it would not survive a challenge from the University of Texas.

Instead of challenging the WWE, the Young Bucks decided to let the hand gesture go.  Instead, their new merchandise is based on the cease and desist.

IP protection of hand gestures in pro wrestling is not new.  Former pro-wrestler Diamond Dallas Page sued rapper Jay-Z over a copyrighted hand gesture which symbolized a diamond.  Jay-Z used the hand gesture to signify his record label.  Page noted he had copyrighted the symbol in 1995.  In fact, a records search reveals that he did.

Trademarks and copyrights differ as we previously discussed in this post.

In essence, the reason for the WWE’s cease and desist relates to the commercial use of the mark.  Protection of one’s intellectual property is important despite many who believe that the move was done to harass the Young Bucks.  Certainly, harassment is an incidental benefit for the WWE, and the Young Bucks, as well as some wrestlers associated with them recently mocked the company prior to a live show last week.  The old saying about messing with the bull and getting the horns finally came around to the bucks as the WWE flexed its legal muscle.

Not only did the WWE come down on the “Too Sweet” hand gesture but it also is preventing them from the “Suck It” callout and gesture as well.

For those wondering, its hard to argue the issue of “Fair Use” as the Bucks could claim parody.  For those that follow this, the 2 Live Crew case which used the Roy Orbison song, “Oh, Pretty Woman,” was retooled by the Miami-based rap group.  The U.S. Supreme Court deemed that the song was a commercial parody of the Orbison song and considered Fair Use.  We talk about “Fair Use” here.

But, the monetization of their use of the phrases and gestures would prove to be a hard factor to overcome.  Moreover, one of the factors, effect upon a work’s value, would be impacted.  The market is affected as the use of the material by the Bucks could be construed as a substitute for the original Kliq which may negatively impact the commercial use of the original Kliq.

 

 

Top Rank and Plaintiffs in Antitrust Lawsuit Resolve Discovery Dispute

October 2, 2017

Top Rank and the Plaintiffs in the UFC Antitrust Lawsuit have resolved their discovery dispute regarding a motion to compel production of documents and for the attendance of the deposition of Bob Arum.

A notice of resolution was filed late last week.  The agreement between the parties avoids a motion to compel brought by Plaintiffs in the Zuffa Antitrust lawsuit seeking financial information and the deposition of company head Bob Arum.

Resolution Re Top Rank Motion to Compel by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Originally, the motion was to be heard in early September but was continued until later in the month, but the parties came to an agreement.

Top Rank argued that a subpoena for the production of documents from the company was not relevant to the Zuffa lawsuit.  It also argued that the Plaintiffs failed to show a “substantial need” for Top Rank’s information. It also stated that the Plaintiffs’ document request were overly burdensome.

Top Rank Oppo to Motion to Compel by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Plaintiffs argued that they were entitled to the discovery as it is relevant to their lawsuit against Zuffa, there is a substantial need for the documents and believe the discovery is not overly burdensome.

Reply to Opposition to Top Rank MTC by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Top Rank noted in its opposition that it “cannot have it both ways.”  It argued that in its lawsuit it claimed that the “relevant market” was limited to the sport of MMA and noted that it was different from boxing.  Yet, it was requesting “ten years’ worth of revenue, profit, loss and payment information.”  Yet, Top Rank claimed that However the Plaintiffs lawsuit against them, claimed that it had differentiated itself from pro boxing and thus its financial information was not relevant to the instant lawsuit.

Top Rank argues that the document requests are intrusive and it is a way for Plaintiffs’ experts to “compare financial data from Top Rank’s promotion of boxing events to Zuffa’s promotion of MMA events and create “benchmark percentages of revenues.”  Moreover, it claims that Plaintiffs do not explain why they are unable to obtain this information from other sources.  Top Rank’s opposition brief claims it has told Plaintiffs where it might obtain public data about the company.

Top Rank lists some of the requests in its brief:

REQUEST NO. 1: Your Company’s Income Statements, including event-level profit and loss statements for the Relevant Time Period [defined to be from January 1, 2005 to present], including without limitation All Documents, including depositions, declarations, affidavits, or other statements under oath, You produced in any lawsuits or arbitrations, or to any governing athletic commission or sanctioning body, relating to TOP RANK’s accounting of its revenues, expenses, and profits.

• REQUEST NO. 2: Data in as granular form as it is maintained (itemized ledger entries, if they exist) sufficient to show all bout-related revenues and expenses (including for championship bouts, bouts where victory leads to championship, and all other Professional Boxing Events), payments made to individual Professional Boxers (including purses, bonuses, pay-per view, and any other event and non-event related payments), and non-bout related revenues and expenses.

• REQUEST NO. 3: To the extent not included in Your response to Request Nos. 1 and 2 above, documents sufficient to substantiate Bob Arum’s statement that TOP RANK pays 80% of event revenue to the Professional Boxers who participate in bouts promoted by TOP RANK….

• REQUEST NO. 4: A Representative Sample of All Agreements between TOP RANK and any Boxers, relating to participation in a Professional Boxing Fight or Professional Boxing Event, and any Documents and Communications relating to the negotiation, termination, cancellation or transfer thereof. Responsive Documents include, without limitation, executed Agreements, draft Agreements, side letters, all negotiations between TOP RANK and any Boxer, including any Professional Boxer,
or their agents, managers, promoters, or other representatives (regardless of whether such negotiations resulted in an executed Agreement), copies of any form agreements; and all Documents relating to the effects any such actual or potential Agreements between TOP RANK and any Athlete, including any professional Boxer, had on TOP RANK’s revenues, valuation, or ability to operate profitably as a Boxing Promoter.

Zuffa Plaintiffs claim that the information is vital for their case and that the UFC denied the differences between boxing and MMA in its answer to the lawsuit with the inference that they were interchangeable.  Notably, in its Reply brief it claimed that the business of promoting fights is the same for all combat sports.

Payout Perspective:

Plaintiffs Reply Brief includes quotes from Lou DiBella and Dana White’s deposition but most of the citations are redacted.  The order which spells out what Top Rank and the Plaintiffs had agreed upon is heavily redacted so we specifically do not know what the parties agreed to provide and whether or if the deposition of Bob Arum will take place.  It could be that Top Rank agreed to provide a portion of documents so long as Arum is not deposed and/or someone else within the company is deposed.

Court denies World of Boxing’s post-trial motion for new trial in Wilder case

September 27, 2017

The trial court in New York has denied the World of Boxing’s Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law or in the alternative, a New Trial.  It held that the jury did its job in evaluating the evidence and the credibility of witnesses and based on it was able to produce the jury verdict.

The case arose out of a failed fight between heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and Alexander Povetkin.  MMA Payout has been the only source that has covered this legal case extensively.  You can find some of the background here.

Order by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

You may recall, the sole issue at trial was whether Povetkin ingested Meldonium post January 1, 2016.  When the trial took place in February of this year, the jury did not take long to determine that Povetkin had ingested the drug which was prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency on January 1, 2016.  Attorneys for World of Boxing (Povetkin’s promoters) and Povetkin filed a Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law, or in the alternative a new trial.  Additionally, in June, the attorneys for WOB claimed a new study may give cause for the Court to open the case back up to litigation and/or set up a new trial.

via Wikimedia Commons

via Wikimedia Commons

Judge Andrew Carter of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York determined that World of Boxing’s efforts amounted to an attempt to re-litigate the case.  Judge Carter indicated that the jury made the verdict based on the evidence presented and there was no miscarriage of justice or conclusion not based on evidence.  He opined that WOB was asking to take as truth the testimony of their experts only in coming to a jury verdict.  The Court also determined that the jury based its decision on their impressions of Alexander Povetkin as he was able to testify at trial.  Bluntly, the Court stated in its opinion that the jury flat out did not believe his testimony. Moreover, the new study that was produced by WOB attorneys in June was available online on February 6, 2016, which was the first day of trial.  Yet, it was not brought up at trial.

Payout Perspective:

The Court ruling comes over 8 months after the jury verdict.  The case may not die yet as WOB still has an opportunity to appeal to the 2nd Circuit.  If it does not, the issues of court costs and fees arise.  Also, there is the case of what happens to the money that has/had been in escrow which is one of the forgotten issues here.  In reviewing the case, it appears that the first issue with the handling of the case was the agreement to limit the case to just one issue regarding the use of Meldonium.  The carrot of having a shorter discovery schedule and a trial date sooner than later was likely a reason why the parties decided.  However, as we saw, the case involved issues related to the late production of discovery and experts.

The litigation was marred by contentious behavior as the order included a sentence about the parties’ behavior stating, “The Court takes exception to the behavior of both parties throughout the pendency of this litigation.  The parties are once again ordered to proceed with civility and in conformance with the Court’s local rules.”

MMA Payout will have more on this as it comes down.

 

 

Nevada Court denies Zuffa’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment dismissing Nathan Quarry…for now

September 26, 2017

Judge Richard Boulware has denied Zuffa’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment to dismiss plaintiff Nathan Quarry from the lawsuit.  However, the Court has indicated that Zuffa may refile at the close of discovery.

In a minute order issued on Tuesday, the Nevada Court determined that the motion for summary judgment to dismiss one of the plaintiffs in the Zuffa antitrust lawsuit was premature.

“The arguments raised in these motions would be more properly considered with the full set of motions that will be filed at the close of discovery,” stated the minute order issued by the Court in denying the motion at this time.  “IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Motions for Partial Summary Judgment are DENIED without prejudice to being refiled at the close of discovery.”

In this context, without prejudice is legal terminology which indicates that a party’s rights are not precluded from refiling.

Oral arguments were heard on September 21st for a little over an hour.  Zuffa claimed that due to antitrust statute of limitations, Quarry’s alleged claims of injury were barred by his promotional agreement.  The former UFC fighter argued that his claims still exist as the UFC still use Quarry through the selling of merchandise on its web site and showing his fights on UFC’s Fight Pass.

Payout Perspective:

It appears that Judge Boulware would like to see all of the facts that may come out in fact discovery prior to hearing the dispositive motion set forth.  It’s also clear that he anticipates Zuffa to file a motion for summary judgment on all of the plaitniffs.  At this point, he believes that the motion was premature.  In my opinion, dismissing a plaintiff on summary judgment prior to the close of discovery is rare considering the information that may surface during the fact-finding process.  It’s not clear if there will be any further opinion released past this minute order.  MMA Payout will keep you updated.

Washington state court moves Hume/OneFC discovery dispute to Vegas

September 25, 2017

A federal district court in Washington state has decided to grant the plaintiffs motion to transfer the discovery dispute it has with Matt Hume and OneFC to Las Vegas.  The magistrate handling the Zuffa lawsuit discovery issues will determine the outcome of plaintiffs’ motion to compel Hume’s deposition and documents from OneFC.

Similar to a federal court in LA transferring Bellator’s dispute with the plaintiffs and the UFC in a discovery dispute earlier this year, the federal court judge determined that the complexity of the case and the familiarity with the subject matter were defining reasons why the case should be transferred to Nevada.  Hume, who resides in Washington state, filed a motion to quash a subpoena and objected to document requests by the plaintiffs in the UFC lawsuit.

In addition to being the trainer for Demetrious Johnson, he is an officer within OneFC.  The plaintiffs in the antitrust lawsuit filed against Zuffa had requested documents from OneFC and Hume’s deposition as it relates to their litigation.  Hume had provided a written declaration in which he stated that “One Championship is not a minor league or feeder league for the UFC” and it “competes with Zuffa to sign professional MMA fighters.”

Plaintiffs wanted documents supporting Hume’s statement and also to depose him.  Hume’s Washington state attorneys objected to the deposition and document requests citing that it was an attempt to make an end around from requesting documents from the Singapore-based company.  It also argued that Hume did not have access to the documents requested.  In response, plaintiffs filed a motion to compel and requested attorney fees in excess of $21,000 dollars.

Payout Perspective:

Once again, a federal court decides not to intervene in a nonparty discovery dispute despite the fact that one of the residents in its jurisdiction is seeking relief.  While I understand the court’s reasons to punt the motion to Nevada, it appears that this type of hand off is oppressive for the non-party resident.  However, unlike the Bellator case, Hume did avail himself to the lawsuit by submitting a declaration.  It is within the right of the plaintiffs to seek Hume out for his deposition as well as documents related to the statements.  With the case moving to Nevada, we shall see how the magistrate determines the dispute.

Report indicates McGregor willing to testify in support of Ali Act expansion

September 22, 2017

According to a report from Reuters, Conor McGregor may address the U.S. Congress in support of the expansion of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform (aka “Ali Act”) to combat sports.  Congressman Markwayne Mullin, the Oklahoma legislator that is sponsoring the bill told the news outlet.

The Republican congressman indicated that McGregor’s team wanted to come to Capitol Hill to talk about the Ali Act.  There is no date certain for McGregor to speak before Congress nor is there another date for the Ali Act Expansion.

However, supporters of the Ali Act has racked up supporters with 49 congressman, both Republican and Democrat, signing on in support of the bill.

Payout Perspective:

McGregor’s support and possible testimony would lend some positive public relations in support of the legislation.  McGregor, who has indicated that he would like to both box and compete in MMA, could testify about his experiences in both sports and would be able to convey the differences in each since he was in the ring against Floyd Mayweather in August.  McGregor’s experience is different from MMA fighters since he would have been subject to the current Ali Act when boxing but not covered by the Ali Act when competing in MMA.  Will it turn the tide for the bill?  It would provide some more momentum to move this along through the house.

Appeal to 9th Circuit for plaintiffs that felt duped from Pac-May fight

September 20, 2017

Late last month, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California dismissed the class action lawsuit by plaintiffs claiming that they were duped by the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather fight in May 2015 due to the fact Pacquiao did not disclose a previous shoulder injury.

Despite the order dismissing the case, the plaintiffs have filed an appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  But first, let’s look at the facts and the district court opinion.

Order Dismissing Pacquiao-Mayweather Boxing Match PPV Litigation by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

As we know, Manny Pacquiao faced Floyd Mayweather at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Mayweather won via unanimous decision.  After the fight, Pacquiao indicated that he had an injury.  However, the facts would suggest that this was never disclosed prior to the fight.  In fact, on his pre-fight questionnaire, he did not indicate an issue with his shoulder.

Many believed that the injured shoulder was a factor in the outcome of the fight.  Those that paid for the fight on PPV ($100), bought a seat at the venue or watched on closed circuit or in a movie theatre were angered that they did not see the best Pacquiao and/or the injury was not disclosed.  Obviously, something like this has a trickle-down impact to the consumer but also to those that placed money on the fight.

Lawsuits were filed as a result and were subsequently consolidated to this court.  Plaintiffs allege that “Defendants were motivated by huge profits” to continue with the fight despite the alleged injury.  They claim that they affirmatively concealed the injury in promotion of the fight.

Attorneys for Pacquiao, Mayweather, Top Rank, Mayweather Promotions, and its related entitites filed a Motion to Dismiss the lawsuits.  On August 25th, the district court agreed with the defendants that this lawsuit should be dismissed.

The opinion emphasized that the legal system is not the proper place for unhappy fans to vent their anger over a result of a sporting event.  The court made a determination as to whether to determine the complaints per a “license approach “to assess the rights of fans that purchase a ticket to a sporting event.  Under this approach, purchasers are entitled to “nothing more than a revocable license” regardless of what transpires at the event.  However, the court noted that this specific issue was a novel occurrence and it had to determine whether it should apply this standard.

The court did cite to a ticketholder/PPV purchaser case from 2000 where Mike Tyson was sued after a fight between Tyson and Evander Holyfield.  You may recall that this was the bout where Tyson infamously bit Holyfield’s ear.  Plaintiffs in that case claimed that Tyson’s plan was to get disqualified if he could not win and this was a “premediated plan” to end the fight.  In that case, the plaintiffs’ lawsuit was dismissed and the appeal upheld the dismissal rationalizing that fans got what they paid for.

In addition to the “license approach,” the opinion discusses a set of cases which do not use the theory.  Instead, this line of cases have had plaintiffs assert their legal rights when sports teams allegedly lie to promote ticket sales.  Two lawsuits involve professional teams that were moving but did not tell their fan base and one case in which a team stated it was financially able to finish a hockey season but folded 13 games into the season.

So, the court determined which of these approaches it should take.  Either the “License approach” cases which resulted in no legally cognizable injury or the lawsuits against sports teams which reflects a legally cognizable injury.

The court found the “License approach” was the correct application since the alleged omissions and misrepresentations were based on athletic competition (i.e, concealing Pacquiao’s injury).

From the opinion:

The Court holds that a misrepresentation or omission implicates the core of athletic competition, and therefore does not constitute a cognizable injury to a legally protected interest under the license approach, if it is related to: (A) competitive strategy, or (B) the quality or outcome of competitive performance.

It’s also noteworthy that the court argues public policy as to why it ruled against the Plaintiffs here:

Thus, allowing sports fans to sue over the vicissitudes of competitive sports could destroy the
very thing that makes sports fandom so special. A holding in favor of Plaintiffs in this case could be construed to require near total transparency in sports, whereby any inflated, unreliable, or cryptic prevent statements would beget lawsuits. Gone would be the days of headstrong athletes declaring their complete readiness to destroy their opponents. Athletes would never again publicly predict that they will prevail, or even conclude that an event will be exciting. Sports teams and athletes might even be required to disclose the weak spots in their game plans or preparations before every event for all to see (including their opponents).

The judicial opinion is highlighted by a cite to a Joe Rogan podcast related to the uncertainty of sports.  The court commented that the “unpredictability and uncertainty” of competitive sports is important to it.  The point is that the unexpected nature of sport is inherent in sport and expected by fans.

Payout Perspective:

At first read, you wonder why Plaintiffs have decided to appeal this case to the 9th Circuit.  There’s a lot of money that goes into an appeal and the success rate seems in doubt.  However, if you read the opinion closely, you can tell that the district court is making up their own law as they go.  Perhaps that’s a little strong, but they are definitely applying a legal standard they feel is right for this circumstance.  While the “license approach” has been used to decide cases in disgruntled fan lawsuits in the past, there is no real precedent setting case (as the court notes in the opinion).  Thus there’s a line of cases which could be helpful to Plaintiffs but is not applied.  Moreover, the public policy as argued by the Court gives us the old “slippery slope” argument which I personally take offense.  Even if you think that this is ridiculous to follower, there is a telling piece of law here that may be more important than whether someone gets their $100 back.

 

Mighty Mouse doesn’t know if he’ll be paid for being ready to fight at UFC 215

September 12, 2017

In an interview with MMA Fighting on Monday, Demetrious Johnson stated that he did not know whether or not he’d be paid as a result of Ray Borg having to pull out last minute.  While the fight by reset soon, there is the issue of whether Johnson is compensated for being ready.

Johnson recently retained First Round Management to handle his business dealings which include negotiating with the UFC.  In the interview, Johnson said that First Round Management (the agency owned by Malki Kawa) was working with the UFC in terms of compensation.  The UFC indicated to Johnson that they don’t usually pay athletes with they can get the rebooked quickly.

MMA Junkie notes that “the UFC is not contractually obligated to pay fighters whose opponents are unable to compete, the promotion often pays out show money when last-minute issues cancel a fight.”

You might recall that Tony Ferguson was not paid $250,000 show money when his fight with Khabib Nurmogomenov fell through due to Khabib’s needing to be hospitalized.  Ferguson was offered a replacement fight but was not going to be compensated the same.

Payout Perspective:

It’s clear that the standard UFC bout agreements do not address issues if one of the fighters has to pull out during fight week.  The fact that the UFC sometimes pays fighters, and sometimes it doesn’t, but nothing is specifically written shows its leverage in the contract.  One would have hoped that Johnson’s management would have guaranteed his pay entering into the fight in the case that his opponent could not fight.  They could have taken the Tony Ferguson incident as a lesson.  Appears they did not.

Johnson is a champion and this is a disservice to him and shows the utter disrespect he has been talking about.  Of course, he may be partly to blame here since his representation didn’t get written confirmation of payment.  Even if the fight were to be given a quick turnaround date, there are expenses Johnson (as an independent contractor) incurred in the lead-up to this fight.  What happens if the next date, Borg injures himself and has to pull out again.  Are you going to hope for another quick turnaround?  Bear in mind, Johnson is a world champion and not a guy opening an event on Fight Pass.

Next Page »