February 27, 2014
Zuffa and lawyers for the Attorney General of New York have filed an amended discovery plan which looks to depose certain individuals as it relates to Zuffa’s lawsuit against New York. In addition, Lohud.com reports on the latest happenings with the future of professional MMA in New York.
Notably, the Lohud.com article reports on three major bills which addresses the regulation of MMA in the state.
One bill would allow professional bouts in the state. Another bill would lift the ban only if an injury fund for fighters is set up and another would put a moratorium of two years on all MMA matches.
The article quotes a representative from the National Organization of Women stating that it would continue to oppose the legalization of professional MMA in the state. Women groups have expressed concern over the messaging and violence of the sport. Examples of their concern include recent statements by Dana White where he used the word “pussification” and actions by UFC fighter at the time Thiago Silva which included alleged violence toward his estranged wife.
And, of course, labor unions were mentioned as an obstacle for Zuffa in the state.
Of the three proposed bills that will be introduced this spring is one that would put a halt to MMA in the state (including amateur bouts) until a study on the health impacts of MMA will be performed. I would assume that this would come out of a part of the state budget. The other bill allowing MMA in the state with conditions has promoters coming up with a “compensation fund for injured fighters.” It would also create a presumption that “any neurological later discovered in a fighter were caused by their participation in MMA.” (via Lohud.com).
There are inherent problems with the two bills that would presumably allow MMA in the state with certain conditions.
As we’ve written year after year, hope springs eternal for professional MMA in Albany. This time around we are presented with some interesting proposals which we will track. Obviously, there is only one of the three bills listed that Zuffa would be interested in supporting. From the public relations perspective, the Thiago Silva situation is bad PR for the UFC but realistically, like all sports leagues (e.g. Raymond Felton), it’s hard to avoid. Moreover, the UFC was quick to act in dismissing Silva. But, it supports anti-MMA advocates as recent examples of its position. White’s comments reflect the good and bad of having a promoter speak from the hip. He is going to say what he means without a filter but that is not always good for business. We can only surmise that White did not think that his comments could be seen as derogatory towards women, otherwise he would not have said it. But, that’s the problem.
Regarding the lawsuit, the discovery phase will be complete by April 25, 2014. At this point, New York has identified three individuals that it will depose. Zuffa has identified “persons most knowledgeable” at the AG of the State of New York, the New York State Liquor Authority, the New York State Athletic Commission and the New York State Department of State as well as Melvina Lathan. She is a former boxing judge and chairperson to the NY State Athletic Commission. Here is a 2010 article on her from the NY Times in which she wanted the state to legalize MMA.
MMA Payout will continue to keep you posted of the lawsuit as well as the political maneuvering in Albany.
February 19, 2014
The Beaverton, Oregon based sports gear maker Nike filed a lawsuit against MMA sportswear brand Venum last month alleging trademark infringement and other violations of trademark law. The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Oregon claims that Venum’s mark infringes a previously filed Nike-owned trademark, Venom.
Nike sued DBV Distribution, Inc. and Dragon Bleu, Sarl (“Dragon Bleu”), the owner of Venum, in early January stemming from the MMA brand’s use of the “Venum” trademark. The Complaint claims that Nike has owned the “Venom” trademark since 2002. The mark, according to the Beaverton, Oregon company, has been used in connection with athletic apparel and equipment since at least 2002. It has depictions of the purported infringement included in the Complaint including a bat, bat bag and apparel which is associated with Kobe Bryant shirts, shorts and warm-ups. It also includes “Venom” women’s sportswear.
Nike claims that the “unlawful activity” stemmed from Venum selling athletic apparel and equipment on its Venum web site and also http://www.dragonbleu.fr. Nike alleges that Venum “intentionally attempt to draw associations.” One of its arguments is that Venum offered Nike boxing shoes on its Dragon Bleu web site.
The lawsuit filed in Oregon District Court also brings up that the U.S. Trademark Office initially refused registration of the “Venum” mark due to the “Venom” trademark. Dragon Bleu argued that there is no “likelihood of confusion.” At the time, the “Venom” mark was in connection with “ski and snowboard gear” whereas “Venum” related to MMA sportswear thus the assertion was there could be no confusion. To buttress its argument, it cited that other “Venom” marks were allowed which related to sporting goods but were readily distinguishable due to the fact that they were associated with different sports. The Trademark Office agreed and granted it the “Venum” mark.
The legal quarrels may have begun due to Dragon Bleu suing Nike in France in November 2013 seeking a preliminary injunction for an alleged infringement by the swoosh for a soccer boot it called, “Hypervenom.” This was brought up by Nike in its Complaint against Dragon Bleu. Nike claimed that in that lawsuit, Venum argued that the Venum mark and the “Hypervenom” mark were “practically identical and that consumers are likely to be confused by Nike’s use of Hypervenom.’” Nike asserts that its Hypervenum trademark and Venum trademark can “co-exist in Europe without any likelihood of confusion.”
Nike argues that Venum cannot have it both ways in opposing Nike’s Hypervenom soccer boot infringes its brand but then “argue their use of VENUM on apparel and equipment for mixed martial arts and related sports in the United States does not infringe Nike’s VENOM marks in the United States.”
Nike is requesting that the Court ordering the Cancellation of the Venum trademark and destruction of all infringing products.
Venum’s counsel filed its Answer to Nike’s Complaint on February 10, 2013. Notably, Venum admits that it sold authentic Nike products on its Dragon Bleu web site. Aside from this admission, the answer was standard.
As a sidenote, Venum’s counsel previously served as in-house at Adidas. No correlation or insinuation here, just an interesting tidbit.
(H/t: MMA Mania)
While it may be a viable assertion to believe that Nike’s lawsuit is a way to get Venum out of the UFC marketplace just in time for UFC uniforms, I would contend that this is not the reason.
As explained here, it’s likely that Nike would like to market its “Hypervenom” brand of soccer boot. With the World Cup happening this June, it would behoove Nike to market these shoes before, during and immediately after the event in Brazil. If it could broker a settlement with Venum for use of the “Hypervenom” mark in Europe, it’s likely that this lawsuit goes away.
The one big issue question that I had was why did Dragon Bleu sell Nike gear on its web site? If we assume it received this from a Nike supplier one would think Nike would eventually find this out. Knowing that Nike had a filed for the “Venom” mark prior to its filing, and had to respond to an office action regarding the “Venum” mark it should have been put on notice of possible issues. Of course, filing a lawsuit against Nike last November may have drawn Nike’s ire as well.
We shall see whether this lawsuit goes away as quickly as it came. MMA Payout will keep you posted.
February 12, 2014
The UFC announced that it had successfully taken and down and seized the records of a web site that illegally streamed two PPVs. Also, it has made good on its threat of pursuing individuals accessing these illegally streaming sites.
The UFC has seized the records of www.cagewatcher.eu and it appears that the UFC will use this information to go after its users.
Via UFC web site:
UFC has obtained details of the streaming site’s userbase, including email addresses, IP addresses, user names and information pertaining to individuals who watched pirated UFC events including UFC 169. Also recovered were chat transcripts from the website.
In related news, there has been one instance where Zuffa has successfully obtained a judgment against an individual utilizing www.greenfeedz.com, a web site that provides illegal streaming of copyrighted content. The individual did not respond to Zuffa’s lawsuit against him and a default judgment was entered in against him. The individual viewed two PPVs without paying his ISP – Time Warner. According to the legal order, he was assessed $6K in damages for copyright violations and $5,948 in attorney fees. The individual was discovered via his IP address at Time Warner. We had previously reported that the UFC had obtained Greenfeedz user information. and this may be the result.
It should be noted that the UFC did not prevail on the merits of its lawsuit against the Greenfeedz user. It prevailed due to the individual’s failure to respond to the lawsuit. Even though the individual has a judgment against him for over $11K, it will be up to Zuffa to decide whether or not to go after him for the money. Regardless, the new information that the UFC has obtained more records from another illegal web site may give pause for those that pirate PPVs. Certainly, individuals do not want to be sued and be subject to potential fines. Will this be a deterrent for pirates? So far, it has not stopped individuals but if the UFC continues to go after end users it may deter a portion of the existing base of people accessing illegal streaming. The issue with this strategy is would suing these people alienate the fan base. Of course, the easy UFC response is that the people not paying for UFC content are not really fans.
January 14, 2014
A District of Columbia Circuit Court ruled that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) could not prohibit internet providers from blocking or discriminating against traffic to lawful websites. The ruling which impacts “Open Internet” (aka net neutrality) may mean issues for the UFC Fight Pass and WWE Network in the future.
In Verizon v. Federal Communications Commission, the Court held that the FCC is not able to impose “anti-discrimination” and “anti-blocking” rules on Internet providers. The Court ruled that, “…even though the Commission has general authority to regulate…it may not impose a requirement that contravenes express statutory mandates. Given that the [Federal Communications] Commission has chosen to classify broadband providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers, the Communications Act expressly prohibits the Commission from nonetheless regulating them as such.”
CNET breaks down the ruling:
In plain English, the court rejected Verizon’s argument that the FCC had overstepped its authority to regulate broadband access, instead acknowledging that the FCC has general authority to impose regulations on broadband and wireless service providers. But because the services these providers offer are classified differently from traditional telecommunication services, the justices reasoned in their decision that they are not subject to the same statutes, which guide the agency in forming its regulatory policies.
The general theory of “Net Neutrality” regulation is to keep a public right of way to access certain services. As stated in the CNET article, for the internet, it means that the infrastructure used to deliver web pages, video and audio-streaming services is open to anyone accessing or delivering the content. It would thus be illegal for an ISP to block a competitor’s internet traffic simply because they are competitors. With the Court ruling, it would seem to imply that blocking competitors may be an option.
If you are a proponent of “net neutrality” what may happen as a result was recognized by the Court in its opinion:
“…broadband providers might prevent their end-user subscribers from accessing certain edge providers (those providing content (i.e. UFC and WWE)) altogether, or might degrade the quality of their end-user subscribers’ access to certain edge providers, either as a means of favoring their own competing content or services or to enable them to collect fees from certain edge providers.”
There was no immediate word whether there would be an appeal of this decision.
So what does this mean from a combat sports perspective? With the UFC Fight Pass and WWE Network relying heavily and essentially depending on internet streaming services in order for its services to be viable, we could see internet providers being able to regulate the bandwidth and streaming of these services. ISP providers may affect UFC and WWE subscribers as identified in the Court opinion. The UFC and WWE might have to “play ball” with these ISP providers in order to obtain the best access to the end-user.
With the ruling occurring today, it’s still too early to know what may happen but MMA Payout will keep you posted.
December 29, 2013
The Eddie Alvarez-Bellator legal saga came to an end this year with Alvarez settling with Bellator and making a triumphant appearance at Bellator 106. The legal case which Alvarez vowed would go to trial settled in time for Alvarez to face Michael Chandler on November 2nd.
As we know the story, Alvarez completed his fight contract with Bellator although the company had “matching rights” which would allow it to keep Alvarez so long as it matched any competing offers. Alvarez and Bellator had agreed that Bellator would get a chance to match the offer made by the UFC. In fact, court documents show that it had cut and paste the UFC contract almost verbatim. Still, Alvarez’s camp argued that the Bellator “match” did not match the UFC contract. Bellator sued Alvarez, Alvarez sued Bellator and Alvarez attempted to file a Preliminary Injunction to allow Alvarez the opportunity to bolt for the UFC. The court denied the PI. The court also denied a motion by Bellator to dismiss Alvarez’s lawsuit against it.
Alvarez proclaimed that he would go to trial to settle this dispute. Other fighters supported Alvarez and Alvarez talked about how Bellator mismanaged some of its fighters. For this, Bellator head, Bjorn Rebney had to go into damage control to explain some of the issues Alvarez had highlighted.
The case would not have gone to trial until late 2014 at the earliest.
Alvarez went on a PR march claiming the Bellator had attempted to alter a document regarding the matching terms of his contract. In fact, Alvarez produced the document (and the attempted “blacking out” of his address which you could still see) but it did not lend much to his theory.
Fortunately, Alvarez agreed to terms with Bellator which, in the end, likely saved Bellator 106. Alvarez did not speak about the terms of his return to Bellator and his return was marked by this odd interview with Alvarez by Glenn Robinson’s daughter.
The lawsuit likely served as a guide for contractual dealings with Ben Askren. The Welterweight champ was let go by Bellator even though the organization had matching rights in its contract with Askren. Despite the fact Bellator let its champ go, it was less of a public relations issue than if it became mired in another lawsuit.
The court documents revealed the UFC contract and its PPV buy structure. While these terms may have been released in the past, it was still interesting to look at the UFC’s structure in how fighters are paid based on PPV buys. It also showed some of the added benefits Bellator was willing to give Alvarez if he stayed which included guests spots on Spike TV programming. But, the key issue was the PPV upside that Alvarez would receive if he joined the UFC. Earlier this year, Bellator had not put on a PPV although there were vague notions that it would put on a show. As we know, it eventually announced a PPV to be headlined by Rampage Jackson versus Tito Ortiz. We all know how that turned out.
There was also Dave Meltzer’s Declaration in support of Eddie Alvarez’s Preliminary Injunction. Meltzer indicated PPV buy rates in his declaration to support Alvarez’s initial argument that Bellator did not match the UFC’s contract. If the case would have proceeded and came closer to trial, Meltzer would have been deposed and/or testified at trial. Attorneys would be able to inquire about how he substantiated PPV buy rates including such information as where he gets his information and if there is a formula for his PPV analysis. Certainly, Meltzer could have claimed that he does not need to reveal his sources based upon his journalistic ethics. Yet, it would have created an interesting scenario. But, once again, the settlement saved this issue.
And, in the end, Meltzer was right about the “matching” thing.
The fact that Bellator cancelled its PPV after Ortiz’s injury shows that it did not believe Alvarez could headline a PPV (or it did not have enough time to market Alvarez as its top star). Regardless of the reasons for turning the PPV into a card on Spike TV, the cancellation of the PPV may have confirmed what Alvarez may have known throughout: that Bellator was not the same as the UFC.
December 24, 2013
Another year, another full-court press by Zuffa to hold an event in New York….another disappointment. The Southern District of New York ruled on New York’s Motion to Dismiss and found in favor of the state and dismissed all of Zuffa’s claims except for its claim that the existing statute banning professional MMA in the state is unconstitutionally vague.
The dismissal severed a huge chunk of Zuffa’s case against the state which was originally filed in November 2011. While Zuffa attempted to spin the news, the fact that it now has only one claim in its lawsuit has to be damaging for its possibility of success. To give a snapshot of the glacial pace of this litigation, New York filed its Motion to Dismiss Zuffa’s lawsuit in October 2012 and a hearing on the Motion was not heard until February 2013. And then, the ruling did not come out until September 30, 2013.
Notably, the Court dismissed Zuffa’s claim under the First Amendment citing that the central question in determining First Amendment protection was whether the activity was primarly communicative and expressive. The Court claimed that the fighters lacked the “essential communicative elements” for a claim under the First Amendment.
At this point, the parties have provided the Court with a “Scheduling Order” detailing deadlines for written discovery and depositions. New York has identified the named Plaintiffs as potential people to depose which includes Frankie Edgar and Jon Jones. It is intended that they will need to be deposed by March 7, 2014 according to a Court filing.
Where will the Court case go? After discovery, it’s likely that we see New York attempt to make a case to bring a summary judgment motion to dismiss Zuffa’s remaining claim. If Zuffa survives another motion to dismiss its case, we will likely see a trial sometime in 2014. Even if it is found that the MMA ban is unconstitutional, it’s likely the state of New York would have to draft legislation allowing professional MMA in the state and how it would be regulated.
The ongoing legal saga is just another chapter of Zuffa attempting to legalize MMA in New York. Despite its usual confidence at the beginning of the legislative session in Albany, there was no vote for MMA once again. The UFC had claimed to have secured Madison Square Garden in November for its 20th Anniversary show but the date came and went. Whether or not the Culinary Union of Las Vegas played a part, or whether a sexual discrimination claim played a part, Zuffa is spinning its wheels. In July, it was revealed that it had contributed $35,000 to New York Legislators since the start of the year. Notably, it spent $330K on federal lobbying efforts this year. This is down from $620K on lobbying efforts in 2012.
While most MMA fans believe that the UFC will be in New York one day, the company continues to strike out when trying to make inroads into the state. We will see what can be done this spring in Albany and what movement happens with the court case
December 17, 2013
With the announcement of Vitaly Klitschko vacating the World Boxing Council’s heavyweight championship belt to focus on his homeland, it leaves open the issue of another boxer’s future Bermane Stiverne.
Stiverne, a heavyweight contender, has sued Don King and his promotional company under the Muhammad Ali Act contending violations of the Act by Don King Productions (“DKP”) and other associated entities. Specifically, Stiverne contends that he was forced to sign an exclusive promotional agreement with DKP in order to receive fights.
Last week, the Court in the Southern District of New York denied Stiverne’s request for a Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order. The requested relief asked that the Court enter an Order to request DKP among other defendants “not to interfere in any way, directly or indirectly, with the ability of plaintiff…to enter into any bout agreement with any other boxer, including for a heavyweight championship bout.” Stiverne is considered the number one contender for the WBC’s heavyweight championship belt. According to Court documents, Stiverne’s manager was working with the Klitschko management team to negotiate and sign a bout agreement. Stiverne’s concern was that King will intercede.
The Preliminary Injunction came as a result of alleged threats made by King that “he would do everything in his power to prevent Stiverne from getting any more boxing bouts whatsoever.”
In addition to Stiverne’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order, the Court further ordered that the parties are instructed to submit letters by Friday, December 20, 2013 updating the Court on the status after a mediation session before the WBC. The mediation session was to negotiate a fight contract between Stiverne and Klitschko. Since Klitschko has given up his title, there will be no meeting and the Court must now address what to do next in Stiverne’s lawsuit.
DKP has filed its Answer and Counterclaims to Stiverne’s lawsuit requesting declaratory relief from the Court to invoke the purported promotional contract between Stiverne and DKP. In addition, DKP claims Stiverne has breached its contract and tortuously interfered with DKP’s rights under the 2011 Promotional Agreement.
Reviewing Stiverne’s request for the Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order, it seemed like a longshot that the Court would grant his motion. With the announcement that Klitschko has given up his belt, it puts Stiverne’s career options up in the air. But, the lawsuit brings up the question of the bite of the Ali Act.
Stiverne must now address Counterclaims for breach of contract and tortious interference with a contract. These claims coincide with the promotional contract that Stiverne signed but the fighter claims was done under pressure. There are few lawsuits that have been brought under the Ali Act and even fewer where a fighter prevails (I actually count none) under the Act. So, while there are portions of the Act which allow for private rights of action, from a practical standpoint, most boxers are not in the position to pay lawyers to litigate these claims. Even then, in situations like this where a promotional contract is disputed, there is the threat of a countersuit from the promoter for breach of contract. Thus, the fighter is put in a situation where he could find himself defending a lawsuit.
While the purpose of the Ali Act has good intentions, one must wonder if it should be amended to allow for better ways to resolve disputes short of costly litigation.
October 7, 2013
According to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court in Delaware , Bankrupt video game maker THQ is suing Zuffa and Electronic Arts, Inc. (EA) stating that EA had informed Zuffa of THQ’s shaky finances as EA and Zuffa worked together to so that EA could acquire the license to UFC video games. The Complaint was filed last Friday.
The issue goes back to 2006 when EA expressed interest in acquiring the UFC video game franchise from Zuffa. However, court documents stated that, “EA made what Zuffa considered to be an insultingly low offer for the UFC video game rights and was rejected.”
In 2009, THQ developed “UFC 2009 Undisputed” and it was a success selling over 3.5 million units. Despite the success two years prior, THQ’s finances declined in 2011 and the company determined that it would be unable to support its projects including the next games in the UFC franchise.
In 2011, THQ and EA discussed a potential sale of THQ as a whole to EA. According to court documents, “THQ provided EA internal financial information including detailed sales and revenue figures for the UFC Franchise, and projected marketing expenditures on the next UFC Franchise game.” Despite initial interests, EA broke off negotiations with THQ in December
2013 2011 citing disinterest.
Two weeks later, Zuffa criticized THQ about its expenditures and threatened to terminate its relationship with THQ based on its insolvency. There had been no prior evidence of dissatisfaction with THQ.
THQ entered into a $10 million settlement with Zuffa in exchange for the termination of its license and all intellectual property rights to the UFC game brand in 2012. However, THQ now claims that this was a fraudulent transfer as it believes that EA had contacted Zuffa and conveyed the internal financial information it was provided by THQ during the potential sale of THQ. THQ claims that it was “hamstrung” in negotiations with Zuffa due to its knowledge of THQ’s finances and the actual value of the UFC video game franchise was $20 million.
UPDATE 10/08/13: Some more info from the Complaint
EA Sports MMA was released in June 2009. You may recall that it featured the Strikeforce plus Randy Couture. This included Fedor, Nick Diaz, Jacare Souza and others. It also featured Bas Rutten as a trainer in the game. A hidden game feature was discovered where a player could create their own MMA fighter and could enable a player to create UFC fighters with the same tattoos, shorts, hairstyles, etc. Zuffa discovered this issue in late November 2010 and notified EA of its objection to the use of UFC licensed fighters. In March 2011, EA agreed to patch the game feature so that you could no longer recreate UFC fighters in the EA Sports MMA game.
Paragraph 19 indicates that after a “December 12, 2013 high-level meeting” negotiations between THQ and EA broke off. Obviously, the Complaint likely meant December 12, 2011 as Zuffa sent the demand letter to THQ on December 30, 2011.
The basic claim here is that THQ is claiming that when it had entered into negotiations to sell itself to EA due to financial troubles, it revealed confidential financials to EA as EA was doing its due diligence before the potential acquisition. Once acquisition talks failed THQ claims EA took what it had known about THQ finances and sent it to Zuffa. As many recall, EA had developed EA Sports MMA which did not do well because it did not have recognizable UFC names in its game. Thus, THQ argues there was reason why EA wanted Zuffa to terminate its relationship with THQ.
EA is set to unveil a new UFC game, “EA Sports UFC” this spring.
The Bankruptcy laws are a little complex and THQ is asking the Bankruptcy trustee to undo the authorized settlement to Zuffa as it was not market value. It also argues that EA tortuously interfered with its UFC contract by divulging confidential information to Zuffa.
MMA Payout will keep you up to date with this situation as it progresses.
October 5, 2013
Earlier this week, Judge Kimba Wood of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a 44 page opinion dismissing 6 of the 7 claims brought by Zuffa in its lawsuit against the state regarding its legislation banning professional MMA. Zuffa’s claim that the MMA regulation is unconstitutionally vague is the only claim that survived the Motion to Dismiss.
The Motion to Dismiss was filed in October of 2012 and heard in February of this year. Notably the Motion to Dismiss is based on Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12 (b)(6) which allows a court to grant a party the right to dismiss claims if there is “a failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” In order to survive a 12(b)(6) motion, the claims “must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
In this case, the Court found only Zuffa’s claim that the NY ban is unconstitutionally vague survived.
We note that the Court dismissed Zuffa’s First Amendment claim as the Court sided with New York. The Court held that the central question in determining First Amendment protection was whether the activity is primarily communicative and expressive. The Court held that MMA “lacks such essential communicative elements.” In a Footnote to the Opinion, the Court stated, “The fighters’ pre-fight and post-fight antics do not change the Court’s conclusion that the core conduct at issue – live MMA combat between professionals – does not qualify for First Amendment protection.” The Court concluded that it is MMA, not the surrounding fanfare that must convey the particularized message.
The sole claim standing after the Court’s ruling was its cause of action that the professional MMA ban in New York was unconstitutionally vague. The Court held that this claim could go forward. One of the interesting reasons was due to oral arguments of this motion in which New York’s attorney indicated that the law in question could feasibly see an exempt organization (as defined in the law) regulate pro MMA events in the state. It also did not agree with New York’s argument that the legislative history trumped the statutory language. In light of the varying interpretations of the statutory language, the Court found that Zuffa has adequately alleged its claim for vagueness.
The UFC sent out a press release stating that it was pleased with the Court ruling. It’s an interesting spin on the Court dismissing most of your case. While Zuffa left open the possibility of appealing the Court ruling related to its First Amendment claim, it would wait and see what happens to the vagueness claim.
At this point, the parties begin the discovery phase (written questions, request for production of documents, depositions) with the intent that this case move to trial. With no trial date set, this process could drag on. Furthermore, there’s nothing which would preclude New York in attempting to move for summary judgment after discovery which would again attempt to dismiss Zuffa’s claim before trial. We could also see the Court stepping in to force the parties to mediation.
Even if this case is tried and the Court strikes down the law and Zuffa wins, it still would mean that it would have to go to Albany to get professional MMA regulated within the state. Without a new law in place, New York would go unregulated. In its press release, the UFC had called for a “new law on MMA” in New York. Thus, all roads still go through Albany.
We will see what happens from here. As always, MMA Payout will keep you posted.
October 2, 2013
According to the New York Post, Judge Kimba Wood has dismissed Zuffa’s claim that the New York law banning MMA violates the First Amendment. Judge Wood did leave Zuffa’s claim that the New York law could be unconstitutionally vague.
MMA Payout will have more on this later today.