November 14, 2014
Xtreme Fighting Championships (XFC) announced that it intends to file a lawsuit against the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) as a result of Kalindra Faria’s scheduled fight on Saturday’s WSOF card. The XFC stated in a press release that it intends to file the suit in the U.S. District Court in Tampa, Florida.
Via XFC press release:
XFC has an exclusive contract with Ms. Faria which XFC provided to WSOF.
Notwithstanding the clear terms of Ms. Faria’s exclusive contract with XFC, WSOF has made it clear it intends to proceed with Ms. Faria’s bout planned for this weekend.
There is no question that XFC has a valid contract with Ms. Faria and that her fighting in a WSOF match this weekend violates XFC’s rights under that contract.
As a consequence of WSOF’s actions, XFC is filing suit against WSOF today in the United States District Court in Tamoa (sic). XFC is seeking to enforce its rights to the fullest extent of the law.
Faria is scheduled to face Jessica Aguilar on Saturday’s WSOF card. Ray Sefo told MMA Junkie that Faria would fight. Faria’s management claims that the women’s strawweight does not have a current contract with the XFC.
A quick search of Pacer does not reveal the lawsuit although that does not mean it has not been filed and served on the WSOF. Realistically, it appears that it is too late for the XFC to seek a temporary injunction which would prevent Faria from fighting at WSOF 15 tomorrow. Thus, if Faria goes through with the fight, we will see how XFC proceeds with the litigation and what types of damages that it might claim. MMA Payout will keep you posted.
November 7, 2014
Boxer Mikey Garcia has agreed to dismiss three of his causes of action against promoter Top Rank. The stipulation to dismiss his claims avoids a summary judgment motion brought by his promoter in a dispute over his fight contract.
Garcia’s attorneys and Top Rank attorneys stipulated to dismissal of 3 claims that were at issue in Top Rank’s motion filed last month. The dismissed claims related to issues that Garcia alleged were in violation of California law. The case of removed (i.e., transferred) out of state court and sent to federal court in Nevada.
Garcia still has a claim under the Muhammad Ali Act pending.
We shall see if this concession on the part of Garcia’s lawyers leads to an eventual settlement between the parties. Certainly, the stipulation prevents a loss by Garcia’s counsel and the possibility of Garcia having to pay for Top Rank’s lawyer fees for the motion if it prevails in the case. Not a lot of boxers succeed when suing under the Ali Act and we will see if Garcia intends to follow through with this lawsuit.
October 31, 2014
ESPN reports that the UFC, to no surprise, supports the expansion of legalized sports betting in the United States. UFC exec Lawrence Epstein was quoted as saying that legalized sports betting “will enhance the game as opposed to doing anything to hurt it.”
Epstein also stated to ESPN about the proposed new law allowing sports betting in New Jersey, “[t]o the extent that there’s nothing illegal about taking bets on the UFC in the state of New Jersey, we’d be absolutely fine with it.” The comments come on the heels of similar support from first year NBA commissioner Adam Silver who believes that sports betting legalization in the U.S. is “inevitable.”
Major sports leagues including the NBA have sued the state of New Jersey and have obtained a temporary restraining order preventing the state’s racetrack, Monmouth Park, from accepting bets on its games. Of note, U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp wrote in his ruling that the restraining order was not limited to the sport leagues involved in the suit. Thus, it could prevent taking bets on MMA even though no promotion is currently involved in the litigation.
The lawsuit by the leagues argues that the law passed by Governor Christie, the 2014 Sports Wagering Act, violates the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PAPSA). PAPSA bans state-sponsored sports betting on all sports except jai alai, pari-mutuel horse and dog racing except in four states: Oregon, Nevada, Montana and Delaware. These four states have pre-existing gaming laws.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed legislation that partially repealed the state’s sports betting ban. Based on this, the state would allow sports betting at casinos and racetracks, which are licensed by the state. Monmouth Park would have taken bets this Sunday if not for the temporary injunction filed by the sports leagues.
At this point, the sports leagues (NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL) have filed their reply briefs in New Jersey on the matter and now Judge Shipp will decide on whether oral argument is necessary. The TRO ends November 21st.
For those wondering, this issue is just the latest episode of a long fight for legalized sports betting in New Jersey. A similar case was denied a U.S. Supreme Court hearing last term. In arguing that PAPSA violated states’ rights, New Jersey stated that the law was unconstitutional because it fully exempts Nevada and partially exempts Oregon, Montana and Delaware from the ban. New Jersey had lost an appeal to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to a rehearing on the case and attempted to take its case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
As a result of the denial, in August 2014, New Jersey passed the aforementioned partial repeal on the prohibition against sports wagering as a “work around.” But, this is where we get the lawsuit from the sports leagues.
While the NBA may one day support legalized gambling, the issue here is the state law in New Jersey. One would think that if a federal law is passed, the sports leagues would comply.
It’s clear that the UFC, with its heritage (and some sponsors) based in the gambling industry, would support legalized sports betting in the U.S. Certainly, the UFC might have concerns with regulation but overall it would seem like broader availability to gamble on the UFC would garner more interest in its product. Obviously, the UFC is willing considering it seamlessly offers betting lines during its events and programming. The new litigation in New Jersey will be interesting to follow as the underlying issue here is that the law seems to be a way to boost revenue for the state. Its not clear if the UFC will get involved at this point, but it will certainly be following it closely.
October 27, 2014
A lawsuit filed last week in the U.S. District Court of Oregon by former professional wrestler William Albert Haynes III (aka “Billy Jack” Haynes) citing class action status related to “head injuries occurring in former and current WWE wrestlers” per the lawsuit.
Haynes wrestled in the WWE for only two years from 1986-1988. Perhaps his most notable match was at Wrestlemania III. Most of Haynes’ career was spent in the Pacific Northwest.
The lawsuit spells out the dangers of the professional wrestling business amplified by embedded photos in its lawsuit as well as YouTube links. Essentially, WWE allowed its wrestlers to perform dangerous stunts, some of which include taking shots to the head causing head injuries. The claim made by Haynes’ lawyers is that these head injuries cause traumatic brain injuries (i.e., concussions) and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (“CTE”).
A section of the lawsuit includes: “WWE is a Fake Sport with Real Consequences to Its Wrestlers.” It also cites the numerous matches which include the use of chairs, chains, ladders and tables. It also details different wrestling moves which involve potential trauma to the head including the “Brain Buster,” “Bulldog,” and “Facebreaker.” They also bring up the case of a 13 year old that killed his 5 year old sister while performing a move he saw from the WWE.
The lawsuit accuses the WWE of not protecting its wrestlers from brain damage. Essentially, Haynes and his attorneys accuse the WWE of doing little, if anything, to protect its wrestlers. It also claims to denying or concealing injuries of its wrestlers.
The claims in the lawsuit include:
-Fraudulent Concealment and Failure to Disclose or Warn
-Declaratory and Injunctive Relief
-Medical Monitoring –this claim requests that the WWE establish a trust to pay for medical monitoring of all wrestlers as frequent as medically necessary and would pay to develop and research other methods to reduce risks
-Strict Liability for Abnormally Dangerous Activities
In addition to the requests under “Medical Monitoring,” it is requesting that the court grant it class action status and designating the attorneys as Class counsel. It also is seeking actual, compensatory and punitive damages as well as attorney fees.
In response to the lawsuit, the WWE’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications provided a brief statement: “Billy Jack Haynes performed for WWE from 1986-1988. His filed lawsuit alleges that WWE concealed medical information and evidence on concussions during that time, which is impossible since the condition now called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) had not been discovered. WWE was well ahead of sports organizations in implementing concussion management procedures and policies as a precautionary measure as the science and research on this issue immerged. Current WWE procedures include ImPACT testing for brain function, annual educational seminars and the strict prohibition of deliberate and direct shots to the head.” (H/t : wrestling-online.com)
I grew up watching Haynes wrestle in the Pacific Northwest mainly in a Portland, Oregon based promotion. He had a very brief stint with the WWE. This is a lawsuit that shall be interesting to follow and see whether or not the court grants Haynes class action status. For those wondering, the essential elements a court determines when deciding whether or not a lawsuit may receive class action certification are:
-Commonality: One or more legal or factual claims common to the entire class.
-Adequacy: The parties in the class must adequately protect the interests of the class.
-Numerosity: The class must be large enough that individual lawsuits would be impractical.
-Typicality: The claims or defenses must be typical of the plaintiffs.
The four elements commonly are remembered (mainly by bar exam takers) as CANT. It will be interesting to see whether or not the law firm can attain enough members willing to be a part of this lawsuit. Certainly there are enough wrestlers out there that could establish a sufficient amount of plaintiffs. However, how many are willing to come forward? On his own, Haynes may not have a strong case considering he only spent two years with the company and much of his time wrestling was on the regional circuit where he could have been subjected to similar risks and injuries. Thus, his case may not be as strong as someone who may have spent 20 years with the company.
This will be an interesting case that the UFC should take note of for future consideration. While the ways that the participants attainhead trauma are different, there are still issues related to MMA fighter safety and blows to the head that might be a part of future legal claims.
October 20, 2014
This past Friday, attorneys for Top Rank Boxing filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings in U.S. District Court in Nevada seeking to dismiss a bulk of boxer Mikey Garcia’s lawsuit.
Garcia’s lawsuit was originally filed in Riverside County (CA) Superior Court. Top Rank lawyer’s removed the case to Federal Court in Nevada via a procedural rule allowing such transfers based on the lawsuit dealing with federal legal issues (i.e., Muhammad Ali Act). Garcia alleged that his promotional contract with Top Rank violated California law and the state’s strong public policy to protect California-based boxers from being taken advantage of by promoters and managers. In the lawsuit, 3 of California’s claims relate to violations of California law. Garcia claims that the promotional contract with Top Rank violated California’s Boxing Act and Professional Boxing Rules and California Labor Code section 2855. He also claimed it was a violation of California’s restraint on competition.
Top Rank has moved for the court to make a judgment to dismiss Garcia’s claims based on the boxer’s claims under state law in California. Essentially, Top Rank argues that Garcia entered into contracts with the promotion that state that the contract was governed by the state of Nevada. Thus, any claims Garcia makes that violate California law should be dismissed since the contract is based on Nevada law.
Basically, Top Rank argues that despite the fact that Garcia is a resident of California and has had events where he fought in California; the contract dispute should be governed by the state of Nevada. As such, Garcia’s legal claims related to violations of California law should be dismissed.
Top Rank argues several reasons why Nevada law should prevail under the terms of the contract. Namely, the terms of the contract dictate it, Garcia fought in Nevada and his manager does business in Nevada. Also, Nevada law would not contradict California law. It also cited the fact that prior boxing contracts with choice of law provisions are typically enforced by boxing commissions and courts. Notably, it cited Robert Guerrero’s lawsuit against Golden Boy Promotions in which Guerrero lost his legal battle allowing the parties to settle their case in New York per the terms of the contract. Guerrero argued that Top Rank did not use the appropriate CSAC forms and the case should be heard in California.
The motion to dismiss a portion of Garcia’s lawsuit was not surprising. The legal strategy here was that Top Rank transferred the lawsuit to federal court and out of California where the state laws would seemingly favor the boxer. Once the case was in Nevada, it sought to dismiss the California-specific claims. Certainly, prior cases reflect the fact that Top Rank had the right, based on the contract, to seek out the appropriate governing law. Whether or not the Court will grant the motion this time is another issue.
MMA Payout will keep you posted.
October 18, 2014
Yahoo! Sports reports that Floyd Mayweather has been sued in Clark County, Nevada by Hasim Rahman, Jr. and Sharif Rahman. The Rahman brothers are suing Mayweather for battery, tortious assault, false imprisonment, negligent hiring, training supervision and retention and unjust enrichment based on an episode of Showtime’s “All Access” series.
The Rahman brothers are sons of the former heavyweight champion, Hasim Rahman.
The series, which was promoting Mayweather’s rematch against Marcos Maidana, featured the Rahman brothers sparring British boxer Donovan Cameron at Mayweather’s gym in Las Vegas. The episode featured a 31 minute round between Cameron and one of the Rahman brothers. During the episode, a timer was shown by the camera to document the time that had passed. Yet, Mayweather claimed there were “numerous breaks” during the 31 minutes when questioned about the incident during his testimony before the Nevada Athletic Commission on September 23rd.
Mayweather referred to his gym as the “dog house” where there were fights to the death. At the time, I thought it was a widely politically incorrect statement considering Mike Vick’s past indiscretions with dog fighting. And, of course, dog fighting in general. The dog house connotation drums up images of arranged matches where the combatants fight until one can no longer go. Essentially, the brutal result of dog fighting.
This is an interesting lawsuit and since we are not Nevada lawyers we can only speak in general about the veracity of these claims. If you recall the episode, it did not appear that either one of the Rahman brothers were unwilling participants to do battle in the ring. Unless there were other things going on behind the scenes that the viewers were not privy too, I do not know about the success of this lawsuit. Of course, Showtime, which shot the footage (and also would know whether Mayweather’s associates smoked marijuana in another episode), would know about the details and we will see if the raw footage will be uncovered during this lawsuit.
October 9, 2014
ESPN reports that Cung Le is expected to appeal his one-year UFC suspension for testing positive for elevated levels of human grown hormone (hGH). The appeal provides a unique scenario in which a UFC fighter will appeal a drug suspension to the UFC acting in the capacity of regulatory authority.
Dana White confirmed that Le has a right to file an appeal which will be overseen by a third-party arbitrator. The arbitration will be through the American Arbitration Association which is standard for many contracts where there are arbitration clauses.
White states in the article that a WADA-certified lab was not used to collect the blood samples for the August 23rd fight card in Macau because the drug testing was decided upon that week. Le’s manager notes that there was a WADA-approved lab in Beijing, China but was not used. A Hong Kong contracted lab was utilized instead.
No date has been set for the arbitration.
A look at a standard UFC contract indicates that a fighter may appeal to a regulatory body and/or commission that oversee drug testing. However, we presume that the UFC was not named as an entity a fighter could appeal to as the ESPN piece initially indicated that Le’s appeal was “breaking news.” If Le’s contract with the UFC had language that he could appeal his drug suspension to whatever entity was regulating the drug tests, it would not really be breaking news. This poses the question of what the UFC should do in the future with more international cards on the horizon yet know concrete policy in place on how to address testing and the potential for appeals of the process.
Le’s appeal will be an interesting case considering the points raised by Le’s manager in response to the positive drug test. Initially thought as damage control, it appears that Le might have raised viable case against the test results. In the end, it points to a problem for the UFC.
October 3, 2014
Earlier this week, a Federal District Court in New York ruled that boxing promoter Don King liable was in breach of contract when his fighter failed a drug test for a boxing event to be held in Russia earlier this year. The parties will now argue about how much in monetary damages that the boxing promoters World of Boxing is entitled to as a result of the breach.
King’s Don King Promotions entered into an agreement which pitted King’s Guillermo Jones for a bout against Denis Lebedev on April 25, 2014. However, the day of the bout Jones tested positive for furosemide, an illegal performance-enhancing diuretic. The drug test disqualified Jones from competing and the fight was called off.
A month later, World of Boxing filed a lawsuit citing a breach of the fight agreement which articulated that Jones was “subjected to drug testing before and after the fight.” King denied the allegations of a breach of contract citing the fact he was only required to “do everything within his control…to cause Jones’s participation.” King argued that he could not prevent Jones from taken an illegal substance. However, while the court acknowledged the fact that King might have to personally supervise Jones to prevent his use of an illegal substance, the issue is whether King failed to perform under the contract (i.e., produce Jones for the contracted event), not whether he could be excused for nonperformance.
He also argued the legal defense of “impossibility.” Essentially, King argued that even if there was a breach, his performance should be excused due to a “supervening event” that was an “unanticipated” event. Here, King argues that he could not have known that his fighter would have used an illegal substance. However, the opinion notes that Jones had a history of using furosemide and the fact that the contract specifically required pre-bout drug testing.
King also filed two counterclaims which were summarily dismissed by the court.
The case was heard in the Southern District of New York which is the same venue in which the Zuffa-New York lawsuit is filed.
For you law school students that are heading back to school this year, this case is a very good one on the basics of a breach of contract and the legal defense of impossibility. The court clearly spells out that in its opinion, there was a clear breach of contract due to the fact that King’s boxer could not fight. Even though King argued that a breach should be excused, he did not satisfy the legal requirements (i.e., the breach was foreseeable due to Jones’ past use and the contract specified a drug test pre-fight). It will be interesting to see what damaged are assessed to King and whether there will be an appeal of the ruling.
September 29, 2014
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. In this edition, we review UFC 178 which took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena where Demetrious Johnson took on Chris Cariaso in the main event.
Johnson outclasses Cariaso
Despite the lack of fan support (i.e., PPV buys), Demetrious Johnson can legitimately stake a claim to being the best pound for pound fighter in the UFC. It was clear in the first minute that Johnson was the better fighter and ended Cariaso in the second round with a submission.
Johnson is getting prime placement on UFC shows and it’s the second PPV he’s headlined this year. One should also stress the fact that Johnson has not been hurt during his title reign and is not an outside-the-Octagon problem. So, why don’t people buy his PPVs?
Cowboy welcomes Eddie to UFC
The skeet shooting and wakeboarding training regimen pre-fight aside, Donald Cerrone is an extremely good fighter. In what was one of the more entertaining fights on the card, Cerrone defeated Eddie Alvarez. It was the long-awaited debut for the former Bellator champ and the first round he showed why the UFC wanted to acquire his services. Yet, Cerrone moves on looking for another fight before 2014 closes.
McGregor makes quick work of Poirier
You would have thought that this was the main event based on the crowd reactions. The hype, trash talk and vitriol between the two (especially during any face off promoting the fight) was classic in what to do to have people interested in purchasing your fights. The Conor McGregor experience continues and likely his most impressive fight on the biggest platform so far. McGregor easily handled Dustin Poirier in the first round. It’s clear that McGregor is ready for a title shot after Saturday night.
Attendance and Gate
The attendance and gate announced at the post-fight press conference was 10,544 for a gate of $2.2 million. Out of 9 PPVs this year, it ranked 7th in attendance.
The bonuses of $50K each were awarded to Yoel Romero-Tim Kennedy for Fight of the Night and Dominick Cruz and Conor McGregor for Performances of the Night.
Promotion of the Fight
The Embedded episodes continue to be popular as the UFC has found a formula to promote the fights digitally. For the most part, viewers got to see Cowboy Cerrone wakeboarding and skeet shooting prior to his fight with Eddie Alvarez, Conor McGregor get a haircut, Demetrious Johnson getting a shave and Dustin Poirier at the Whole Foods at Vegas. The one thing really missing from the embedded episode was a profile on Chris Cariaso. The Countdown show did have a profile on Cariaso but it seemed incomplete. Even if it was a foregone conclusion that he would likely lose (which happened), it would have been nice for them to have elevated his profile for this fight. It seems to get better reviews than the UFC Prime Time episodes because they are short and can be viewed whenever people want to see them.
Conor McGregor did a good amount of pre-fight press.
Mighty Mouse appeared on the local Fox affiliate in Seattle last week hyping UFC 178.
Salaries have been disclosed via MMA Junkie:
Demetrious Johnson: $183,000 (includes $54,000 win bonus)
def. Chris Cariaso: $24,000
Donald Cerrone: $126,000 (includes $63,000 win bonus)
def. Eddie Alvarez: $100,000
Conor McGregor: $150,000 (includes $75,000 win bonus)
def. Dustin Poirier: $34,000
Yoel Romero: $58,000 (includes $29,000 win bonus)
def. Tim Kennedy: $70,000
Cat Zingano: $18,000 (includes $9,000 win bonus)
def. Amanda Nunes: $15,000
Dominick Cruz: $100,000 (includes $50,000 win bonus)
def. Takeya Mizugaki: $32,000
Jorge Masvidal: $90,000 (includes $45,000 win bonus)
def. James Krause: $15,000
Stephen Thompson: $32,000 (includes $16,000 win bonus)
def. Patrick Cote: $33,000
Brian Ebersole: $42,000 (includes $21,000 win bonus)
def. John Howard: $21,000
Kevin Lee: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Jon Tuck: $10,000
Manny Gamburyan: $50,000 (includes $25,000 win bonus)
def. Cody Gibson: $10,000
Some interesting figures including Demetrious Johnson being paid like a champ (base of $129K). The last official report of his purse was at UFC on Fox 9 where he made a base of $125K (notice a bigger bonus for that Fox event). You might assume that June’s UFC 174 he made a base of $127K although those salaries were never officially reported. Eddie Alvarez was paid $100K (show) for his first UFC fight. You might recall when he was originally offered a UFC contract which precipitated the Bellator lawsuit, he was offered $70K for his first match in the UFC. Conor McGregor is already up to $75K base. Cat Zingano only made $9K/$9K which is only a $2K bump from her last fight in April 2013 against Miesha Tate.
The octagon sponsors included MusclePharm, MetroPCS, Alienware, Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, Fram, UltimatePoker.net, Assassin’s Creed’s latest game, Matefit.me and Bud Light in the center.
Missing from the octagon was long-time sponsor, Xyience, which was purchased by another company that quickly pulled the sponsorship with the UFC.
Yoel Romero was sponsored by likeaboss.com. I’m not sure what they do.
Cain Velasquez appeared in a promo for Harley Davidson Motorcycle’s “Hometown Throwdown.”
Mighty Mouse had his traditional sponsor of Xbox 360. The only sponsor for Johnson, his fight banner told folks to pre-order an Xbox One. I thought those were already available? If you were wondering, on his recent Wrestling Observer podcast, Dave Meltzer did not know how much Johnson is receiving from Microsoft.
Cariaso was sponsored by Mountek. Really.
Dominick Cruz was sponsored by the Phoenix International Raceway which stuck with him despite Cruz being on the shelf for a long time. It paid off as PIR had a prominent logo on Cruz as he was demolishing Takeya Mizugaki. He also wore the shirt in his post-fight interview.
Odds and ends
-Didn’t mention this earlier, but Cat Zingano-Amanda Nunes fight was the way to start a PPV. Zingano has been through a lot and it appears that she will be the next for Ronda Rousey.
-MMA Fighting has backstage footage of Tim Kennedy confronting Yoel Romero about the extra time he took to get up from his stool in between rounds.
-Interesting that the UFC are rolling out different types of Bruce Lee t-shirts. Hopefully some of the money that I suppose the estate is receiving from licensing his likeness is going toward this.
-Dominick Cruz won me over in just the 61 seconds of work. First, his Jay Z/Cypress Hill remix entrance, Then, the plain black CRUZ sweatshirt. Easily the best thing anyone has worn to the octagon in the history of this sport. Finally, his “Alpha-Fails” drop is probably one of the best post-fight lines in a while.
-UFC on Fox YouTube channel has the whole 61 second Cruz return fight.
-Some argument as to whether Cruz fight should have been on PPV. You can see it as perhaps a concession to boost FS1 ratings. In hindsight, all of the fights on the PPV were great and hard to see replacing one.
-The good news is that the clay pigeons that Cerrone shot during that Embedded episode were not real as they were made at the same place that Floyd Mayweather got his fake weed from All Access.
-Not surprising, but according to Google Trends, Dublin and Ireland were the most interested city and country for search term “UFC 178”.
This was to be Jones-Gus II. But after that was scrapped, it was Jones-Cormier. After the Jones-Cormier media day brawl in August, one could have made the argument that UFC 178 would be the second-biggest PPV event of the year after UFC 175. But with Jones getting injured, the need to adjust the lineup probably hurt the buy rate. Overall, this card was very solid with every PPV fight being an entertaining one. However, selling the Johnson-Cariaso was tough and you might infer that most of the pre-fight hype was for McGregor-Poirier. Although McGregor could be a breakout PPV star, he is not one yet.
While Google Trends saw an uptick in searches for UFC 178 from Ireland, it’s worth to note that the US was the 4th interested country for the event. In the end, a buy rate of 300,000-325,000 seems reasonable.
September 14, 2014
Zuffa has settled with PPV pirate Steven Mussina according to company press release sent out Saturday. Although terms of the settlement agreement were not disclosed, Mussina, who was accused of pirating at least 141 UFC PPVs, will comply with the wishes of Zuffa and provide information on how he circumvented the pay per view system.
Via UFC press release:
Steven Messina, through his attorney, Michael Heitmann, confessed to his illegal behavior and apologized for his actions that resulted in the illegal sharing of UFC content. As part of the settlement, Messina was penalized by the UFC for an undisclosed amount and forced to surrender his computer hardware and software to UFC representatives. Additionally, Messina will turn over all records and information pertaining to piracy of UFC content and information related to other potential infringers. He must also cooperate with the UFC organization and law enforcement authorities in an effort to prevent others from stealing intellectual property.
When asked about the settlement, Messina said, “I apologize to the UFC for any damages incurred as a result of my actions in illegally distributing copyrighted UFC broadcasts. As a result of my confession for piracy of UFC’s protected content, I fully accept the terms of the settlement with the UFC.”
Messina also states, “I now realize the harm caused by my actions. It is my hope that I can use this difficult period as a learning experience as I move on with my life. I would also like to tell anyone pirating UFC broadcasts, either through illegal downloading or non-authorized streaming, that it is illegal and not worth the risk.”
As part of the settlement, Messina will provide details of his procedures that led to the unauthorized distribution of an estimated 200 hours of UFC content and will offer his records to the UFC to further prevent illegal usage or sharing of the company’s broadcasts.
The settlement is the best possible outcome for the UFC. Let’s face it, while the initial claim that Zuffa was seeking $32 million from Messina seemed intimidating, it would have never happened. Messina did not have the money (and who does, unless you just beat Marcos Maidana for the second time). Even if you obtained a judgment against Messina, one can surmise he does not have any assets that would satisfy the damage Zuffa claims (even if it’s less than $32M). Here, Zuffa gets an on the record ‘crime doesn’t pay’ statement from Messina plus information on how he was able to obtain UFC PPVs without paying. This may provide some insight for Zuffa to see how it may better crack down on piracy.