Cyborg cited for misdemeanor after Magana confrontation

May 23, 2017

MMA Junkie reports that Cristiane Justino has been cited by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police for misdemeanor battery as a result of confrontation with Angela Magana on Sunday.

Both fighters were in attendance at the UFC fighter summit.  Magana indicated that she wanted to press charges.  The information was from an incident report from Junkie reporting.  The Clark County District Attorney’s Office will be sent the report and determine whether to prosecute Justino.

Per Junkie, a charge of misdemeanor assault carries a potential penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Payout Perspective:

We will see if the DA decides to prosecute this case.  It seems like a very small incident that is not worth the time of the attorney’s office.  Despite the fact that Magana wants to “press charges,” that’s not how it works.  Of course, if she wants to file a civil suit for battery she could.  She could also sue the UFC and the JW Marriott for not providing a safe environment and premises liability.  Don’t know if that happens but you can follow the lawsuit that boxer Dominic Brezeale filed against the Wilder brothers and the Mariott.

Court delays hearing on outstanding fact discovery issues in UFC Antitrust case

May 18, 2017

A hearing that was set for Thursday to discuss outstanding issues in the UFC Antitrust case has been continued until June 1st.

The hearing was requested to determine outstanding discovery issues.  The fact discovery deadline was May 1, 2017.  However, Plaintiffs argued that the UFC had not turned over certain documents that would facilitate the depositions of Dana White and others.  It also indicated that it had yet to receive non-party information from outside parties.   The UFC claimed that Plaintiffs were reopening fact discovery.  It did concede to a 30 day continuation of fact discovery.

A portion of the Order from Pacer reads:

IT IS ORDERED that the [52] Ex Parte Motion to Continue Hearing is GRANTED, and the hearing currently scheduled for May 18, 2017, at 1:45 p.m. is VACATED and CONTINUED.

Motion Hearing set for 6/1/2017, at 9:30 AM in LV Courtroom 3B before Magistrate Judge Peggy A. Leen.

Payout Perspective:

It looks like the Court would like the parties to “meet and confer” on their outstanding issues themselves and come up with a plan.  The deposition of Dana White is notable as Plaintiffs are seeking text messages from several phones in possession of White.  While the UFC claims to have turned over these records, Plaintiffs have stated that there are more texts not produced.  It does look like that we are in a holding pattern until there is some resolution of discovery issues.

Bisping in court battle with former manager/gym

May 18, 2017

Michael Bisping is embroiled in a lawsuit in the UK with his old gym, Wolfslair.  A trial is ongoing in which his former gym and managers claim the welterweight champion owes them 270,000 pounds (or approximately $350,000).

The UK’s Daily Mail reported that Anthony McGann, owner of the Wolfslair Gym and Bisping’s former manager claims the fighter owes them for management fees dating back 10 years.  Bisping denies the claim and states he never signed a renewed contract with McGann in 2012.

Bisping signed a deal with McGann and the Wolfslair MMA Gym in 2005 but severed ties with them in 2012 claiming they were “violent people.”  He moved to the U.S. to train and found new management. McGann is seeking management fees from the years he was aligned with the gym.

In Court, Bisping denied signing a contract that was presented to him during testimony.  He claimed that it was his signature but the document was not the same.

The contract stated that McGann would receive a 20% commission from the representation of Bisping.

At the time of this writing, a decision has yet to be rendered.

Payout Perspective:

This is another example of why there is a need for an Ali Act in MMA.  I am not familiar with the laws in the UK, but it’s clear that either Bisping did not know what he was signing and that McGann may have taken advantage of him.  20% is a pretty steep commission, if the contract dictated that is what he had to pay.  On the other hand, you have cases like Ronda Rousey and former manager Darin Harvey.  Harvey may have had good intentions, at some point, and advanced costs to Rousey, and never received payment back.  We will see how this plays out.  If it is truly $350,000 in fees I don’t see why Bisping does not attempt to settle the case unless it’s a principal of the matter issue.   Sorry $350,000 so settlement may be out of question.

Motion to Dismiss Hunt lawsuit delayed

May 16, 2017

On Monday, a Minute Order was issued by the Federal Court in Nevada handling the Mark Hunt lawsuit against Dana White, Brock Lesnar and the UFC.  Due to a conflict a hearing on dismissing the lawsuit filed by Mark Hunt was reset to Monday, May 22, 2017 at 2pm.

Hunt filed the lawsuit in January alleging RICO violations, breach of contract, fraud and other allegations from his fight against Lesnar at UFC 200.  The UFC and White filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint.  Lesnar joined the motion and filed one of his own.  Hunt’s attorneys opposed the motions to dismiss.

The “Minute Order” is an official order from the Court but a court reporter may not be present.  Oftentimes, it is a response to a party’s request.  But in this case, it merely is resetting the date of the motion one week.

In the meantime, Lesnar’s attorneys have filed their Reply in Support of its Motion to Dismiss:

Reply Motion by Lesnar by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Zuffa responds to Plaintiffs’ letter to the Court

May 10, 2017

Zuffa has responded to Plaintiffs’ letter to the Court requesting a status conference on outstanding discovery issues.  In its letter to the Court, they clarify issues asserted for the Plaintiffs and indicate that they are willing to extend the fact discovery deadline until June 15, 2017 but no new fact discovery requests.

The fact discovery deadline was May 1, 2017.  This would have been the last date in which Plaintiffs would have been able to obtain documents from Zuffa as well as non-parties (e.g. Bellator).  Notably, a Motion to Compel documents from Zinkin Entertainment is set for June 23, 2017, well past the deadline.

The Zuffa letter states that it has turned over 6,800 texts from two cellular phones used by Dana White.  Plaintiffs claimed that White had four phone numbers and likely four phones.

Zuffa asserts that it is willing to extend the fact discovery deadline but not 60 days, nor open it up to new discovery.  They contend, citing the letter Plaintiffs sent to Bjorn Rebney, that Plaintiffs have performed extensive discovery.

Zuffa's Response to Ps Statement by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

The status conference is set for May 18, 2017.

Payout Perspective:

Using your own words against you hurts and this is what Zuffa attempts to do with the letter Plaintiffs sent to Bjorn Rebney in order for him to “cease and desist” from going forward with MMAAA.  The letter writing fight should be settled on May 18th and likely both sides will not be happy.  But, Zuffa’s letter advises the Court that Plaintiffs had ample time to obtain discovery while still seeming reasonable in proposing an extended date for discovery.

Second securities lawsuit filed against Alliance MMA

May 9, 2017

A second securities lawsuit has been filed against Alliance MMA for claims that it misled investors.  The new lawsuit filed May 3rd is in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and seeks class action status.

The lawsuit arises out of an amendment made by the company which trades on the NASDAQ.  In an 8-K filing made by the company last month, it stated that financial statements previously made for the nine months ended September 30, 2016 included in the Company’s Form 10-Q, three months ending June 30, 2016 and six months ending June 30, 2016 could no longer be relied upon because of an error in recognizing as compensation transfers of common stock by an affiliate of the Company to “individuals who were at the time of transfer, or subsequently became, officers, directors or consultants of the Company.”

The Complaint filed by plaintiff David Shulman states that Alliance MMA completed its IPO that consisted public sale of 2,222,308 shares of the Company’s common stock at $4.50 per share.  According to a Declaration from the Plaintiff filed with the Complaint, he purchased 100 shares of Alliance MMA on October 16, 2016 for $3.99 per share.

As of this writing on Tuesday, May 9, 2017, the stock is trading around $1.53 per share.

A Second Alliance MMA Lawsuit by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Certification of Plaintiff in Second Alliance MMA Lawsuit by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

The lawsuit is similar to the one filed in New Jersey last month.  One might expect a similar response from Alliance MMA in that it has retained a law firm to defend itself against these allegations.  With an issue like this, it is expected that Plaintiff attorneys smell blood in the water and search for investors that may have been harmed from the misstatements made by the Company.  MMA Payout will continue to follow the situation.

Plaintiffs in UFC Antitrust lawsuit seek status conference to decide outstanding issues

May 7, 2017

Attorneys representing the Plaintiffs in the UFC antitrust lawsuit have requested a status conference with the federal magistrate to discuss outstanding issues that may impact the prosecution of its class action lawsuit.  The letter with the Court was filed on Friday, May 5th.

The Plaintiffs list several issues as to request a hearing with the Federal Magistrate, the judge that decides discovery issues.

Statement to Court by Plaintiffs by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Among the outstanding issues Plaintiffs would like to discuss include:

  • Plaintiffs’ Emergence Motion for Extension of Discovery Deadline and Case Management Schedule;
  • Plaintiffs’ Motion to Challenge Work Product Designation;
  • Non-Party Bellator’s Motion to Quash or Modify Subpoenas;
  • Third Party AXS TV LLC’s Motion to Quash Deposition Subpoenas of Mark Cuban (Plaintiffs’ response is due on May 8, 2017 according to the letter and similar to the Bellator issue, would like to move them to the District of Nevada.

As of the date of the letter, the Court has not ruled on any of the above motions.  Also, it has yet to hear the Motion for Summary Judgment of Plaintiff Nate Quarry.

Plaintiffs claim that these issues coupled with issues of preservation regarding obtaining text messages from Dana White’s four separate telephone numbers (and likely the same number of phones) as well as other documents not produced for key Zuffa witnesses have blocked the prosecution of the case.

Payout Perspective:

The need for all the information possible prior to a deposition is because Plaintiffs know they get one shot at deposing the witness and if they do not have the documents prior to the deposition they will not be prepared to ask questions related to the documents that may relate to their case.  In addition, Plaintiffs’ dilemma with non-parties is having the possibility of needing to litigate those matters as well.  Zuffa will likely respond to the letter and the Court will need to make a decision on whether to hold a hearing, decide the above issues or go forward with the current court deadlines.

Promoters look to curb Facebook and Periscope piracy for Canelo-Chavez fight

May 4, 2017

The Los Angeles Times reports that promoters are seeking to enforce anti-piracy efforts from this Saturday’s pay-per-view between Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.

Believing that PPV numbers have decreased due to piracy, Golden Boy Promotions and HBO are combating pirates.  HBO has hired an anti-piracy company and are looking at live streaming products such as Facebook and Periscope which are burgeoning tools for piracy.

Notably, the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather fight was subject to issues involving piracy.  This included people taking out their cell phones and live streaming the event from the fight.  Or, purchasing the pay-per-view or finding a pirated site and then streaming the television PPV from their phone.

Anti-Piracy companies have notified Facebook and Periscope about the issue and promoters are confident that they can curb the efforts to watch the $59.99 PPV for free.  There are also calls for distributors to take more of an active role in stopping pirated PPVs.

Payout Perspective:

Perhaps piracy is not a reason for depressed boxing PPV numbers.  There has not been a boxing PPV to reach over 1 million buys since Manny-Floyd.  Most of the boxing PPVs have yielded well below 300,000 buys since Manny-Floyd.  In fact, Canelo-Miguel Cotto was the last big PPV when it drew 900,000 buys in November 2015.  Promoters hope to curb piracy but it is harder with new live streaming tools like Facebook Live and Periscope.

It would not be out of the realm of possibility that down the road promoters, rights fees holders and those with intellectual property interests might look to legal action for contributory infringement and/or vicarious liability.  But, that might be hard to prove yet the threat of action may cause others to be more active.

Could this possibly a First Amendment issue?  Maybe.  A free plug for myself as next month a law review article I authored about the live streaming of sports will be in the Marquette Sports Law Review.

Zuffa, White and Lesnar seek to stay discovery in Hunt lawsuit pending Motion to Dismiss

April 27, 2017

Zuffa and Dana White have filed a motion to stay discovery in the Mark Hunt case pending the company’s Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit which will be heard on May 15, 2017 in Nevada.  According to the court filings, Brock Lesnar is likely to join the motion.

Joining the motion essentially places the party in the same place as the entity that filed the motion.  Thus, Zuffa and Lesnar (the law firm of Campbell & Williams represents Zuffa and Howard Jacobs represents Lesnar) would seek to stay the discovery sought by Hunt.

Hunt filed this lawsuit in Nevada federal court in early January claiming that Zuffa and Dana White violated the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering, Fraud, False Pretenses, Breach of Contract, Breach of Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, Negligence and Unjust Enrichment.  The premise of the Complaint is that the UFC allowed Lesnar to fight at UFC 200 while providing the WWE wrestler with an exemption from the UFC’s anti-doping policy.  Lesnar tested positive for a banned substance in both an out-of-competition and in-competition drug test.  Lesnar had been tested by USADA on several occasions prior to the positive tests.

The current motion argues that the defendants (Zuffa, White and Lesnar) should not have to expend money to conduct discovery until the Court decides the merits of their Motion to Dismiss.  Essentially, why spend money on starting discovery if the lawsuit will be dismissed.  In a conference between the parties, the defendants asserted a request to stay discovery but the plaintiffs opposed a stipulated stay.  Hence, the motion.

Motion to Stay Discovery by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

Similar to the UFC antitrust lawsuit, the company is seeking to stay discovery pending the Court decision.  This makes sense from the defendant’s standpoint.  See if you can save some litigation expense if you can.  From Hunt’s perspective, you need to be as aggressive as you can in starting the process of obtaining discovery.  Thus, you force the Court’s hand to make a decision here.  Hunt wants to obtain discovery because it might obtain information that might aid its claims.  In the alternative, it might obtain information which might need to amend its lawsuit.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

Alliance MMA retains law firm to defend itself against investor lawsuit

April 21, 2017

Alliance MMA has announced that it has retained the law firm of King & Spalding to defend the company against a lawsuit filed against it on Monday.  The announcement was made via company press release.

Via Alliance MMA press release:

NEW YORK, NY – April 21, 2017Alliance MMA, Inc. (“Alliance MMA” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: AMMA), a professional mixed martial arts (MMA) company, announced today that a shareholder has filed a lawsuit against the Company and two of its current officers in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, under the caption Shapiro v. Alliance MMA, Inc., No. 1:17-cv-2583 (D.N.J.). The lawsuit alleges violations of the federal securities laws and purports to seek damages on behalf of a class of all shareholders who purchased the Company’s common stock pursuant or traceable to the Company’s initial public offering. The Company believes that the lawsuit is without merit and intends to vigorously defend against it.  “Securities claims like this are often pursued by opportunistic lawyers when there is a drop in stock price,” stated CEO Paul K. Danner, III.  “The law firm of King & Spalding LLP has been engaged to help us fight back, and we plan to file a motion to dismiss this lawsuit.”

 Danner provided a comment to MMA Payout on the lawsuit earlier this week.

Below is a copy of the lawsuit.

Alliance MMA lawsuit by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

Rarely do we get the legal strategy of a party but it’s clear that Alliance MMA believes there is no merit in this lawsuit and will seek a dismissal.  The company believes that attorneys are driving the lawsuit.  There are law firms out there that do seek out companies where there is a drop in stock price or issues in financial reporting.  Notably, Alliance MMA traded at a 52 week low earlier this week after the lawsuit was announced.  The lawsuit occurred after an 8-K was issued prior to its annual 10-K report.  MMA Payout will keep you updated.

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