January 9, 2017
Zachery Light is dismissing his lawsuit against Bellator. Light’s attorney filed a Request for Dismissal on December 20, 2016.
The Request was signed by Light’s attorney, William Crosby, and Bellator’s counsel Richard Kendall.
The dismissal is “with prejudice” which would end both Light’s lawsuit against Bellator and Bellator’s cross-claim against Light. The details can be found here and in the original lawsuit in which Light stated that the promotion disobeyed laws for forging medial information for fighters. Light claimed that Scott Coker and Rich Chou advised the former Bellator employee not to press the issue.
Bellator claimed that Light requested a loan from the company and was given $9,403 and entered into a written agreement with Light that made him pay back the money on an agreed schedule. Bellator claims that he never paid back the loan.
In all likelihood, the parties have decided to settle their dispute without incurring further litigation costs. Also, I would suppose a non-disclosure agreement was signed by Light which would preclude him from talking about the case. It would be interesting to know of the allegations regarding Bellator hiring Kogan while he still managed fighters. Of course, Light probably could not sustain paying his legal bills up against Bellator. From all indications, he is now working for MMAAA.
December 19, 2016
As 2016 comes to an end, we take a look back at some of the bigger legal and business issues in MMA this year. It’s clear we know the top 3 or 4 business stories but in the coming days we’ll walk you back through some other stories.
- Former Employee sues Bellator, company sues back
In May 2016, Zachery Light sued Bellator and parent company Viacom for wrongful termination. The lawsuit includes allegations of disobeying laws by forging medical information for fighters. He also claims that he was pressured by Scott Coker and Rich Chou not to press issues related to this. He also claimed that Mike Kogan was hired by Bellator in an executive capacity while at the same time managing fighters that were put on Bellator cards. Light claimed that due to stress from the job he took a leave but was terminated upon his return.
In response to the lawsuit, Bellator filed a Cross-Complaint citing Light for conversion, theft and a breach of written contract.
The Bellator Cross-Complaint claims that Light requested a loan from the company and was given $9,403 and entered into a written agreement with Light that made him pay back the money on an agreed schedule. Bellator claims that he never paid back the loan. In addition, Bellator claims that he did not return “thousands of dollars in VIP ticket sales” related to Bellator 136 in Irvine, California.
Light filed an Answer in August denying the allegations made in Bellator’s Cross-Complaint.
A Case Management Conference was to be heard to give a status on the case in November but it appears that there has been a continuance of this. Light now works for MMAAA per Bjorn Rebney at the organization’s debut press conference earlier this month. It will be interesting where this lawsuit will go or if the parties will determine to settle the case before any salacious information about either Light or Bellator’s business practices surfaces for the public.
July 20, 2016
The Zachary Light-Bellator lawsuit in California is getting personal. Bellator has filed a Cross-Complaint against Light stating that he stole money from the company and did not pay back a loan given to him due to the fact he was in financial trouble.
Light filed the lawsuit claiming wrongful termination back in May in Los Angeles Superior Court. Bellator was granted an extension to respond to the Complaint and it’s also filed its own Complaint against Light filed July 12th.
The cross-claim digs right into Light stating that Light told Bellator, that, “despite his sizable income, he had difficulty managing his family budget and was experiencing financial distress.” Bellator loaned Light $9,403.00 and entered into a written agreement to pay back the loan. Bellator attached a copy of the alleged agreement as an Exhibit to its Cross-Complaint. The company also claims that Light stole $4,600 in cash from VIP ticket sales from Bellator 136. Bellator claims Light now owes $5,050.00 plus interest.
Conversion, the civil claim alleged by Bellator, is essentially stealing. It also claims theft under California law and a breach of written contract which alludes to the purported failure of Light to repay the loan.
Bellator claims that as part of his job, Light “would collect the money he received from the sale of consignment and VIP tickets in connection with Bellator events, and remit the money to Bellator personnel shortly after he received it from purchasers.” He would then give the money to Bellator’s Chief Financial Officer, Michael O’Roark or Jane Estioko, Manager of Talent Relations. However, Bellator claims that Bellator remitted to Bellator “at least some of the money” he failed to give “thousands of dollars he collected.” The Monday after the event, Bellator 136, Light did not report for work citing medical reasons.
With respect to his financial issues, Light and Bellator entered into an “Authorization for Deduction” on December 18, 2014 for $6,974.57 in which he would repay the loan in monthly installments of $240.50 from his paychecks. It also appears that Bellator was charging him interest on this loan. The exhibit to the Cross-Complaint is below.
Light will have an opportunity to respond to these allegations. Obviously, these claims were filed as a result of Light’s lawsuit. The lawsuit is turning personal as Bellator infers the fact Light has had financial difficulties throughout. The loan was from December 2014 and the alleged theft occurred in April 2016. Were there any other issues in between this time that Bellator is holding back for the lawsuit or are these two issues the only claims against Light? Certainly Light will deny both claims.
The one question is why would Bellator give Light the responsibility of handling money on the company’s behalf if it believed he had an issue with finances. MMA Payout will keep you posted.