May 17, 2013
UFC announced the launch of UFC Fit as the organization’s first ever in-home fitness and nutrition program. The program was developed by Mike Dolce of the famed “Dolce Diet.”
Via UFC press release:
Developed with renowned strength and conditioning coach Mike Dolce, UFC FIT is a lifestyle program based on the same methods the world’s greatest athletes use to prepare for the OctagonTM.
A celebrated training coach and former mixed martial artist, Dolce has earned his reputation as the greatest conditioning and nutrition expert in the sport, helping top contenders including Johny Hendricks, Gray Maynard, Michael Bisping and Thiago Alves prepare for competition. Now, for the first time, Mike Dolce shares the knowledge and techniques that have turned athletes into champions in this in-home training program.
UFC president Dana White said: “What makes UFC FIT different from every other workout is Mike Dolce. The UFC doesn’t cut corners or do anything halfway, so when we decided to create UFC FIT, we knew we had to work with Mike. He’s someone we respect, someone we believe in and someone we know gets results. To compete in the UFC, you have to be proficient in five Olympic sports including boxing, wrestling, taekwondo and judo on top of having world class strength and cardio. And Mike Dolce take these guys level to another level – just imagine what he can do for you.”
UFC FIT includes:
• 12 dynamic workout DVDs
• Plus 3-Day Shred, a jumpstart to weight loss
• 12-week Workout Tracker
• 132-page Lifestyle & Nutrition Manual, complete with training tips, a grocery list, meal plans and healthy, delicious recipes
• And for when you are on the go, Xyience® Ulti-Bar™ and Ulti-Meal™ Replacement Protein Shake, created exclusively for UFC FIT
UFC FIT is available now at UFCFIT.com. Additional merchandise is also available including an official UFC FIT Octagon® Mat, water bottle and fitness apparel.
First GSP Fit, then the UFC Personal Trainer, now this. A tacit endorsement of Dolce’s methods by the UFC. From the press release it looks like it also utilizes Xyience, a UFC official sponsor, in this program. This home fitness product falls in line with the current craze of at home workout regimens. We’ll see how sales will be for this product.
May 17, 2013
MMA Fighting reports that Nate Diaz has been suspended pending an investigation for a tweet in which he made a gay slur. Diaz sent the tweet in defense of Pat Healy as he had been stripped of bonuses for testing positive for marijuana use.
Diaz used the slur to refer to Brian Caraway, the UFC fighter that received the submission of the night bonus after the UFC stripped Healy of the bonus. Incidentally, it was Caraway that lobbied Dana White for the raise in bonuses for UFC 159.
We all remember that the UFC suspended Matt Mitrione for statements that he made on The MMA Hour in relation to Fallon Fox. The suspension was short-lived as Mitrione was scheduled a fight after only two weeks of discipline.
Diaz is coming off his second loss in a row as he suffered the first TKO of his career against Josh Thomson. MMA Junkie reports Diaz’s manager, Mike Kogan, advised Diaz not to delete the offensive tweet and that people look up the offending word in the dictionary. He explained that the word is slang in Northern California.
This probably violates the UFC’s Code of Conduct. Maybe the UFC should have another Fighter Summit to refresh its fighters on what is appropriate to tweet or say to the media. Even if Diaz believed the name calling to be benign and not a slur against homosexuals, but more of dissing Caraway (something seemingly explained by Kogan), he should have called him something else. With Kogan supporting Diaz’s stance and choice of words, it will be interesting to see what happens next. Certainly, the standard way to address issues like this is to apologize for the choice of words. Here, we are asked to refer to a dictionary. We will see how this works.
May 16, 2013
The Ultimate Fighting Championship video game franchise made its debut towards the end of what many of its fans now refer to as the “Dark Ages” for Mixed Martial Arts. The successful venture occurred just a few months before current owners, Zuffa LLC, purchased the MMA promotion from the near bankrupt Semaphore Entertainment Group.
During this time, the struggling MMA promotion was still sporting a black-eye from politicians and mainstream media who labeled it “human cockfighting”. This was a time before “cage fighting” was fully regulated, sanctioned, or accepted throughout the country. Due to the circumstances, not much was expected from the UFC’s initial foray into the video gaming world.
The self titled release was first made available on a console that many critics and fans now say was ahead of its time, the Sega Dreamcast. The UFC poster-boy and brand ambassador at the time, Tito Ortiz, was a no-brainer as its first cover athlete. The game was first developed by Anchor Inc. for the Dreamcast and released on August 29, 2000. A follow up release was then developed by Opus for the Sony PlayStation (PSX) on November 13, just a few months later. The game was even ported to the Game Boy Color on November 27, just weeks after the PSX release by Fluid Studios. All three versions were published by Crave Entertainment.
To the surprise of many, the game was well received by fans and critics. Popular video game outlet IGN gave it score of “9.1 – Amazing” and was awarded the “Editors Choice” tag. Metacritic, who takes the scores from all major outlets and computes an average score, scored it an 88 out of 100. The game on it’s own merit proved to be a success, but it did more than just provide good game-play to video game fans. Due to word-of-mouth and rave reviews, it served as a tool to introduce the UFC and MMA product to an untapped market. It was the first step the UFC had taken towards trickling into the mainstream, where they could reach young teens and commence the process of converting the non-MMA fan. The video-game playing teen demographic back in the early 2000′s eventually evolved into a sizable portion of what has become key to the UFC’s growth over the years, the elusive male 18-34 demographic.
Much of the success the first UFC video game obtained can be attributed to one key decision… or stroke of luck, depending on who you ask. SEG made the decision to license their product to Crave Entertainment and selected a relatively small Japanese video game development start-up, Anchor Inc.
- The Anchor Inc. Era
Anchor Inc. is a Japanese video game development & CG animation production studio, founded on October 1996. The small development group, which has employed a staff of anywhere between 25-50 throughout the years, was founded by Masahiro Onoguchi and his brother Kohichi Onoguchi. Before starting Anchor Inc, Masahiro Onoguchi worked at Namco, one of the most prestigious Japanese game development studios. While at Namco, he worked on classic fighting games such as Tekken and Soul Calibur. After leaving Namco, Onoguchi worked for a small company, DreamFactory, which was founded by some of the people from Namco and Sega. His strong relationship with the group led to providing animation and support for the Virtua Fighter game series, an original 3-D fighter title released for Sega consoles.
Anchor Inc’s first release was Fighter’s Destiny for the N64, which was produced in cooperation with Namco. Their next release would be their first full-fledged in-house release. The title of that game was “Ultimate Fighting Championship” and was set to release on the Sega Dreamcast on August 2000. Anchor Inc. would go on to release some of the best MMA & WWE games ever developed for that era, though they never made another UFC game after their initial full release.
- THQ Crosses Path With the UFC
With the amount of success and popularity the Japanese MMA promotion PRIDE had amounted in recent years, game publisher THQ decided to acquire the PRIDE video game license from Dream Stage Entertainment. The next step in THQ’s MMA venture was to find a developer to work on the game. Ironically, because of the success the first UFC title had achieved, THQ reached out to Anchor Inc. to develop their PRIDE game a few months after Ultimate Fighting Championship was released. As you can imagine, Anchor Inc was more than thrilled to take on the 2-year project, which involved creating the PRIDE video game engine from scratch.
“Yes. With UFC for the Dreamcast, Anchor was given more attention outside of Japan. When we got the Pride project, we were excited because Pride is very well known in Japan. We got the feeling that we’d be recognized as the Pride developers. UFC was a popular overseas event at the time of our developing the game, so we didn’t really know about the fighters or the skills. But Pride is held in Japan, so we know the fighters, events, etc. We’re more attached to Pride than we were to UFC.”
When “PRIDE FC: Fighting Championships” was ready to release, it had much hype from gaming and MMA enthusiasts. The game walked away with IGN’s PS2 simulation and fighting game award of E3 in 2002 and only created more hype to the much anticipated Anchor Inc follow-up. After it was released in February 2003, the game got many positive reviews but the lack of a few game-play options drew some minor critiques. IGN gave it a score of “8.0 – Great” while Metacritic scored it a 77 out of 100. In the end, the game became a classic, just like the previous Anchor Inc release.
- The Crave Entertainment Era
Crave Entertainment will forever be known as the first video game publisher to release a UFC game, but it released many games for multiple consoles for over a decade. Crave was founded in 1997 by Nima Taghavi and was based out of Newport Beach, California. After the successful release of “Ultimate Fighting Championship”, Crave quickly began to work on a sequel. Since Anchor Inc was busy working on their PRIDE FC video game, Crave partnered with another Japanese developer, DreamFactory, for the release of “UFC Tapout”. Interestingly enough, DreamFactory was the company Onoguchi worked for before founding Anchor Inc after leaving Namco.
UFC Tapout was released for the XBOX on February 2002. The game received some high scores though there were some mixed reviews from the critics. GameSpot gave Tapout a score of “8.3 – Great”, though Metacritic computed a score of 77 out of 100, which was a similar score the PRIDE FC game received one year later. The game eventually became the official Xbox Magazine 2002 Editors Choice Award winner. Though the game had some flaws from the original Dreamcast title, the release by DreamFactory was another success for Crave.
The next step for Crave was to release a PS2 version of the game, which they titled “UFC Throwdown”. This time around, Crave teamed up with Genki, Capcom Production Studio 3 for the release. The reviews were not as pleasant as previous releases and Metacritic computed a score of 68 out of 100 for the game.
After the PS2 release, Crave focused on the Tapout sequel for the XBOX.
“Tapout 2 will feature a completely overhauled core game engine. ‘With the changes in the engine, an enhanced AI, upgraded career mode, and new fighting moves, we’re practically putting the gamer right in the middle of The Octagon,’ said Rob Sandberg, senior producer at Crave Entertainment. ‘Tapout 2 will look and play noticeably different from any previous version, and I think fighting game fans will be very impressed.”
By the time “Tapout 2″ was released for the XBOX on March 2003, Crave Entertainment had lost the UFC video game license. The game ended up being published by TDK Mediactive, though it was still developed by DreamFactory. Metacritic computed a score of 66 out of 100, continuing it’s ratings slide from the first two games it had released.
Crave continued to release games for multiple gaming consoles after the partnership with the UFC ended. It was eventually acquired by Handleman Corporation in 2005 for $95M. Four years later in 2009, it was sold to Fillpoint for only $8.1M due to Handleman’s bankruptcy proceedings. As has become the fate for many video game companies that went through the recession, Crave Entertainment eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
- The Post Anchor Inc Era
After Tapout 2 was released by TDK Mediactive for the XBOX in 2003, TDK did not retain the UFC video game license. This time around, UFC partnered with video game publisher Global Star and previously used development group “Opus” for the PS2 follow-up to “Throwdown”. The game once again received mixed reviews and Metacritic computed it’s lowest score to date, 54 out of 100 for a UFC game. As it turns out, this would end up being the last video game release for the UFC before going on a 6 year hiatus.
Many fans and critics pin-point losing Anchor Inc. studios to THQ and the PRIDE FC game as the culprits for the downward slide of the UFC video game franchise. As it turns out, not only was PRIDE stealing some of the UFC’s best fighters at the time, it also took an essential component of what made the UFC’s first release such a big hit, the small video game development group Anchor Inc.
Anchor Inc’s Onoguchi said the following about the UFC games that were developed after their departure:
“Not fun at all. I want to be honest. First, I don’t like the gameplay at all. And it seems that they put in more modes and features to cover up the lack of gameplay.”
Video game critics shared a similar view:
“Overall, UFC: Tapout 2 has some strengths, but they’re the same strengths that the previous Tapout game had. The game doesn’t really bring anything new to the genre, and the game’s AI flaws make it a very dull single-player experience. Even devout fans of the sport would be better off with the previous Tapout game, or, if they own a PlayStation 2, THQ’s Pride FC.”
The next UFC game would not be released until 2009, by none other than THQ… which we will continue in part 2 of this series.
Tapout (XBOX – 2002)
Throwdown (PS2, GC – 2002)
Tapout 2 (XBOX – 2003)
Sudden Impact (PS2 – 2003)
NOTE 1: Throwdown, Tapout 2, and Sudden Impact cover art features the late UFC Hall of Famer Charles Lewis, Jr., aka “The Mask” from the “TapouT” clothing brand. He is also also an unlockable fighter along with Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta.
NOTE 2: Before there was Ronda Rousey or even Gina Carano, there was Erica Montoya. The UFC was so close to featuring Montoya as the first female fighter in the UFC, that she was put into the UFC Sudden Impact video game as a fighter, which released in 2003. In fact, the UFC was strongly considering a bout between Erica Montoya and Shelby Walker for UFC 51 in 2005, but the match never materialized.
May 16, 2013
The Sports Business Journal reports on Georges St. Pierre’s health and fitness app as the latest in his portfolio of sponsorships. In addition to his recently released book, “The Way of the Fight,” GSP has been tabbed to do voiceover work for the animated film, “Monsters University.”
GSP remains busy despite successfully defending his title last month against Nick Diaz. The app comes due to the collaboration between GSP’s agents at CAA and developer Zolmo. The app, named “Touchfit” is $6.99 and GSP has an equity stake in the venture although specifics were not mentioned.
GSP’s agent at CAA, Nez Balelo, detailed the difficulty he had at first in finding sponsors for GSP as he had to educate them on who he is and what he did. The article notes that Gatorade and Under Armour were the two big deals that separated GSP from other MMA fighters in terms of sponsorship.
In addition, TheStar.com (of Toronto) reports that he will voice a character in the Quebec French language version of the prequel to Monsters, Inc.
The GSP brand continues to roll. The app coincides with the release of his book, “The Way of the Fight.” GSP’s voicework on the Quebecois/French Canadian version of “Monsters University” is his second film this year as he was tabbed to play a villain in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” slated for release next year. GSP has carved out a solid portfolio of work that will eventually carry him to his post-UFC career.
May 14, 2013
The Wrestling Observer (subscription required) reports that UFC fighter Pat Healy has tested positive for marijuana use from testing at UFC 159. As a result, Healy has forfeited his fight night bonuses and win bonus as his contest with Jim Miller has been changed to a no contest.
Healy received Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night bonuses for his performance against Miller. Healy’s management sent out a statement about Healy’s positive test.
Healy’s statement through his management:
“I would like to start off by apologizing to the UFC, Jim Miller, the MMA community, it’s fans, my family, teammates and coaches for my positive testing for marijuana after my UFC 159 fight with Jim Miller. I was fully aware of the UFC and State Commissions drug policies and made poor life choices. I stand behind the UFC and the State Commission’s disciplinary actions. I support efforts to make MMA and sports a clean, safe and fair place to compete. First and foremost, I would like to acknowledge and take responsibility for my mistake. I made a very poor choice to socially use marijuana and now I must face the consequences of that choice. I can assure you that I will do everything the UFC and State Commission asks of me and beyond. I will also make a conscious effort to be a better role model within the MMA community.”
Healy will be suspended 90 days by the New Jersey State Athletic Commission in addition to overturning his win.
The good news is that Healy is willing to own up to his mistake. The bad news is that he had poor judgment by socially using marijuana when he knew of the consequences. Its hard not to feel sorry for Healy but when the rules are clear about marijuana use, how can you argue against the punishment. Certainly, the $135K ($130K in fight bonuses and $5 for the win bonus) taken from Healy is a huge penalty. Healy only keeps his $17,500 show purse.
May 14, 2013
Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post. This week we take a look at the WWE’s online move to Yahoo!, a pro wrestler gets in trouble on twitter and TNA moves one hour later while Bellator goes to Wednesday nights.
WWE moves content to Yahoo! Divas get own show on E!
Variety reports on Yahoo!’s partnership for showing exclusive WWE content online. Earlier this month engaged in a content agreement E! Television. Despite its time on YouTube, the WWE passed on being one of the new channels on YouTube’s fee based subscription service.
As if there wasn’t enough wrestling on Monday night, Yahoo! will air a 30 minute pregame show for Monday Night Raw among other original content. The deal includes Yahoo! having access to the WWE’s library. The Big Show and Stephanie McMahon made an appearance at the upfronts for Yahoo! WWE content should make its debut this summer on Yahoo!
In addition, the WWE Divas will have their own one hour reality show on the E! Network. Presumably, it will follow the women of the WWE backstage and through their “real” lives.
Payout Take: The new Yahoo! deal is an interesting switch from YouTube as the two parties decided not to renew its deal. WWE has opted to stick with an ad-based model (relying on ads for revenue) for its online content rather than join YouTube in a subscription-based model. As we know, the UFC and TNA Wrestling have pay channels in YouTube’s pilot program. Perhaps the WWE did not want to have fans to spend money on a subscription-based channel when it plans to have its own network to subscribe to soon. It could also be that the WWE saw more of advantage with ad revenue than subscriptions.
ROH disciplines its Champion for Offensive Tweet
The Wrestling Post does not usually cover independent wrestling organization Ring of Honor but its champion, Jay Briscoe, got into some hot water after making some controversial tweets about gay marriage. Briscoe, a native of Delaware, reacted via twitter to the recent passage of his state’s new law allowing gay marriage. Essentially, he’s not a fan of it.
In an effort to make things right, Ring of Honor made Briscoe apologize in the ring and he indicated that he would make a donation to an anti-bullying organization.
Payout Take: Even in the independent wrestling circuit, protecting the brand of the company and its image is necessary. The actions by Ring of Honor may not have happened on the independent circuit 10 years earlier. But, in an effort to be more inclusive and realizing that the world is much more accessible via the internet (i.e., people from all over the world can buy its DVDs, iPPVs, t-shirts, etc.) the organization made a decision to have its wrestler make a real apology.
TNA Moves to 9pm while Bellator moves to Wednesdays
In a move that will have more ramifications than just the wrestling show, Spike TV has decided to move TNA’s Impact Wrestling to 9pm/8pm Central on Thursday nights starting May 30th. The network announced that Bellator would move to Wednesdays starting with its Summer Series in July.
Payout Take: Maybe its a move for daylight savings time as many people will be outside enjoying the extra daylight and not inside watching TNA. We will see how this will impact ratings. For Bellator fans, how will moving to Wednesday nights affect its programming? There was not much proven correlation between TNA as its lead-in as Impact had a bigger audience that seemingly tailed off once Bellator came on. Yet, having a strong lead-in may mean more viewers checking out the Bellator product.
May 13, 2013
Eddie Alvarez produced via twitter a document he claims Bellator altered after he had agreed to the terms of the renegotiation period. Alvarez stated that Bellator changed the matching issue from “all terms” to “material terms.”
— Edward Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) May 12, 2013
In the October 30, 2012 letter from Bellator to Alvarez sent via email and Certified Mail, the letter states in reference to matching terms with Zuffa: “Upon receipt of such an offer, you are thereafter obliged to produce to Bellator a true copy of the proposed agreement with Zuffa, LLC at which time Bellator shall have fourteen (14) business days from receipt of the full agreement to consider whether it will match the material terms of the offer.” (our emphasis in bold and italics). In a subsequent letter, the sentenced was changed from material to all.
Alvarez had noted this change during his interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour and on MMA Junkie Radio. He essentially cited this as an unethical business practice.
Bjorn Rebney responded to Alvarez’s claims in an article on MMA Fighting. The November 1, 2012 letter was produced which stated “all terms” instead of material terms was produced in the article. Rebney refuted Alvarez’s accusations stating that he was aware of the language and that Alvarez’s attorneys were aware as well. Rebney also responded to several issues regarding pay concerning Zach Makovsky, Cosmo Alexandre and whether or not Bellator attempted to sign Leonard Garcia.
The letter produced by Alvarez attempts to show that Bellator amended terms without his knowledge. Rebney indicated that this is not true and that Alvarez’s attorneys had the chance to review the letters. Did Alvarez’s lawyers not see the November 1st letter? Based on what the Court has opined in the Preliminary Injunction, will the “material” vs. “all” terms matter? If you recall, the Court indicated that it would apply a common sense approach to matching terms. Regardless of one might think, this lawsuit is going to start to heat up. Moreover, arising out of the lawsuit are PR issues which Rebney, Bellator and Viacom must address and determine how to put out the fires. By implicating other issues with fighters, we might see Makovsky, Alexandre and Garcia get pulled into this lawsuit as witnesses.
May 11, 2013
The Sports Business Journal reported on an annual survey which tracked the habits of avid fans of boxing, MMA and professional wrestling. The Scarborough survey polled more than 200,000 residents over the age of 18 in 77 of the country’s biggest markets to find out how avid fans are to their particular sport.
The survey determined that of the 48.4% of the U.S. male population, the UFC (74.6% of males polled) is most popular of the three sports among males with boxing a close second (72.4%) and then WWE (62.8%). However, women (52.6% of the female population) preferred boxing over the UFC with the WWE third.
As one might expect, the UFC did well with ages 18-44 while boxing was more popular among 30-44 year olds. WWE did the best with baby boomers 30-44 years old. But, this does not jive with the polling numbers which state that 51.7% of those WWE fans polled have no children.
Most educated fans of the three sports? Its the UFC with 48.5% (of the 55% of the average U.S. population) stated they attended college. However, more boxing fans attended post-graduate school and/or received a post-graduate degree than both the UFC or WWE fans.
Spanish/Hispanics favor boxing over the WWE and the UFC. African Americans favor the UFC the least over the three combat sports.
Boxing is big among Spanish and Hispanics due to the many boxing stars in the numerous divisions. One need only see that the big PPVs each year occur Cinco de Mayo (May) weekend and Mexican Independence Day (September).
18% (of the 20% of the average U.S. population) of UFC fans have household incomes between $100,000 and $249,000. The bulk of its fans, 81% (of the average U.S. population), make between $25,000 and $34,999.
According to the Scarborough survey, 5.3% of the U.S. population indicated that they are avid fans of boxing. 5.1% are avid UFC fans while 3.7% are WWE fans.
Top 3 Markets for the UFC
1) Honolulu, Hawaii
2) Bakersfield, California,
3) El Paso, Texas
Las Vegas ranked 9th for the UFC and 8th in Boxing. El Paso also ranked second in Boxing markets.
Harlingen-McAllen, Texas ranked first as the top Boxing market and second in WWE’s top market. Little Rock, Arkansas ranked first as the WWE’s top market.
The survey does not really have anything too surprising. The UFC fan base is mainly comprised of the younger demographic while boxing skews to the older generation. This can be attributed to the fact that many grew up with boxing on television. One also may look to the fact that ethnicity plays a big role with boxing fans. Boxing fans are fans of certain fighters because of their ethnicity. One can look to Manny Pacquiao as a recent example of nation pride from many Filipinos. Juan Manuel Marquez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. are examples of Mexican fighters that have drawn interest due in part to their heritage.
As for markets, its interesting that Honolulu, Hawaii is the top UFC market among markets polled. This has to be attributed to the big following of BJ Penn. Also,Texas appears to be a focal point for Fight Sports as El Paso and Harlingen-McAllen are at the top of the list when it comes to avid fans of the sports.
One of the more interesting takeaways is that Boxing and the UFC are still neck and neck in fan popularity. Yes, its not a competition between the two but its interesting to note that boxing and the UFC both had 19 telecasts over 1 million viewers in 2012. Boxing had 2 network telecasts over the 1 million mark while all 4 of the UFC on Fox network events went over 1 million viewers.
May 10, 2013
MMA Junkie reports that the UFC has launched a fee-based subscription service with YouTube. The UFC is one of several channels that is part of a YouTube Pilot Program that subscribers can pay a fee to watch its programming.
“UFC Select” offers a 2 week free trial but will be $5.99 per month. Eight fights will be introduced into the channels’ rotation each week. Old episodes of The Ultimate Fighter will also be shown on the channel.
The launch of fee-based subscription services is a step toward a la carte programming.
This is a solid business move, even if advertising will almost certainly remain YouTube’s main source of income. It helps YouTube promote itself as a complete video delivery platform by giving producers yet another way to earn money there.
The article suggests that the subscription model will do well with sports channels such as the UFC.
It will be interesting to see how well the UFC channel does. What does it mean for the UFC programming on Fox Sports 1? Why watch something you will have to pay for if you can get it through cable. Certainly, the pay channel will have some fights not available on television, but will it be worth it to the casual viewer? Notably, the WWE declined having a paid channel and moved to Yahoo! But, TNA Wrestling has a YouTube channel which will have its content.
May 9, 2013
After tweeting his displeasure for his legal troubles, Eddie Alvarez made his appearance on The MMA Hour on Monday to give his side of the story in the Bellator battle. He also made an appearance on MMA Junkie radio Tuesday pleading his case.
Although he said he didn’t know too much about law when talking to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Alvarez gave a legal update on his case. To be fair, Alvarez correctly stated that the case was in the discovery phase.
The MMA Hour interview came after tweeting about Bellator and how Bjorn Rebney was a “grunt” and that Viacom and Spike are “idiots.”
But the bulk of the interview on The MMA Hour dealt with the legal case and a rehashing of the contract matching issue which the Court denied in Alvarez’s motion for a preliminary injunction in January. A favorable ruling would have allowed Alvarez to negotiate a contract with the UFC and leave Bellator behind. However, the Court decided that the factual issue of whether or not Bellator matched the terms of the UFC contract would be determined at a later date. Alvarez stated on MMA Junkie radio that he didn’t expect the Court to grant the Preliminary Injunction.
On MMA Junkie Radio, Alvarez indicated that he talked with Bellator in New Mexico in an effort to settle the case but stated that he could not reveal the substance of the communications. Legally speaking, the settlement discussions are confidential and governed by certain evidentiary rules.
Alvarez claimed that Bellator changed words in his original contract which included an addendum which waived a renegotiation period and allowed an exclusive negotiating period with Zuffa. However, Alvarez claims that a term in the addendum was changed from “all terms” in to “material terms.” The documents do not appear to be in the legal filings in the case. Alvarez indicated he would post the documents on twitter which shows the different terms. However, as of the time of this writing, the documents have not been posted.
Alvarez stated his case well but the issues he argues doesn’t do anything other than the possibility of getting him into more legal troubles. The “matching” issue was already decided by the Court at the Preliminary Injunction in that there would be no decision on the matching issue. Its definitely the Court punting on a key issue in the matter but there is a legal basis for waiting to hear the information provided in the discovery process. However, in the Court PI opinion, it did cite that the Court “must apply a common-sense interpretation to the word “match.” This was in reference to the issue of whether Bellator had to match the Zuffa contract verbatim.
But, why go after Viacom? It may not know anything about MMA, but it is investing money into the sport. Without Fox and Viacom investing in MMA, it would not be as popular as it is today. Certainly, I do feel for Alvarez to a certain extent as he’s been put in a tough position. He no longer wants to work for his employer but his employer is pulling him back in. Perhaps he didn’t know that he’d be in this position when he signed his contract with Bellator or didn’t think that Bellator would put up such a fight.
Regardless of whether or not Alvarez is telling the truth, talking (and tweeting) is a risky move especially in contentious litigation. There is the potential for further claims and using tweets and Alvarez’s interviews as evidence in the future.