Hunt lawyers fire back at UFC, White

March 22, 2017

Attorneys for Mark Hunt have filed its opposition to Zuffa’s Motion to Dismiss its lawsuit.  It rejects the motion and provides more information on Hunt’s damages.

A footnote to the opposition brief notes that Brock Lesnar has not accepted service of the lawsuit since he resides in Saskatchewan, Canada and will not accept service.

Taking issue with the UFC’s characterization that Hunt’s lawsuit is speculative at best, Hunt’s attorneys state that the New Zealand heavyweight has actual damages despite the fact that this is not the standard for dismissal in a Motion to Dismiss.  Hunt’s attorneys aregue that the UFC and Dana White are seeking Hunt to prove his claims at this stage of the lawsuit but the standard for a Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Summary Judgment differ.

Among the issues of note in the lengthy response, Hunt’s attorneys note that he is the owner of a clothing brand, Juggernaut, and his loss impacts his brand.  The opposition brief plainly states that losing is bad for business as despite the UFC’s assertions that Hunt’s damages are merely speculative, Hunt’s claims are real.

As another example, Hunt claims that his contract with the UFC has a clause which grants a step up in pay from $850,000 to $1,000,000 in title fights.  Although his contract is lodged as an exhibit to his Complaint, that part of the lawsuit is sealed from the public’s view.

In its conclusion, Hunt’s attorneys request that if a the Court finds in favor of the UFC and White that it have a right to amend its Complaint which may be done pursuant to the court rules.

The hearing is set for May 15, 2017.

Payout Perspective:

The opposition goes on to debunk the arguments made by the UFC in its brief.  Reading the section on Hunt’s contract claims, its hard to decipher whether that clause in his contract is based on title fights in which he is a challenger or if he becomes a champion.  Due to its vagueness, it might be the latter.  As for his claim that his brand would be diminished, this may be true.  It also might not be true.  However, as Hunt’s attorneys point out the allegation is concrete enough to survive a Motion to Dismiss.  After discovery, and a Motion for Summary Judgment, that might not be the case.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

NSAC-McGregor agree to settlement from UFC 202 pre-fight incident

March 22, 2017

Conor McGregor’s punishment from the Nevada State Athletic Commission due to his involvement in a pre-UFC 202 news conference has been reduced.  The NSAC approved the settlement on Wednesday.

McGregor is fined $25,000 and ordered to complete 25 hours of community service within six months in addition to paying court costs.  The original punishmen t was $150,000 and 50 hours of community service.

McGregor filed a lawsuit in Clark County, Nevada seeking judicial review of the original punishment.  The lawsuit was the normal means of appealing a ruling from an administrative body.

The commission voted to re-hear McGregor’s case today during the NSAC’s monthly meeting.  McGregor did not appear but was represented by his attorney Jennifer Goldstein.  McGregor had met with NSAC chair Anthony Marnell and NSAC executive director Bob Bennett earlier this month which led to the re-hearings.

In December, Nate Diaz reached a settlement with the NSAC for a $50,000 fine and 50 hours of community service.

Payout Perspective:

This makes good on a horrible overreach by the commission.  Diaz should also look for a re-hearing on his fine and community service as well.  It also paves the way for clearing McGregor to obtain a boxing license in Nevada for the possibility of a fight with Floyd Mayweather.  This would obviously benefit Nevada if (and that’s a big if) that fight actually happens.

Welterweight receives 2-year ban from USADA

March 22, 2017

UFC welterweight Viscardi Andrade was issued a two-year suspension from USADA after testing positive for stanozolol and its metabolites, 163-hydroxy-stanozol and 3’-hydroxy-stanozol following an out-of-competition test.

Andrade, 33, was a contestant on the second season of The Ultimate Fighter.  He had a 3-1 record in the UFC including a win in his last fight in Brisbane, Australia.

Andrade’s period of ineligibility began on March 20, 2016, a day after his last bout and when the results of his out-of-competition test were discovered.  The flagged test occurred on March 7, 2016.

Via USADA’s announcement:

Andrade’s two-year period of ineligibility began on March 20, 2016, the day after his most recent bout, a victory, at the UFC Fight Night event in Brisbane, Australia, on March 19, 2016. Per the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, an Anti-Doping Policy Violation occurring during, or in connection with, a bout may, upon the decision of UFC, lead to disqualification of all the athlete’s results obtained in that bout. Here, because Andrade’s violation resulted from a sample collection that occurred prior to his bout, all information surrounding Andrade’s positive test and sanction has been provided to UFC to make the determination concerning his competition results.

Since there is no athletic commission in Australia and the UFC regulates itself there, the UFC will determine whether Andrade’s win will be overturned.

Payout Perspective:

It doesn’t appear that Andrade will appeal this ruling.  Stanozol is an anabolic steroid used in PEDs and is banned from use per the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  The discovery of his out-of-competition test also reveals the continuing issue with the drug policy in that tests prior to a fight are not known until after the fight takes place.  This is an overarching issue that should be addressed.

ARod purchases UFC GYM in Florida, rights to open more

March 21, 2017

Former major league baseball player Alex Rodriguez has purchased a UFC GYM in Kendall, Florida and has acquired the development rights for the creation of more UFC-branded gyms in Miami-Dade County.

Rodriguez, the former Seattle Mariner/Texas Ranger and New York Yankees shortstop/third base man, takes over the only UFC gym in Miami-Dade County.  Technically, the UFC GYMs will be owned by A-ROD Corp. which has Rodriguez as CEO.  There are six UFC GYM locations in Florida and more than 100 fitness centers in the US and Canada according to a report in the Miami Herald.

The UFC Gyms are franchises and anyone with the financial strength and business acumen to open a franchise can apply to open one.  According to the UFC Gym Franchise page, the franchises will look at areas “where there are 100,000 people within a five-mile radius and with a median household income of $50,000-$75,000.

Rodriguez owns gyms in Mexico which are on the high-end and cater to professionals.  The UFC GYM offers affordable memberships starting at $49 per month.

Payout Perspective:

Don’t look for ARod to be leading a cardio kickboxing class at the UFC Gym.  The acquisition is an investment opportunity for Arod and he carved out the region for UFC GYMs.  The fitness industry has shown an increase with it reaching an all-time high in 2015.  Perhaps ARod will follow in the footsteps of Peyton Manning, who owns over 30 Papa John’s Pizza places in the Denver area and accumulate businesses a source of passive income.

WSOF draws 146,000 viewers

March 21, 2017

World Series of Fighting 35 drew 146,000 viewers on Saturday night on NBC Sports Network per Sports TV Ratings.

The event also drew 45,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo.

The main event featured Blagoy Ivanov defeating Shawn Jordan in a heavyweight matchup.

World Series of Fighting – 2017

WSOF 34 951,000 NBC
WSOF 35 146,000 NBC Sports

Payout Perspective:

The event was on the same night as the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament and the GGG- Danny Jacobs PPV.  The event is on par with most of the events in 2016 and considering that there was not much buzz for this event the ratings are decent.

War Machine found guilty on 29 charges in beating of former girlfriend and another

March 20, 2017

MMA Junkie reports that former MMA fighter War Machine (born Jon Koppenhaver) was found guilty on Monday of 29 charges from the brual beating of his ex-girlfriend Christy Mach and her male friend Corey Thomas in 2014.  The jury delivertated for a day and a half before finding War Machine guilty of most charges although the jury deadlocked on two charges of attempted-murder.

War Machine could face up to life in prison.

Mack testified for eight hours on the witness stand detailing the gruesome details of being beaten and raped by War Machine in the months before the attack.

War Machine, 25, was arrested on August 18, 2014 after spending 10 days on the run.

War Machine declared his innocence from jail.

War Machine fought for the UFC and was a member on a season of TUF.  He last fought in Bellator but was released in October 2013 after reports of the assault.

Sonnen-Silva headline Bellator’s second PPV

March 20, 2017

Bellator returns to PPV with Chael Sonnen-Wanderlei Silva as the main event.  The event will take place on June 24th at Madison Square Garden in New York.

It will be the second PPV in the company’s history.  In May 2014, Bellator 120 featured Rampage Jackson-King Mo and Michael Chandler-Eddie Alvarez.  The event drew 100,000 PPV buys.

Sonnen is coming off a loss to Tito Ortiz this past January in Los Angeles.  Silva has yet to fight for the promotion as he is serving a three-year suspension retroactive to May 24, 2014.  He will be eligible for reinstatement to May 25, 2017.

The Associated Press first reported the event.

Bellator intends to debut some of its free agent signees in New York as well.

The event comes a week after a UFC Fight Night in Singapore and two weeks before International Fight Week.

Payout Perspective:

The announcement is a departure from the company intending to stay on cable TV.  Sonnen-Silva is a long-time grudge match dating back several years and if the two remain healthy and available, the promotion and fight should draw more than the last time Bellator was on PPV.  The news comes on the same day that Ryan Bader officially signed with the promotion.  Expect Bader, Rampage and other former UFC fighters to be on the card.

UFC Fight Night 107 attendance, gate and bonuses

March 18, 2017

The UFC announced post-fight bonuses for Jimi Manuwa, Gunnar Nelson, Marlon Vera and Marc Diakiese for UFC Fight Night 107 Saturday afternoon from London.  The event drew 15,761 for a gate of $2,015,777.

The event took place at The O2 Arena in London.  The main event featured Jimi Manuwa and Corey Anderson.  Manuwa won via KO and drew one of the four $50K bonuses.

Marlon Vera drew another bonus for his third-round finish of Brad Pickett.  Perhaps a bittersweet bonus since Pickett was seemingly ahead on the scorecards in his retirement match.

Gunnar Nelson won via submission over Alan Jouban and Marc Diakiese knocked out Teemu Packalen for the other bonuses.  Notably Packalen earned a POTN bonus at UFC Fight Night 84, the last UFC event in London before today.

The attendance and gate were announced post-fight.  It was the ninth UFC event in London and the first since February 2016 when Michael Bisping defeated Anderson Silva.  The event outdrew the February 2016 event in gate but not attendance.

Payout Perspective:

The Fight Pass only show was well-attended by the London as this UFC event was third all-time out of 9 in terms of attendance and gate for the arena.  It shows the great support for the UFC overseas especially in the U.K.

Federal magistrate in LA transfer Bellator’s Motion to Quash UFC Subpoena to Nevada

March 18, 2017

A Los Angeles Federal Magistrate Judge has transferred Bellator’s Motion to Quash Zuffa’s Subpoenas to the Nevada court hearing the antitrust lawsuit.  The decision to transfer venue was made on Friday March 17th and done without oral argument.

Citing “exceptional circumstances” pursuant to the federal rules governing subpoenas, it determined that the “interests in favor of transfer outweigh the interests of Bellator in obtaining local resolution of the subpoena-related motions.”

Bellator, a non-party in the antitrust lawsuit, sought relief from a UFC subpoena requesting certain documents including information related to specific fighter contracts including information related to negotiations, terminations, cancellations and transfer of contracts.  Bellator has provided the UFC with documents but reached an impasse on certain information.

The federal magistrate, which ordered the transfer, pointed to the looming May 1, 2017 fact discovery deadline, the Nevada court issued the protective order and the Nevada magistrate had been active in previous discovery as reasons for the transfer.

Moreover, the court determined that Bellator would not be inconvenienced by having to appear in Nevada citing the possibility of appearing telephonically.  Alternatively, the proximity between California and Nevada would make the travel negligible.

Payout Perspective:

If you were to ask me, it appears that California did not want anything to do with the Motion.  Rather, it kicked it back to Nevada to deal with the details of the Motion and the lawsuit.  In most instances, Bellator did the appropriate thing in filing for relief where their business is primarily located but the court found reasons to negate the inconvenience.  For the UFC, it’s a win as the issue will go before the magistrate that has been dealing with the UFC and plaintiffs since the case was transferred from a Norther California federal court back in June 2015.

MMA Payout will have more on this.  Stay tuned.

Texas sanctions 3 UFC fighters for marijuana use

March 17, 2017

MMA Fighting reports that three UFC fighters have failed drug tests and have been sanctioned in the state of Texas.  However, USADA has not sanctioned the fighter for their use of marijuana.

Niko Price, Curtis Blaydes and Abel Trujillo tested positive for marijuana in -competition drug tests for UFC 104 in Houston, Texas this past February.  The three were fined $1,000 and suspended 90 days by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

USADA only suspends fighters for cannabis if their drug tests come back with more than 150 ng/ml of the substances metabolites per spokesperson Ryan Madden.  The rule is from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code.

Payout Perspective:

The issue of marijuana is an interesting subject considering the debate on its use varies depends on who you speak with at the time.  Notably, Nate Diaz was seen using a vape pen with cannibidiol oil but was not reprimanded by USADA.  Diego Brandao was suspend for 9 months when a fight-night drug test turned up marijuana matabolites.  A 90-day suspension from Texas likely does not impact Price, Blaydes or Trujillo’s careers but the fine does hurt their pocketbooks.  The inference we get from USADA’s lack of invovlement is that the use was not over the requisite amount.

Next Page »