Fighter to take Shine Fights to court

September 12, 2010

David Heath won in the cage this past weekend and hopes to win a legal battle against Shine Fights.

According to MMA Weekly, Heath has not been paid by Shine Fights for its cancelled May PPV. Heath was a late replacement for the card that never came to be. Heath intends to take Shine Fights to small claims court.

David Heath, who was tapped as a late replacement to face Murilo “Ninja” Rua in the main event on the card, says that he has not received any payment from Shine Fights for his contracted participation on the card, and will be filing suit against the promotion next week.

When asked if he had received payment from Shine Fights, Heath answered by text message saying, “Nope. Gonna file a small claims suit when I get back from MFC this weekend.”

Payout Perspective:

Heath is the first fighter that appears to be going through legal action to recoup funds allegedly owed to him from Shine for the May PPV. As noted here, there appears to be a dispute over the terms in the contract as to how fighters would be paid if the event was cancelled. Heath’s contract may be different since he was a late replacement.  Regardless, he claims that he has not been paid.

By filing a small claims action in either Oklahoma (where Heath resides) or North Carolina (where the event was to take place), Heath can only claim at most $6,000 in Oklahoma ($5,000 in North Carolina).

This is an interesting strategy by Heath. The small claims court process is a down and dirty way to settle disputes without the need for high legal fees. Shine Fights should attempt to settle up with Heath prior to having to deal with this in court. If Heath decides to go through with small claims court and wins, we can expect other non-paid fighters to file their claims.

DirecTV subscriber forecast: No Shine this weekend

September 8, 2010

Earlier this week we reported that DirecTV subscribers would be able to watch the Shine Fights PPV on Sept. 10th but would not be able to see Shark Fights PPV on Sept. 11th. Today, DirecTV decided not to carry the Shine Fights PPV.

Via MMA Fighting:

With Shine Fights’ event moving from a sanctioned show in Virginia to an unsanctioned show on a tribal territory in Oklahoma, DirecTV decided not to offer Shine Fights anymore.

“We pulled it off the schedule given the possibility that the event may be canceled based on the last-minute venue change and we do not want to put our customers in the position having to get refunds,” DirecTV said in a statement to MMAFighting.com.

Payout Perspective:

The latest bad news for Shine regarding this Friday’s PPV. A lack of confidence by DirecTV is an ominous sign that the PPV is in serious jeopardy. The cancellation deletes an opportunity for Shine to sell PPVs and for MMA fans to see its product.

Shine, not Shark available on DirecTV PPV this weekend

September 7, 2010

DirecTV subscribers will have only one choice for an MMA PPV this weekend. As noted in this post and today by MMA Fighting.  DirecTV will be carrying Shine Fights PPV on Sept. 10th but not Shark Fights PPV on Sept. 11th.

A DirecTV spokesman told MMA Fighting that Shark Fights was “brought to us a little too late to put on the PPV calendar.”

Via MMA Fighting:

DirecTV has decided not to give its customers the chance to purchase the Shark Fights card, which is headlined by Keith Jardine vs. Trevor Prangley. Unsurprisingly, Shark Fights is disappointed.

“Although we made every effort to provide our event to DirecTV, it unfortunately will not be available with that pay-per-view provider,” Shark Fights said in a brief statement when contacted by MMAFighting.com. “DirectTV is the only major carrier that is not airing Shark Fights 13.”

Payout Perspective:

With all the turmoil concerning the Shine Fights event this Friday coupled with the need to cancel its last PPV, it is surprising that DirecTV did not pick up Shark Fights just in case Shine Fights needs to cancel.

The Shark Fights card has more name recognition as UFC vets Jardine, Alexander and Daley all will be fighting on the card. A casual MMA fan would be more apt to tune in.

DirecTV’s explanation that Shark Fights was too late to notify them of the PPV seems suspect. All other cable providers appear to be carrying the PPV. Certainly, without DirecTV subscribers, the expected PPV buys for Shark Fights’ PPV will decrease.

Shine Fights changes venue less than one week before event?

September 5, 2010

MMA Fighting reports that Shine Fights is moving its September 10th lightweight tournament from Fairfax, Virginia to a yet to be determined venue in Oklahoma. The reason for the change appears to be its promoted fan voting for matchups.

From MMA Fighting:

According to a source close to the promotion, the issue at the heart of the move was a marketing push by Shine that gave fans the opportunity to choose the matchups for the first-round bouts in the tournament. That apparently didn’t sit well with Virginia’s commission, which operates under the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. The commission wouldn’t issue Shine a license because of the fan matchmaking, the source said.

So the promotion had to seek a state that would sanction the tournament, given the unique situation of the promotion letting the fans play matchmaker, and a new venue. Shine’s official website still had the event listed for Virginia as of Saturday morning, along with a link to purchase tickets.

Payout Perspective:

As of Sunday night, the site of the event remains Fairfax, Virginia. If the report is true, the last minute change does not bode well for the success of the event or the company.  Without the name of a venue in Oklahoma, how does one purchase tickets.  Furthermore, how will Virginia ticket holders seek a refund? According to a previous report,  a license was issued to Shine Fights by Virginia. This appears to be incorrect.

A necessity in marketing is performing research to ensure that the execution of the promotion is flawless. Failing to check with the Virginia commission to see if fan matchmaking was acceptable was another misstep by a company that has not a good year with putting together events. It is understandable that a young promotion would want to draw fan interest by standing out with a unique event. However, this is the second occasion where planning and attention to detail have fallen short.

We could be in store for another case study on how not to put on an event thanks to Shine Fights. It should be interesting to see what this week brings for Friday’s event.

Questions, Debt Remain from Shine Fights’ “Worlds Collide” event

August 31, 2010

As Shine Fights prepares for its first event since its cancelled show on May 15th, there remain unanswered questions, unfinished business and owed money from the failed “Worlds Collide” event in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Officially, Shine Fights’ May 15th event would have featured a boxer versus MMA fighter as Ricardo Mayorga was set to fight Din Thomas. However, boxing promoter Don King filed an injunction preventing Mayorga from fighting. Despite the injunction, the event could have gone forward. But, according to MMASpot.net, the North Carolina Boxing Authority shut down the event because it was discovered that Shine Fights did not have the requisite cash on hand for the fighter purses. The Authority indicated it was a state requirement for the purse money to be on hand prior to the event.

In its detailed account, MMASpot.net chronicles the problems leading up to the failed “Worlds Collide” event. Details reveal disorganization and chaos leading up to the May 15th event. Not only did Shine Fights misread the litigation threat posed by Don King, it financially overextended itself by failing to pay the venue and its fighters. According to Francis Gilpin of the Fayetteville Observer, the event venue in Fayetteville, the Crown Center, lost $42,000 in anticipation of the event.  The article states that efforts to recover the money from Shine Fights have been fruitless.

In addition to the Crown Center losses, fight officials, a physician and staff were not paid. On top of this debt, fighter salaries estimated to be as much as $75,000 had not been paid.

Many fighters on the card that night speculate that the promoters never had the money.

From MMASpot.net:

Jamal Patterson, who received forty percent of his contracted “show” purse, echoes many of the sentiments shared by other fighters that are still seeking payment, “I don’t think they ever had the money. If they did it would have been at the arena. [Shine Fights CEO] Devin [Price] made promises that he couldn’t keep.”

Shine Fights CEO Devin Price told MMA Junkie in July that all contracts had been fulfilled. Price cited contractual language stating that Shine Fights, “in its discretion,” could pay fighters 25%  of their stated compensation in the event of cancellation.

In an interview with MMA Weekly, Ron Foster, former matchmaker for Shine Fights spoke about the failed May 15th event.

Looking back on it all, Foster knows things could have been handled differently, but he doesn’t point fingers at anyone.

“Yes, I do believe that, but hindsight is always 20/20,” said Foster. “Of course you can look back at a situation after it has already happened and you can say ‘man if we would have done this different, if we would have just done that different,’ so hindsight is 20/20. It definitely could have been prevented.

“It wasn’t just negligence, it was the countless hours put into hyping up the fighters, it was everything. We put so much time and effort into everything; it wasn’t like we just overlooked small details. How does stuff happen that you just couldn’t prepare for?”

MMA Spot notes that some fighter contracts were never signed by Shine Fights officials:

One boxing commission official noted that in addition to the lack of payments to fighters, state commissions, and the venue, the fight contracts placed on file with the N.C.B.A. [North Carolina Boxing Authority] were not signed by the promotion. Whether intentional or unintentional the lack of a signature on the agreements leaves legal holes, in the event that a fighter did take legal action against the promotion.

Payout Perspective:

The detailed account of Shine Fights failed event in May reveals that Don King should not be the scapegoat for the canceling of the event. Based on the accounts, Shine Fights did not have the financial backing to pull off the event. Even though Ron Foster claims that they did not overlook small details, failing to abide by the governing authority’s rules providing fighter purse salaries was a major oversight. It is not clear why the Crown Center has not sued Shine Fights for breach of contract and/or to recover money owed to it. Similarly, I wonder why the fighters and/or their agents have not tried to sue Shine Fights. One can only speculate, based on the portions of the contract released to MMA Junkie,  that the terms in the fighter contract indicate that it was within Shine Fights’ discretion to pay fighters. It would be very interesting to see a fighter contract in its entirety to see the contract terms concerning cancellation.

A basic tenet of a written contract is that it must be signed by a party to the contract in order to make it valid (there are exceptions but are not relevant here). Shine Fights failure to execute its fighter contracts could show a glaring oversight or a willful omission. Certainly, the lack of signature could provide a loophole if a fighter does sue for breach of contract.

Shine Fights give fans chance to pick matchups for PPV

August 24, 2010

Shine Fights announced that its fans will have the chance to vote online to decide first round match-ups for its eight man, one night lightweight grand prix tournament on September 10th. The fights will be on PPV.

From MMA Fan House:

Shine Fights announced its lightweight tournament earlier this month and has added a wrinkle with the fan balloting. In a release from the promotion, Shine said it wants to become “MMA’s most fan-friendly organization” and believes allowing fans to pick the first-round bouts heads it down that path.

The eight competitors for the tournament have already been chosen. But fans can set the matchups they want to see in the first round and e-mail those to GrandPrixPick@Shinefights.com. According to the promotion, the fight combinations that get the most votes will be the ones used in the tournament’s opening quarterfinal round.

“Every MMA organization tells fans what fights they are going to see, even though the fans are the ones paying the money,” said Shine Fights COO Jason Chambers. “We are saying, ‘You are buying the pay-per-view, you are buying the tickets, so you tell us what you want to watch. We feel it’s one of the most unique opportunities fight fans have been given to date.”

Payout Perspective:

The concept of fans choosing matches is not a unique idea. In professional wrestling, the WWE has used a Viewer’s Choice format when deciding match-ups. Fans would go to the WWE web site to vote on what matches they would like to see that night. Of course, since it is pro wrestling once matches are voted on, the outcome is likely discussed and choreographed. Still, the concept of fan interaction is similar.

Since its last attempt at a show failed, Shine has to do something to regain fan interest in its product.

The novelty of playing matchmaker should attract fans. The opportunity to have perceived control over what you watch is appealing from a fan standpoint. One issue that may come up is name recognition. Will a casual MMA fan know these fighters. Although the fighters include vets from other organizations, is that enough. Will Shine promote the eight fighters so that there can be some semblance or reasoning when picking the match-ups.

Shine hopes that the marketing strategy of a one night, survive and advance, winner take all tournament will give fans a reason to purchase tickets and the PPV.