Friday, October 22, 2010

Bellator's Reply In Support Of Its Motion To Dismiss -- Rebney Says Bellator Deliberately Avoids Nevada Because He Claims "UFC Has A Reputation For Attempting To Ruthlessly Block Competition"

I just got through reading Bellator's reply to Zuffa's response to its motion to dismiss.  I have previously written about this case in my posts, My Take on Zuffa's Lawsuit Against Pavia and Bellator, Bellator Removes Zuffa's Nevada Action to Federal Court, Bellator Files A Motion to Dismiss Zuffa's Complaint, and Zuffa Responds To Bellator's Motion To Dismiss in Pavia Action.

As you probably guessed, in its reply brief Bellator largely attempts to downplay its (and Rebney's) alleged contacts with Nevada. 

Specifically, Bellator argues, inter alia, that:
  • "Zuffa does not even allege that substantial tickets to Bellator events are purchased by Nevada residents, and as the Rebney Declaration attests, visitors of the website are not even able to purchase tickets directly through the Bellator site."
  • "the fact that 6 out of the hundreds of fighters with which Bellator signed contracts currently reside in or train out of Las Vegas does not demonstrate that Bellator serves the Nevada markets or conducts business in the state sufficient to establish general jurisdiction."   
  • "all of Bellator’s contracts designate a choice of law and jurisdiction other than Nevada’s."
  • "The further fact that one woman who spends part of her time in Las Vegas, won a contest to become a “Bellator girl,” and that Mr. Rebney once traveled to Las Vegas to attend a single awards show present such attenuated “contacts” with Nevada as to barely warrant discussion."
The most interesting part of Bellator's latest filing, in my opinion at least, comes from Bjorn Rebney's affidavit in support of the motion. 

First, is this statement:
Bellator early on made a policy decision to stay out of Nevada. This decision was based upon the fact that we did not wish to compete with the UFC there and because the UFC has a reputation for attempting to ruthlessly block competition. As a cost/benefit analysis it simply was not worth it to attempt to enter the Nevada market.
Second, is Rebney's explanation concerning an "inadvertent error" in a prior filing:
I believe it fair to correct an inadvertent error in a prior filing. I did not believe that any fighter under contract to Bellator as an independent contractor was a resident of Nevada. This is because I believed we had never conducted negotiations for the services of any fighters in Nevada and I assumed that they were located where their managers/agents were located. I did not even recognize the name of Jessica Rakoczy out of the hundreds of fighters with whom we have contracted. However, in checking, it is true that some were or are Nevada residents. I do not believe that contracting with a Nevada resident through negotiations which occur elsewhere for services to take place in other jurisdictions give rise to jurisdiction in Nevada, nor would the described contract with Ms. Rakoczy.
Finally, is Rebney's explanation concerning the now infamous email in the complaint:
Plaintiffs seem to be making bootstrap argument that since I allegedly sought documents that they allege to be confidential and since they are based in Nevada that somehow creates jurisdiction. First, I absolutely deny seeking what I understood to be confidential documents and I absolutely deny receiving the contracts of any fighter then contracted to the UFC.

Fight Lawyer