Saturday, January 29, 2011

Strikeforce Main Card Fight Predictions

I have not been having much luck with my predictions lately and I was conflicted with a couple of these fights, e.g., Lawler Jacare and Gracie Prangley.  Also, I am being unusually KO/TKO happy.

Nonetheless, here they are courtesy of Tapology:

My Strikeforce Predictions

My predictions for all of tonight's fights are here.

Fight Lawyer

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Shannon Briggs Sues Promoter and Others For, Among Other Things, Allegedly Failing to Pay $750,000 For Klitschko Fight

As reported earlier at Fightnews.com (hat tip Lorin C.) in a thorough article, Shannon Briggs filed a lawsuit against Gregory D. Cohen, Shelly Finkel, Barry Honig, The Empire Sports and Entertainment Co. and the Empire Sports & Entertainment Holdings, Co. asserting purported claims for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, conversion, and unjust enrichment. 

I don't have much to add to the Fightnews.com article, but here is a link to the complaint.


Fight Lawyer

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Oral Argument on Motions to Dismiss in Pacquiao v. Mayweather et al. Set for March 2011

Following up on my many posts concerning Pacquiao's defamation action against Floyd Mayweather Jr., Floyd Mayweather Sr., Roger Mayweather, Mayweather Promotions, LLC, Richard Schaefer, and Oscar De La Hoya that is pending in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada (one of my more recent posts is available here), today the Court scheduled oral argument on the motions to dismiss for March 3, 2011 at 1:30 p.m. in Reno, NV. 

For those interested, my analysis of the motions (and my take on the merits of the arguments) is available here, here, here, and here.

I will continue to monitor.

Fight Lawyer

Former TapouT Employee Received $3.2M Jury Award in Wrongful Termination Case

Following up on my earlier post, Former TapouT Employee's Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Set for Trial in January - Claims Against Kreiner Dismissed, according to the Beverley Hills Courier, the former employee, Michelle Thomas "was today awarded $2.4 million in punitive damages by a Los Angeles Superior Court jury." 

According to the article, "[t]he panel deliberated for about a half-hour before finding in favor of Michelle Thomas in her wrongful termination case. The same panel on Monday awarded her $840,000 in compensatory damages, bringing her total award to more than $3.2 million."

Consistent with the allegations in the complaint, the article provides that Thomas testified "that employees were told to pay out of their own pocket for any television subscriptions needed to view the company's show on the Versus cable network, called 'TapouT,' as well as pay-per-view Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts."

Fight Lawyer

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Another (much bigger) Victory For Zuffa -- Bellator's Motion to Dismiss Denied

I have previously posted on Zuffa's lawsuit against Bellator and Pavia -- a post with earlier links is here, and, most recently posted on the Court's denial of Bellator's motion to stay discovery pending resolution of  Bellator's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.

As I noted in my most recent post:
I will keep monitoring to see how the Court resolves Bellator's motion to dismiss, but my prediction based on this ruling (specifically, the "viable argument" language above) is that the Court is going to deny Bellator's motion.
My prediction (unlike my Tapology predictions recently) was correct.  Specifically, on January 24, 2011 the Court entered an Order denying Bellator's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.

The Court first analyzed the general jurisdiction issue (my earlier post describing this argument can be found here) and found that "Zuffa has failed to meet its burden of showing that these [Bellator's] contacts are sufficiently substantial or continuous and systematic that it would be reasonable for Bellator to anticipate being sued in Nevada." 

Specifically, the Court (1) found "that Bellator’s website alone is insufficient to establish general jurisdiction;" (2) was also "not persuaded that the exercise of jurisdiction was proper based on the fact that "Bellator has entered into contracts with fighters who reside in Nevada;" and (3) found that "the fact that Bjorn Rebney, Bellator’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, once attended an MMA awards show held in Las Vegas, Nevada . . . and that one of the recently-crowned “Bellator Girls,” winners of a contest put on by Bellator, is a resident of Nevada" were insufficient contacts to establish general jurisdiction.

Next, the Court turned to specific jurisdiction question and determined that Zuffa had carried its burden. 

The Court found, inter alia, that:
Bellator committed an intentional act because Mr. Rebney, Bellator’s CEO, allegedly sent an e-mail to Ken Pavia, a sports agent that heads MMA Agents, wherein he requests Pavia to re-send all the 'seminal' documents from UFC so that Bellator could alter them enough to use them in its business. This alleged email is sufficient to establish an intentional act, and weighs toward purposeful direction under the Calder test.
In this case, Bellator knew that its conduct was targeting Zuffa because the e-mail giving rise to Zuffa’s alleged injuries shows that Bellator was trying to appropriate all of the seminal documents used by UFC in conducting its business in Nevada. Therefore, because Bellator knew that Zuffa is based in Nevada, the Court finds that Zuffa has met its burden in establishing the express aiming requirement.
Thus, the alleged misappropriation and use of Zuffa’s confidential documents would certainly cause Zuffa harm in Nevada. Whether or not Zuffa suffers more harm in other states is irrelevant. Therefore, the Court finds that Zuffa has suffered harm in Nevada.
In this case, Zuffa’s alleged injuries resulted from Bellator’s purported misappropriation of Zuffa’s confidential and proprietary information. Thus, the Court can easily conclude that but for Bellator’s conduct, Zuffa would not have suffered its alleged injuries. As such, the Court finds that Zuffa’s claims arise out of Bellator’s alleged forum-related activities.

The Court next analyzed the reasonableness prong, i.e. "the defendant must ‘[present a compelling case that the presence of some other considerations would render jurisdiction unreasonable]’ in order to defeat personal jurisdiction,” and determined that Bellator had not met its burden in proving unreasonableness.

Finally, the Court addressed "fairness" and found "that both the 'minimum contacts' and 'fairness'requirements of International Shoe are satisfied, and denie[d] Bellator’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.


Fight Lawyer

Friday, January 21, 2011

Zuffa Files Lawsuit Against Justin.tv -- Quick Analysis of Justin.tv's Likely DMCA Defense

As part of its ongoing Piracy battle I described in greater detail over at MMAPayout, according to MMAWeekly.com, Zuffa issued a press release today providing that it had filed a lawsuit against Justin.tv

According to the post at MMAWeekly:
Zuffa, LLC, owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship brand announced on Friday that it filed a lawsuit against Justin.tv, Inc. for copyright and trademark infringement in United States District Court for the District of Nevada arising from Justin.tv’s alleged repeated and ongoing failure to meaningfully address the rampant and illegal uploading of video of live Pay-Per-View UFC events by members and users of the Justin.tv website.
I have not seen the complaint, but you may recall that last year Zuffa served a subpoena on Justin.tv under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act seeking:
Documents or electronically stored information in possession of or available to Justin.tv sufficient to allow Zuffa, LLC to identify the infringer(s) who made available for streaming on Justin.tv the video recordings described in the Notice of Copyright infringement attached as Exhibit A.
Thus, last year Zuffa was seeking the identity of individuals or entities providing (i.e. uploading) the allegedly illegal stream to the Justin.tv site.

Now it appears Zuffa is attempting to go after the site where the allegedly illegal stream was posted.  Notably, this is not the first time that Zuffa has been involved in an action seeking to hold a party liable for displaying what it alleges are infringing videos. 

Specifically (and as set forth in my article at MMAPayout), Zuffa (with other interested parties) filed an amicus brief in the Viacom International, Inc. et al. v. Youtube, Inc. and Google, Case No. 1:07-CV-02103-LLS, (S.D.N.Y. 2007), arguing that the DMCA “safe harbor provision” should be read more narrowly to preclude service providers who intentionally and knowingly facilitate copyright infringement on the Internet.

In Viacom, the plaintiffs were arguing that defendants (YouTube and Google) would only take down copyrighted videos after being asked to do so and that this put the burden of policing content on the copyright holder and allowed defendants’ site users to post the infringing copies again as soon as they were removed.

Defendants relied on the “safe harbor” provision of the DMCA and argued that as long as they quickly removed allegedly infringing third-party posted content after being informed of its existence, they were shielded from liability. 

Defendants prevailed as the Court held that they were entitled to the DMCA's "‘safe harbor’ protection against all of plaintiffs’ direct and secondary infringement claims, including claims for ‘inducement’ contributory liability, because they had insufficient notice, under the DMCA, of the particular infringements in suit.”

As set forth in the article at MMAWeekly:
“'Zuffa has attempted to work on numerous occasions with Justin.tv over nearly a two-year period to encourage it to prevent or limit its infringing activities,” Zuffa’s Las Vegas attorney, Donald J. Campbell said. “Regrettably, Justin.tv has not only turned a blind eye to the massive online piracy occurring on its website, we believe it has actually induced its users to commit copyright infringement thus leaving Zuffa no alternative but to take this fight to the courts.'”
Here (with the caveat that I have not reviewed the complaint and don't know the specific allegations contained therein), based on the press release I predict Justin.tv will, like the defendants in Viacom, seek the protection of the DMCA "safe harbor." 

According to Justin.tv's website:
Justin.tv is the easiest way to create live video and show anyone in the world what's happening right now. Using only a laptop, you can share your event, class, party or thoughts, live, to anyone in over 250 countries while they chat in real-time with you and with other viewers. Justin.tv makes it fun, easy and fast to gather and engage with a live audience.
Thus, Justin.tv, like YouTube, allows users to generate and post content.  While YouTube allows posting of videos and Justin.tv allows streaming, I do not think this distinction is necessarily determinative in the DMCA analysis. 

Moreover, like YouTube and Google, Justin.tv's website also provides what appears to be a DMCA compliant notification guideline

The Viacom case is currently on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the decision of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York is not precedential in the District of Nevada.

Interesting case and I will continue to monitor.

Fight Lawyer

Incredible Read Re TapouT Acquisition, PEMGroup, "Mask" Estate and Orange County Public Administrator

Following up on my earlier coverage concerning the TapouT Sale to Authentic Brands Group, the subsequent lawsuit by two individuals with TapouT membership interests against Tapout, LLC, Authentic Brands Group, LLC, Leonard Green & Partners L.P., ABG Tapout, LLC, Marc Kreiner, Daniel Caldwell et al. arising from the acquisition, and the issues surrounding "Mask's" estate and the Orange County Public Administrator, on January 20, 2011, the Orange County Register published an in-depth article addressing all of these issues

Some interesting (and odd) things to note from the article:

According to the attorney for the public administrator, “'[a]ll the other major shareholders agreed to the sale, including the receiver for the PEM Group (appointed by the Federal Court), whose counsel told us that they had an audit of TapouT and believed that the company was about to collapse financially and the sale to ABG was the only option.'”

"But by then, it was too late. The public administrator had already agreed to sell TapouT at a price other shareholders would later call 'pennies on the dollar.' It sold Lewis' Bentley and Mercedes-Benz for $58,000 less than their appraised values, and paid $45,000 to Lewis' former business partners for funeral expenses they promised to provide for free, court records and interviews show."


"As Larson's attorneys struggled to get their case heard, Williams' [Public Administrator's] office spent $20,345 repairing and detailing Lewis' Bentley GT Touring and Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG, towing them around the county before eventually selling them for $58,000 less than their appraised values. The county even lost money on the dead man's rare pet, an eel called a Hawaiian dragon, spending $780 to feed and care for the fish for a year, then finally selling it for $250."

The entire article is definitely worth a read.

Fight Lawyer

Thursday, January 13, 2011

UFC Post MSG Press Conference Press Release

For Immediate Release:

Jan. 13, 2011

UFC® CHAIRMAN AND CEO LORENZO FERTITTA AND UFC PRESIDENT DANA WHITE COMMIT TO MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, PLAN AT LEAST TWO ANNUAL UFC EVENTS IN NEW YORK ONCE SPORT IS REGULATED IN THE STATE

New Economic Impact Study Finds Regulating Mixed Martial Arts in Empire State Would Bring Hundreds of Jobs, More Than $23 Million Annually

New York, N.Y.– UFC® Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta and President Dana White today unveiled plans to bring at least two UFC events to New York within the first year the sport is regulated in the state, including one to be held at Madison Square Garden. Joined at a press conference at The World’s Most Famous Arena by UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and Scott O’Neil, President of Madison Square Garden Sports, White expressed his desire to finally bring UFC to the Empire State.

“It’s time to bring the fastest growing sport in the world to New York and Madison Square Garden,” White said. “We already know that New York is filled with UFC fans who want to see live UFC events in their home state. With the economic benefits that UFC would bring to New York, it’s time for UFC to do Madison Square Garden.”

“We are thrilled that Dana and the UFC are so committed to New York,” O’Neil said. “UFC and its passionate fans have a home here at Madison Square Garden, and we look forward to welcoming them as soon as the sport is regulated in New York. We have no doubt that UFC would be enormously popular at The Garden and a great addition to our lineup of world class sports and entertainment events.”

In addition to announcing plans to hold two annual UFC events in New York, UFC officials released the findings of a new economic study today.

“We’ve done similar economic studies in major cities such as Boston, Las Vegas and Philadelphia and each showed the substantial positive impact hosting a UFC event has on the local economy,” Fertitta said. “This study shows that by regulating MMA, New York can reap the economic benefits statewide.”

The study found that holding two UFC events in the state (one at Madison Square Garden and one in Buffalo) will create roughly $16 million in new spending. Additionally, the study found smaller MMA operators will likely hold events that would bring an additional $4 million. In total, $23 million of annual new spending and hundreds of new jobs will be created in the local economy by regulating MMA.

Many UFC fans travel from surrounding states, stay for extended periods (at least one night at a hotel), and often arrive hours early for fights, which boosts merchandise and concession sales. New York-based MMA gyms and related industries are also expected to see an increase in revenue from the regulation of the sport. Likewise, local businesses will benefit greatly from MMA bouts, particularly outside of New York City where the economic influx is proportionally greater. This trend follows that of surrounding states which currently regulate MMA fights.

"By bringing UFC events to New York, the state will see a positive financial impact,” White said. “The arenas will get to host major UFC events and local hotels, restaurants, and other businesses will attract new customers. They’ll look forward to the times we bring UFC to New York.”

“I grew up in New Jersey, so fighting in New York City at Madison Square Garden has always been a dream,” Edgar said. “Some of the greatest sports events ever have been held at MSG and it would be an honor to fight in New York. I know the fans here are hungry for it.”

The full economic impact study is available at www.mmafacts.com/econstudy

Legislation to allow the New York State Athletic Commission to regulate MMA was included in the Executive Budget, passed the State Senate, and passed the New York Assembly Tourism Committee and Codes Committee for the second year in a row. Currently 44 other U.S. states regulate MMA, including Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, where UFC will host an event at the Prudential Center in Newark on March 19.

For more information, or current UFC fight news, visit UFC.com.

Ultimate Fighting Championship® - www.ufc.com

Owned and operated by Zuffa, LLC, and headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., UFC® produces over twelve UFC live Pay-Per-View events annually and 30 live arena events around the world. UFC programming is distributed in the United States on Viacom, Inc.’s Spike TV and on Comcast, Inc.’s VERSUS network. UFC content is distributed commercially through Joe Hand Promotions in the U.S. and Canadastar in Canada. Globally, UFC programming is broadcast in over 145 countries and territories, reaching 354 million homes worldwide, in 19 different languages. Ancillary businesses now include UFC.com with over 5 million unique visitors per month, the best-selling UFC “Undisputed” videogame franchise distributed by THQ, UFC Gym™, UFC Fight Club affinity program, UFC Fan Expo™ festivals, branded apparel, trading cards, articulated action figures and other media including best-selling DVDs and a U.S. bimonthly magazine.

Ultimate Fighting Championship®, Ultimate Fighting®, UFC®, The Ultimate Fighter®, Submission®, As Real As It Gets®, Zuffa®, The Octagon™ and the eight-sided competition mat and cage design are registered trademarks, registered service marks, trademarks, trade dress and/or service marks owned exclusively by Zuffa, LLC and licensed to its affiliated entities and other licensees in the United States and other jurisdictions. All other marks referenced herein may be the property of Zuffa, LLC, its affiliates or other respective owners.

UFC Press Conference Today at MSG -- Will It Be All About Money?

I will be attending the UFC press conference today at MSG -- a link to the media advisory is here -- and am interested to hear the results of the latest economic impact study.  The press conference will be streamed live and is available here at 2 p.m. ET via Bloody Elbow

As you may know, I do not believe economics should be driving this debate and I do not think MMA will be legalized on this basis alone. 

As you may recall, Zuffa commissioned an earlier “economic” study estimating impact to the state if MMA was legalized, i.e. a figure that would include economic impact to hotels, restaurants, bars, venues, employment to staff and organize events etc.  The earlier study estimated these amounts at $11.3M for an event “Downstate” and $5.3M for an event held “Upstate.”  At that time, Zuffa estimated putting on 2-3 events in New York a year.

These numbers will, I am sure, be higher in the latest study and particularly if the study attempts to look beyond impact to the state based purely on UFC events, e.g., Strikeforce, King of the Cage, etc.  Strikeforce will be making what I believe is its East Coast debut on February 12, 2011 in New Jersey.


Whether the new number will cause anyone in Albany to change his/her opinion on whether the sport should be legalized is anyone's guess, but with an estimate $8-9 billion deficit I don't think the numbers will be all that compelling.
Instead, as I argued in the piece I wrote over at MMAPayout:
While money should not fall from the debate entirely, it is my view that the debate needs to be re-focused with an emphasis on the sport itself. A sport that is simply traditional martial arts (and Olympic sports) rolled into one with a significant, developed body of rules, clear and strict medical requirements and requirements that ambulances and doctors are available at the event, referees that are knowledgeable about the sport, and incredible athletes like Georges St. Pierre, Frankie Edgar, and Randy Couture that understand the sport and know how to defend themselves in all areas, including once the fight hits the ground. . . . the debate can be shifted to focus on some of the real issues that warrant legalization, including, inter alia, the statistical safety of the sport based on experience when properly regulated and when proper medical protocol is followed and the proliferation of underground fight clubs and the safety and welfare issues that these fight clubs present that could be curbed if MMA is legalized.
It is my hope that some of these other issues will be addressed at today's press conference.  I will keep you posted.

Fight Lawyer

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

TapouT Radio Last Night

I was a guest last night on TapouT Radio and we discussed Floyd Mayweather, Chael Sonnen, Zuffa v. Bellator/Pavia, Fedor and M-1 v. Affliction, New York MMA legalization, the New York Mixed Martial Arts Initiative and more. 

Click on the image below for a link to the audio:


 
Fight Lawyer

Monday, January 10, 2011

UFC Press Conference At Madison Square Garden on Thursday

For Immediate Release:


Jan. 7, 2010

*MEDIA ADVISORY*

UFC® President Dana White, Owner Lorenzo Fertitta, Light Heavyweight Champion Frankie Edgar and Light Heavyweight Star Rashad Evans to Announce Commitment to Bring UFC to Madison Square Garden and New York State

New Economic Impact Study Finds Regulating MMA in Empire State Would Bring Millions to NYC and Upstate

Press Conference to be held at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Thursday, Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. ET

Las Vegas, NV– Ultimate Fighting Championship® President Dana White, UFC Owner Lorenzo Fertitta, will join former UFC light heavyweight champion and New York native Rashad Evans, UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and Scott O’Neil, the president of Madison Square Garden Sports, to announce a plan to bring UFC to The World’s Most Famous Arena, as soon as the sport of mixed martial arts is approved in New York.

The press conference will take place Thursday, Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. ET in the Club Bar & Grill at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The UFC will also release a new economic impact study during the press conference which details the economic benefits of regulating MMA in New York State.

Forty-four other states currently regulate the sport, including Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, where Evans will headline the upcoming UFC 128: Shogun vs. Evans event on March 19.

WHO:

• DANA WHITE, UFC President

• LORENZO FERTITTA, UFC Owner

• FRANKIE EDGAR, UFC light heavyweight champion

• RASHAD EVANS, Former UFC light heavyweight champion and New York native

• SCOTT O’NEIL, President of Madison Square Garden Sports

WHAT: Press Conference at Madison Square Garden

WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. ET

WHERE: Madison Square Garden

Club Bar and Grill

Enter through North Concierge at 7th Avenue and 32nd Street

HOW: RSVP to Alex Howe via email: ahowe@globalstrategygroup.com


Ultimate Fighting Championship® - www.ufc.com

Owned and operated by Zuffa, LLC, and headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., UFC® produces over twelve UFC live Pay-Per-View events annually and 30 live arena events around the world. UFC programming is distributed in the United States on Viacom, Inc.’s Spike TV and on Comcast, Inc.’s Versus network. UFC content is distributed commercially through Joe Hand Promotions in the U.S. and Canadastar in Canada. Globally, UFC programming is broadcast in over 147 countries and territories, reaching 430 million homes worldwide, in 19 different languages. Ancillary businesses now include UFC.com with over 5 million unique visitors per month, the best-selling UFC “Undisputed” videogame franchise distributed by THQ, UFC Gym™, UFC Fight Club affinity program, UFC Fan Expo™ festivals, branded apparel, trading cards, articulated action figures and other media including best-selling DVDs and a U.S. bimonthly magazine.



Ultimate Fighting Championship®, Ultimate Fighting®, UFC®, The Ultimate Fighter®, Submission®, As Real As It Gets®, Zuffa®, The Octagon™ and the eight-sided competition mat and cage design are registered trademarks, registered service marks, trademarks, trade dress and/or service marks owned exclusively by Zuffa, LLC and licensed to its affiliated entities and other licensees in the United States and other jurisdictions. All other marks referenced herein may be the property of Zuffa, LLC, its affiliates or other respective owners.





###



Press Contact:

Alex Howe, Global Strategy Group

212.260.8813

ahowe@globalstrategygroup.com



Jennifer Wenk, UFC Public Relations

702.221.4790

jwenk@ufc.com

Guest on TapouT Radio

I will be a guest on TapouT Radio tonight.  SHow starts at 9 p.m. ET.

Jimmy Smith and Dustin Poirier will also be guests.

Tune in!



Fight Lawyer

Friday, January 7, 2011

Affliction M-1/Fedor Litigation Still Kicking -- Dana White Has Been Deposed

Following up on my earlier coverage of the Affliction M-1/Fedor litigation (there had been no new docket activity since October 6, 2010), on January 6, 2011, Fedor Emelianenko and M-1 Nederland b.v. filed an ex parte application for an order altering, amending or clarifying the "Court's January 25, 2010, Civil Minute Order, served on the parties on April 29, 2010, pertaining to the number of depositions allowed per party."


While the application itself is not really interesting (the parties apparently disagree about whether an earlier Court Order meant that the parties combined could conduct 20 depositions or if each party was entitled to 20 depositions), it was interesting to see that, according to Fedor's memorandum of law in support of the application, the deposition of Zuffa, LLC by its "30(b)(6) designees Dana White and Lawrence Epstein" had occurred. 


That Zuffa was deposed by its corporate representatives is not surprising. 

As you may recall, the complaint contained the following allegations concerning Zuffa's termination of Affliction as a sponsor in the UFC:

Affliction is a popular clothing brand which has attained international recognition and prominence through various celebrity and MMA fighter endorsements. Prior to January of 2008, Affliction sponsored Ultimate Fighting Championship ("UFC") events and gained most of its notoriety as a result of UFC fighters-especially UFC World Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture-wearing and endorsing Affliction branded clothing on televised and/or pay-per-view ("PPV") events.  However, in October of 2007, Randy Couture resigned from the UFC, citing as his reason remuneration discontent. The UFC responded in early January, 2008 by suing its heavyweight champion in a Las Vegas court. When the UFC learned Affliction was positioning itself in favor of Couture in this widely-publicized MMA imbroglio, the UFC terminated its relationship with Affliction as a UFC sponsor. The UFC then banned all fighters from wearing or endorsing any Affliction gear at any UFC event or at any time during the terms of their contracts. Not to be deterred, and with the avowed objective of 'crushing' the UFC, Affliction decided to enter the MMA event promotion business.
According to the allegations in the complaint, after Strikeforce agreed to release Brett Rogers to fight on the Affliction Trilogy Card, the following allegedly took place:
Yet, unbeknownst to M-l and Emelianenko, Affliction was, at this very same time, also pursuing a contrary purpose by diligently working to repair its relationship with the UFC. Affliction -speaking out both sides of its mouth - was actively involved in discussions with the UFC regarding a renewed sponsorship deal between Affliction and the UFC at the same time Affliction purportedly was negotiating to obtain a replacement fighter for Affliction: Trilogy. Of course, the resurrection of a sponsorship arrangement between the UFCMMA event promoting business and therefore breach its agreements with M-1 and Emelianenko.  And this is exactly what Affliction did. On July 24, 2009, M-l's corporate legal counsel, Steven Bash, sat inside Affliction's offices awaiting completion of the meeting at which he believed Affliction was making a final decision regarding who would fight Emelianenko in the Affliction: Trilogy event.  Much to Mr. Bash's surprise, Affliction's principals were not meeting in regard to finding a replacement Affliction: Trilogy fighter. They were meeting with the UFC to finalize their own sponsorship deal.
Would be interesting to see a copy of the deposition transcript.

Fight Lawyer

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Sued (Again) By Nevada Community Association

It seems the legal drama continues to grow for Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

On January 4, 2011, The Estates at Southern Highlands Golf Club Community Association ("Association") filed a complaint against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. ("Mayweather") in Clark County District Court for (among other things) allegedly "physically accosting" a security guard and "threatening the life of a patrol officer." 

According to the allegations in the complaint, Mayweather resides at a property within the Association "and, as such, is subject to and governed by the restrictive covenants contained within that certain Supplemental Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions and Reservation of Easements for the Estates at Southern Highlands Golf Club (the "Declaration"), recorded in the Clark County Recorder's Office on July 11, 2000, in Book No. 20000711, as Instrument No. 01727."

Plaintiff alleges that Mayweather has "engaged in, and continues to engage in, conduct which has resulted in several violations of the use restrictions as set forth in the Declaration, and the Association's Rules and Regulations."

Specifically, plaintiff alleges as follows:
Since October 2010, Defendant has repeatedly engaged in hostile, harassing and threatening behavior towards and against certain employees and security personnel employed by the Association and the Community, including but not limited to, threatening the life of a patrol officer, physically accosting a security officer, refusing to provide identity to gate officers, refusing to obtain a transponder to gain access to the Association, refusing to place identification decals upon his vehicles, physically entering the Gate House to gain access to the Association, entering the Association through the exit gate and seeking entrance to the main gate with commercial vehicles. 
Plaintiff asserts claims for "Violation of Restrictive Covenant" and "Declaratory Judgment" and asks in its prayer for relief, inter alia:
3.  For an injunction ordering Defendant to display his identification to security to gain access to the Association;
4. For an injunction ordering Defendant to remain inside of the vehicle at the gate at all times when seeking accessing the Association; and

5. For an injunction ordering Defendant to refrain from threatening, yelling, or harassing security, and will otherwise comport himself at all times in a reasonable manner.
Fight Lawyer

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bellator Suffers First (Small) Defeat In Nevada Litigation with Zuffa

Following up on my earlier coverage of Zuffa's lawsuit against Bellator and Pavia -- my most recent post with earlier links is here, on November 8, 2010, Bellator filed a motion to stay discovery pending resolution of its motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction

Essentially, Bellator argued that it was likely to prevail on its jurisdictional motion and so to avoid unnecessary expense to Bellator, the Court should order that discovery not take place while it resolved the motion.  Zuffa obviously opposed arguing that the jurisdictional motion was not likely to prevail and that the inconvenience of some discovery (and expense) would not be overly burdensome.

On January 3, 2011, the Court sided with Zuffa and denied Bellator's motion to stay discovery.

The Court summarized the case as follows:
This case involves, among other things, allegations of trade secret violations between entities involved in the organization and promotion of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) sporting events. Currently, Defendant Bellator’s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction (#8) is pending before the Court. Bellator seeks to stay discovery during the pendency of that motion.  Plaintiff, Zuffa, opposes the motion.
After citing the relevant standard, the Court held as follows:
Here, lack of personal jurisdiction is not so clear that discovery would serve no purpose.  A viable argument exists for this Court to exercise its jurisdiction over Defendants in this case.  Defendants have not identified good cause for the Court to protect them from discovery. Some inconvenience and expense is not sufficient to establish good cause. Twin City Fire, 124 F.R.D. at 653. Filing a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction that may or may not be granted is not extraordinary justification for a stay of discovery. If such were the case, delays in civil cases would be numerous. That result would be contrary to the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding. FED. R. CIV. P. 1.
I will keep monitoring to see how the Court resolves Bellator's motion to dismiss, but my prediction based on this ruling (specifically, the "viable argument" language above) is that the Court is going to deny Bellator's motion.

Fight Lawyer

Monday, January 3, 2011

Chael Sonnen Guilty Plea

On December 28, 2010 the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon filed a one-count Superceding Information against Chael Patrick Sonnen for alleged money laundering.

Specifically, in relevant part the Superceding Information provided the following allegations:
On or about June 20, 2006, in the District of Oregon, CHAEL PATRICK SONNEN, defendant herein, did knowingly conduct and attempt to conduct a financial transaction affecting interstate commerce, to wit, he caused a check in the amount of $69,091.53 to be issued and negotiated from a bank account at U.S. Bank, which involved the proceeds of a specified unlawful activity, that is wire fraud. Defendant further knew that the financial transaction was designed in whole or in part to conceal or disguise the ownership and control of the proceeds of wire fraud, to wit, defendant and others devised and intended to devise a material scheme and artifice to defraud Decision One Mortgage, and to obtain money and property from Decision One Mortgage by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises, and that while conducting and attempting to conduct such financial transaction, defendant knew that the property involved in the financial transaction represented the proceeds of the unlawful activity, wire fraud.
As reported here (hat tip Luke Thomas), Chael Sonnen pled guilty today in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, Portland Division. 

Specifically, the minute entry of the Court provides as follows:
Minutes of Proceedings: Arraignment and Entry of Plea Hearing held on 1/3/2011 before Judge Michael W. Mosman as to Defendant Chael Patrick Sonnen. Defendant arraigned on 1-count Superseding Information. Defendant waived formal reading of the Superseding Information. Defendant advised of rights regarding Waiver of Indictment. Waiver of Indictment signed and filed by the court. Defendant sworn and examined. Plea Petition and Plea Agreement signed and accepted by the Court. Government summarized charges and terms of plea agreement. Court finds defendant capable and competent to enter plea. Guilty plea entered to 1-count Superseding Information. Court finds guilty plea to be knowing and voluntary. ORDER - Presentence Report to be prepared by U.S. Probation. ORDER - Defendant shall remain on pretrial release pending sentencing. Sentencing is set for 3/28/2011 at 11:30AM in Judge Mosman's Courtroom before Judge Michael W. Mosman. Counsel Present for Plaintiff: Michelle Kerin. Counsel Present for Defendant: Ronald Hoevet. (Court Reporter: Nancy Walker) (mjp) (Entered: 01/03/2011)
As set forth above, sentencing is set for March 28, 2011.

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

UFC 125 Picks

Here are my UFC 125 picks over at Tapology.


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Happy New Year From Times Square

Happy and healthy new year everyone. 

Here is a short video I shot last night as we made our way to Times Square (we had a police escort so managed to avoid standing out in the cold all day) to watch the ball drop.



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