Thursday, June 30, 2011

Brett Rogers Arrested & Charged with 4 Counts, Including Domestic Assault by Strangulation

Coming off his loss to Josh Barnett, Brett Rogers has been arrested and charged with Assault in the Third Degree, Domestic Assault by Strangulation, Pattern of Stalking Conduct, and Endangerment of a Child arising from allegations of domestic abuse.

The Complaint (hat tip Bloody Elbow) is a disturbing read.

Fight Lawyer

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Golden Boy Top Rank Lawsuit Arising From Profits Generated from Pacquiao Events Dismissed

I have previously written about the litigation Golden Boy commenced against Top Rank et al. here and here.

Dan Rafael summarized the lawsuit when it was filed in relevant part as follows:
Golden Boy Promotions sued bitter rival promotional powerhouse Top Rank, its chairman, Bob Arum, and chief financial officer David Lopez in federal court Tuesday, accusing them of racketeering and millions of dollars in fraud.  Arum denied the allegations.  The 23-page suit filed in U.S. District Court in Nevada, and obtained by, accuses Arum of a pattern of purposefully trying to hide millions of dollars Top Rank allegedly owes Golden Boy related to money generated from three Manny Pacquiao fights.
Top Rank then filed a motion to compel arbitration pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. §§ 2, 6 3 & 4, "on the grounds that (a) in June 2007, Top Rank and plaintiff Golden Boy Promotions entered into a term sheet agreement ("the Term Sheet"); (b) the Term Sheet is a valid agreement that involves and affects interstate commerce; (c) the Term Sheet contains several arbitration provisions, including one that says, '[t]he parties agree that Judge Weinstein shall have binding jurisdiction over any and all disputes arising out of this agreement'; (d) the Complaint in this matter alleges controversies arising out the Term Sheet; and, therefore, (e) the issues raised in the Complaint are 'referable to arbitration.'"

That motion was fully submitted (i.e. fully briefed) in November 2010.

On June 3, 2011 the parties filed a stipulation of dismissal of the action with prejudice that was so-Ordered on June 6, 2011.  

As you may recall, earlier this month Pacquiao also settled his defamation lawsuit with Golden Boy.

Seems like the bad blood could be behind these two feuding promoters. 

Hopefully, this means we will get to see some great fights.

Fight Lawyer

Monday, June 20, 2011

MMA in New York Not Happening in 2011--Stalls in Ways & Means Committee Again

As predicted (and as in past years), the MMA bill has again stalled in the New York State Assembly after passing the New York Senate and overwhelmingly passing the two committees where it was debated in the Assembly--Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development and Codes. 

Unfortunately, the next committee in the process, Ways & Means, has issued its Agenda on this last day of the legislative session and it does not include the bill that would legalize MMA in New York. 

While the legislative session could go a few days longer -- until Wednesday or Thursday perhaps -- the bill would still need to pass through W&M and Rules before going to the floor for a vote.  This is not going to happen as Herman Farrell, Chair of Ways & Means, has voiced his distaste for MMA:
The Ways and Means chairman said that he’s “looking at” the bill, but said he’s far from a mixed-martial arts fan.  “I don’t think very much of the sport,” Farrell said. “Next we’ll give them clubs with spikes on the end; that will be good.”
Moreover, Sheldon Silver, Chair of Rules and Speaker of the Assembly, has stated that he is not "enamored" with the sport.

Despite the setback, there is some room for optimism this year.  Indeed, there was more mainstream media attention to the issue, which I believe and have previously written will be critical if we are going to get this done.  Moreover, the votes (when votes occurred) were more favorable to MMA than past years.

The fight resumes in 2012.

Fight Lawyer  

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Court Denies Summary Judgment Motions in Affliction M-1/Fedor Litigation--Interesting Read

On June 7, 2011, Judge Margaret M. Morrow denied the parties cross-motions for summary judgment in the Affliction v. M-1/Fedor litigation.  I have previously posted about the litigation -- most recently here.

The 55 page decision is a VERY interesting read especially with respect to the facts surrounding the "Trilogy" non-event -- in particular the discussions and ultimate agreement between Affliction and the UFC.

Below are some of the interesting points -- note the chronology.

As set forth in the Court's decision, at a "July 13, 2009 meeting, Bassiri and Lawrence Epstein, UFC’s general counsel, discussed the possibility that UFC would assume responsibility for the Trilogy show and postpone it to September 19, 2009, in Dallas.  Bassiri told Epstein that Affliction Promotions wanted to leave the MMA promotion business and re-establish its relationship with the UFC."

According to the decision, "[o]n July 21, 2009, M-1 learned from Affliction that the California State Athletic Commission would not renew Josh Barnett’s license because he had tested positive for the use of steroids."

Then, "[o]n July 22, 2009, Atencio offered [Brett] Rogers $500,000 to replace Barnett as Emelianenko’s opponent at the August 1, 2009 Trilogy event," but "Strikeforce, with whom Rogers then had a promotional contract, was not willing to release him from his contract to fight in the Trilogy event, however."

"[O]n July 23, 2009, Strikeforce released Rogers to fight in the event.  By that time, however, Affliction Promotions had decided to cancel Trilogy.  At 4:00 p.m. that day, Affliction concluded a deal with UFC."

As set forth in the decision, that agreement provided, in part, as follows:
Paragraph 1 of the UFC/Affliction agreement provided: "[E]xcept for any rights that [Affliction] has with respect to Fedor Emelianenko (‘Fedor’) and conditioned upon [Affliction] . . . assign[ing] the agreements between [Affliction] and the [Affliction] Fighters to the UFC, the UFC agrees to assume [Affliction]’s responsibility for payment of the entire purse of the Affliction Trilogy Event which [Affliction] represents is not in excess of $741,000 purse and $370,000 win bonus. . . ."  Paragraph 2 stated that "[w]ith respect to Fedor, in the event the UFC is able to come to an agreement with Fedor on terms and conditions satisfactory to the UFC, the UFC shall assume responsibility for payments of Fedor’s purse for the Affliction Trilogy event or cause Fedor to release [Affliction] from its agreement with Fedor."  Paragraph 6 required that Affliction Promotions cancel the Trilogy event.
According to the decision, "[p]rior to the time M-1 learned of the cancellation, it had put Emelianenko on his scheduled flight to Los Angeles, and given him footage of both Rogers and Vitor Belfort so that he could study the fighters while in flight.  Emelianenko did not learn that Trilogy had been cancelled until he arrived at Los Angeles International Airport with thirty fans from Russia."

Here is the decision:

Affliction SJ Decision

Fight Lawyer

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Letter From Assemblyman Murray to Assembly Speaker Silver Urging Advancement of MMA Bill in New York to Assembly Floor Vote

As I had mentioned in earlier posts, there was a letter that went to Assembly Speaker Silver (cc to Ways & Means Chairman, Herman Farrell) urging him to advance the bill legalizing MMA in New York to the Assembly floor for an up or down vote.  The letter hits all of the major points in favor of legalization, including curbing the unregulated, underground fights that are already occurring in New York.

Here is a copy of the letter (hat tip, Times Union, Capitol Confidential):


Fight Lawyer

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dana White's Opinion Piece in the New York Daily News

In what is evidently a final push by Zuffa in its effort to get MMA legalized in New York this year, today Dana White has an opinion piece in the New York Daily News, N.Y., stop fighting this sport: Mixed martial arts is safe -- and our economy needs the kick.

In the Op-Ed, Dana White states that MMA is a "safe and respectable" sport that he argues is "every bit as legitimate as boxing or professional football."  He includes this necessary disclaimer:
I won't pretend to be objective. I run the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the single most popular MMA promotion company. While I think that our fans here in New York and the city would profit immensely from legalization, it will also certainly affect my bottom line.

The piece tackles safety issues and, of course, the financials.  Notably missing is any discussion of the underground fights that are currently taking place in the state and how legalization could help curb the unregulated bouts. 

Bottom line, additional (positive) attention to the issue is a good thing.  That said, Assembly Speaker Silver basically indicated last week that the bill will die again in committee this year. Roma Locuta Est, Causa Finita Est.

Fight Lawyer

Saturday, June 11, 2011

UFC 131 Fight Predictions

Here are my fight predictions below. I had a tough time with the Florian fight--I think it could go either way, but ultimately went with Nunes due to the weight cut.

My UFC 131 Fight Predictions

Fight Lawyer

Friday, June 10, 2011

HDNet Segment on MMA in New York

Well done piece by the folks at HDNet covering both sides of the debate, including the union issue (hat tip Josh Gross and @Jayspage):

Fight Lawyer

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 Radio Show

Here is today's Radio show -- I was a guest (at around the 20 minute mark) talking the latest on MMA in New York.  Specifically, I discussed the latest statement from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on the topic.

Fight Lawyer

Assembly Speaker Silver's Words Likely Mean the End of the Bill to Legalize MMA in New York this Year

Ultimate fighting legislation not going to happen in New York, Silver says

If you follow this blog you know by now that Sheldon Silver can make or break legislation in New York. That is why it is so troubling to hear this quote (at the link above):
"There does not appear to be widespread support in the Assembly for this legislation," Silver said when asked if the proposal would be approved before the June 20 end of the legislative session.
This language essentially tracks words used by Assemblyman Englebright -- the MMA bill's sponsor in the Assembly -- for the past two-years

This does not bode will for the bill this year as it would seem to corroborate my belief that the bill would stall out in committee again this year.

One has to wonder why support is lacking given that the bill overwhelmingly passed out of the Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development Committee in the New York Assembly by a vote of 17-3 (note, Steven Marrocco, who spoke to Assemblyman Englebright's office, has indicated that the vote was 16-3) earlier this week.

Further, I am told that approximately 60 assembly members had signed on to a letter (drafted by Assemblyman Murray) voicing their support to have the bill moved through committee and to the full floor for a vote before the end of the legislative session.

In any event, I am sad to say that Speaker Silver has spoken and has, likely, handed the death sentence to the bill this year.

Fight Lawyer

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Capitol Confidential » MMA moving along, Reilly swings back

Capitol Confidential » MMA moving along, Reilly swings back

Link contains Reilly's response to the fact that the MMA bill passed (overwhelmingly) out of his committee yesterday:
The Assembly Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development voted MMA legislation (A.4146) out of its committee today. I am deeply disappointed that this legislation was successful in committee, however, it this has not deterred my campaign to keep this dangerous sport out of New York State. The Tourism Committee also passed the bill last year but it was not passed by the full Assembly.

I believe my Assembly colleagues will continue to vote ‘NO’ to an excessively violent activity that has no place in civilized society. We’ve come too far to turn our state into a veritable coliseum. The New York State Assembly will continue its efforts to eradicate all types of violence in our State and will not implicitly condone violence by legalizing ultimate fighting
Fight Lawyer

Monday, June 6, 2011

Bill to Legalize MMA in New York Passes Vote in Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development Committee Overwhelmingly

ESPN's Josh Gross is reporting that the bill to legalize mixed martial arts in New York has passed the Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development Committee in the New York Assembly by a vote of 17-3 (note, Steven Marrocco, who spoke to Assemblyman Englebright's office, has indicated that the vote was 16-3).  Notably, Bob Reilly -- the voice of the opposition to MMA in New York -- sits on the Tourism Committee.

Next stop should be the Codes Committee -- where it should pass (as in years past) -- and then on to the Ways & Means Committee -- where it has died before and I predict it will die again. 

I am not alone in this belief.

Indeed, as I said last week, Assemblyman Englebright, the sponsor of the bill in the Assembly, has indicated that he believes the bill will be blocked again:
There is a healthy controversy. There are very concerned members of the majority who can’t support it this year, as they could not support it in years past, . . . I imagine we’ll have similar blockage or stoppage, . . . But, you never know. There are quite a few new faces in the chamber this year. I haven’t seen a sea change, but I have seen subtle changes.

Worth noting that there are a significant number of assembly members pushing the Assembly Speaker to let the bill go straight to the floor for an up or down vote after passage out of the Tourism Committee.  Time will tell.

I will continue to monitor.

Fight Lawyer

Saturday, June 4, 2011

My TUF Finale Predictions & Super Six Semifinal Prediction

Here are my fight predictions via Tapology:

My Ultimate Fighter Finale 13 Predictions

Turning to boxing, I have Froch tonight via decision -- should be a good fight.

Fight Lawyer

Friday, June 3, 2011

Troubling Statements from Assembly Sponsor of Bill to Legalize MMA in New York

I just read an article, The fate of mixed martial arts bill uncertain, and was troubled by Assemblyman Englebright's (the bill's sponsor and Chair of the Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development Committee where the bill originates in the Assembly) comments because they are telling and signify the bigger issue with legalization here in New York.

Specifically, he says:
There is a healthy controversy. There are very concerned members of the majority who can’t support it this year, as they could not support it in years past, . . . I imagine we’ll have similar blockage or stoppage, . . . But, you never know. There are quite a few new faces in the chamber this year. I haven’t seen a sea change, but I have seen subtle changes.
As I have posted before, the majority -- the democratic leadership in the Assembly -- is allowing the bill to stall out in Committee before reaching a floor vote, where it in Englebright's opinion should have enough support to pass.  This is the "blockage" and "stoppage" that Englebright is referring to. 

If you follow my blog, you will recall that last year Assemblyman Englebright said essentially the same thing:
"If we were able to get it to the floor, we'd probably pass it with Republican votes," Englebright said. "But there is a desire, I think, on the part of many of the members of our Democratic majority to resolve this matter satisfactorily within our own [party] before submitting it to the uncertainties of a debate."
Hopefully, Englebright, as the bill's sponsor and a member of the senior leadership of his party, can convince the other members of his majority to let the bill go to the floor for an up or down vote (i.e. let the so-called democratic process play out). 

Otherwise, we may be having this same conversation one-year from now....

One last note, I am told that the bill will be taken up in the Tourism Committee next week and that there are a significant number of assembly members pushing the Assembly Speaker to let the bill go straight to the floor for an up or down vote after passage out of the Tourism Committee. 

Fight Lawyer