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Tag: Fertittas

Ultimate Poker Closes Down Amid Claims of Mismanagement [UPDATED]

(If Dana White’s haggard visage couldn’t get this thing over, nothing could.)

By Mike Fagan

On Friday, the Fertitta-owned Ultimate Poker announced that it would cease accepting wagers effective Monday, November 17, at noon PST. The closure comes after just under 19 months of operation.

Ultimate Poker seemed like a good bet at the start. The online poker world collapsed following a series of legislative and judicial moves, starting with the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act of 2006 and ending with poker’s “Black Friday” on April 15, 2011. Two years later, Nevada passed legislation legalizing online poker within the state. Ultimate Poker rushed their product to market two months later, becoming the first “legal” online poker room in the United States.

A thread on leading poker/gambling forum Two Plus Two discussing Ultimate Poker’s demise details some of the problems with the site. The poker client software had bugs from day one and looked like it had been designed in the ‘90s. When old bugs had been fixed, new bugs popped up. Players often found themselves disconnected from the site during hands. In addition, Ultimate Poker never developed a client for Macs nor a mobile version of their software.

Caesars-backed and South Point Casino’s Real Gaming later joined Ultimate Poker. This crowded the market given a limited player pool in Nevada. (Ultimate Poker also ran in New Jersey between July 2013 and September of this year.) The Las Vegas Review-Journal, citing numbers from, notes that Ultimate Poker “averaged just 60 players in one sitting much of the time over the past two weeks.” Suffice to say, you can’t operate an online card room with 60 players.

More damning evidence of Ultimate Poker’s demise came from a video made by former Director of Player Operations (and one-time pro MMA fighter) Terrence Chan. In the video, which features an anecdote about Dana White being brought in to give an inspirational speech, Chan discusses the software issues (which executives never prioritized improving) to the tight market, but also reveals a few anecdotes that shed some light into the internal operations of the company…


Fabio Maldonado Receives Sizable Bonus Check for Getting Beat Up at UFC 153

Geez, these XARM events have been getting weird…

It can be argued that no losing fighter has ever deserved one of UFC’s famous locker-room bonus checks than Fabio Maldonado after his downright terrifying loss to Glover Teixeira at UFC 153.

If this was professional wrestling, we’d say this was the fight that got Glover “over” in the UFC. The brutal asskicking that Teixeira dished out transitioned him from MMA’s best-kept secret to a legitimate light-heavyweight contender, causing fans throughout the world to say “Huh, so that’s what a 10-7 round looks like.”

Yet Fabio Maldonado kept fighting back, almost pulling off one of the most insane comebacks in UFC history as he rocked Teixeira near the end of the first round. Maldonado kept coming back for more until the cageside doctor put an end to the fight after the second round. I’m not going to write something cheesy like “it was a moral victory for Fabio Maldonado,” but I would understand why a person would.

The beating that Fabio Maldonado took wasn’t for nothing – at least not financially. Maldonado revealed on his Facebook page that he recently received one of the UFC’s famed locker-room bonus checks, and it was worth more money than his win bonus would have been. Via MMAWeekly:


Get Ready to Be Entertained by Lookoutawhale and Chaplin’s House’s Latest Collaboration

(Video courtesy of YouTube/notlookoutawhale)

If you aren’t familiar with the work of lookoutawhale and Chaplin’s House, do yourself a favor and spend some time getting to know them before you enjoy their latest collaborative masterpiece, “The UFC Bunch,” featuring Dana White, Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, Bruce Buffer, Joe Rogan, Chuck Liddell and Joe Silva.

Check out more from the dynamic duo after the jump.


UFC Learning That The New York Media Spotlight Can Be Uncomfortable

(The Fertitta brothers doing their best to look upstanding.)

With their efforts to get MMA legalized in New York, the UFC has drawn a lot of attention in the Big Apple recently, and not all of it is positive. New York Magazine published its own piece on the legislative push and the UFC itself recently, and they aren’t afraid of a little implied character assassination in their articles:

Frank Fertitta III and his brother Lorenzo made the cover of Forbes last month for what the magazine dubbed their “Ultimate Cash Machine.” The Fertittas come from a long line of casino entrepreneurs. Their grandfather, Anthony, ran gambling halls in Galveston, Texas, where he was convicted for beating up a Life reporter who came to town to investigate the scene. Frank Jr., the brothers’ father, was running Las Vegas’s Fremont Hotel when the Feds busted up the place to break a money-skimming operation (he wasn’t charged); the ordeal is said to have become the basis for Martin Scorsese’s Casino. He later opened a local-friendly casino miles away from the Strip, and he passed that business to his sons.

Now that’s how you suggest that someone is an immoral crook without ever explicitly saying it. You just mention that they come from a long line of crooks, and then let the reader come to their own conclusions after that. I hope you’re taking notes, journalism students.

The article also adds some insight as to the obstacles the UFC faces in the New York legislature, and it doesn’t seem as if the Elite XC event on CBS helped them any.


Take That! Former Pride-sters Sue Pride FC

(Maybe this legal hottie can sort this shit out.)

It’s only been a couple of months since Zuffa/Pride FC Worldwide filed suit against the former heads of PRIDE because of their alleged defrauding of millions from Pride’s sell to the Fertittas. Dream Stage Entertainment’s president, Nobuyuki Sakakibara, has been silent in the case, but Dream Stage Holdings filed for dismissal since they were not a party to the previous contracts.

Now, Sakakibara, Ubon, and Dream Stage Holdings have sued Pride FC Worldwide — the Nevada and Japanese branches — and have laid down the legal to the Fertitta Bros, too. Ubon is a stock company in Japan owned by Sakakibara, who also owns 95% of DSH. The suit filing went down in Vegas on the 2nd of this month. Sherdog has a full rundown of the mess:

In an ironic twist, the motion accused Zuffa of including the DSE Nevada Corporation in an effort to defeat diversity jurisdiction. Zuffa is currently contesting a similar legal strategy employed by HDNet Fights in its suit against Zuffa for declaratory judgment on Randy Couture’s promotional contract.

The suit filed by the former owners of Pride in federal court, under diversity jurisdiction, seeks damages for breach of the asset purchase and consulting agreements that were part of the Pride transaction, as well as fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

The complaint alleges that Pride was sold to the owners of the UFC with the promise that the Pride brand would be maintained as a “global top-level brand.” This promise allegedly resulted in the former owners’ decision to sell to the Fertittas despite more lucrative financial offers from other suitors.

According to the complaint, Sakakibara also met with another “company which promotes martial arts related events, an operator of another sports-related business and investors in the entertainment industry, and received various offers to purchase Pride or to enter into business partnerships with plaintiffs.”

However, the suit alleges that the defendants had no intention of fulfilling that promise.


Xyience: The Crime Series

(The Fertittas: “Convicted criminals are people, too.”)

Props to BloodyElbow for spotting this Xyience piece recently posted by MMA Memories. We’ve been detailing the shitstorm created by UFC mega-sponsor Xyience when they filed for Chapter 11 a while back, including the Fertittas lawsuit against blogger/reporter Rich Bergeron for his “findings” and allegations against them – which basically means they’re worried. The aforementioned article throws some more light on the background of Xyience and founder Russell Pike – who you’ll recall was recently accused of death threats against the company’s managers and board members – thickening the Fertittas shady pot of shit.

Some of the backstory:

Russell Pike, who founded Xyience and oversaw its involvement with the UFC for some time, is a convicted felon, having pleaded guilty to grand theft and forgery in California in 1987 and of money laundering in 1999. Not only that, according to a “Desist and Refrain Order” filed by the California Department of Corporations in September of last year, pursuant to the sale of Xyience stock, Pike suffered a default judgment in a civil action filed against him by The Mirage, a hotel-casino licensed by the Nevada State Gaming Commission, when he allegedly wrote them $300,000 in bad checks over a two-day period in 1995.

And that is very interesting indeed, especially in light of the Fertittas’ recent lawsuit filing against Dream Stage Entertainment, the former owners of PRIDE, which the UFC purchased last year. In the complaint, the Fertittas allege that the rumored involvement of some of Dream Stage’s people with elements of the Japanese Yakuza “could have a detrimental effect upon the Purchasing Parties’ (the Fertittas’) affiliates’ gaming licenses (for the uninitiated, the Fertitta family controls Station Casinos Inc, which has about 17 properties in the United States).”

The obvious contradictions follow the pattern of stupidity exhibited now on an almost daily basis by the UFC’s execs. It’s been laced with “cloak-n-dagger” elements from the beginning, but this information makes it almost laughable. Bringing Pike and his prison-stripped ass into direct involvement with promotions is just asking for shit to rain down on you. The MMA Memories post suggests the gaming commission probe the many findings and ask the questions that must be answered by the Fertittas surrounding this whole mess. We tend to agree – but as much as we want the UFC bullshit to stop, this is also some serious illegal activity that could damage MMA promotions – which then filters down to the fans. I blame “The Man” and his stop-at-nothing greed.