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Tag: MMA lawsuits

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against UFC — Details Inside [UPDATED]


(The lawsuit’s plaintiffs are listed as “Cung Le, Nathan Quarry, Jon Fitch, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated.” / Photo via Getty)

UPDATE: The actual legal filing can be read right here, and the full audio of the conference call is below, via MMAFightCorner.

The reported class-action lawsuit against the UFC filed by current and former fighters will be officially announced this afternoon. The communications firm Turner4D sent a notice to CagePotato.com and other MMA media entities yesterday afternoon, stating that the plaintiffs’ names and other details will be provided during a news conference beginning at 1 p.m. PT / 4 p.m. ET. The conference will be held at Hyatt Place San Jose/Downtown in San Jose, California. Autograph seekers are advised to wait by the bar and act cool.

CagePotato will be listening in to the proceedings via telephone machine, and we’ll type out important updates about the UFC class-action lawsuit below as we get them. Stay tuned, you guys. #TheTimeIsNow

Even before the call starts, Greg Savage of Sherdog passes along some info: “The civil action is [titled] Cung Le, et al v. Zuffa, LLC, d/b/a Ultimate Fighting Championship and UFC…Media packet states that Cung Le, Jon Fitch and Nate Quarry are the participants in the suit…The case was filed today in the Northern District of California in San Jose. It seeks treble damages and injunctive relief under the Sherman Antitrust Act.”

Yes, those are all guys who have expressed frustration with the UFC in the past. (See: Here, here.)

The call is kicked off by Joseph Saveri, an antitrust lawyer based in San Francisco. He introduces Le and Quarry (who are on the scene in San Jose), and Fitch who is participating by phone. Saveri also introduces other lawyers who are participating, including antitrust experts Benjamin Brown and Robert Maysey.

Saveri: “Today, there is only one real promotional option for MMA fighters — the UFC.” Saveri outlines the lawsuit that was filed by the aforementioned fighters this afternoon. Essentially: The UFC has monopolized the MMA industry, destroyed competitors, and as a result, MMA athletes have been unable to obtain what they’re worth. They’ve also lost ownership of their likenesses.

Brown: “Elite MMA fighters earn a mere fraction of the revenue compared to boxing…UFC’s profit margins are among the highest in all of sport…UFC has monopolized the highest level of the sport.”

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Report: UFC to Be Hit With Class Action Lawsuit From Its Own Fighters


(Photo via Getty)

Ready for a bombshell? According to Bloody Elbow, current and former UFC fighters are about to file a class action lawsuit against the UFC, and are seeking “potentially hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Holy crap, you guys.

The story was confirmed by Bloody Elbow’s John Nash and Brent Brookhouse.

Here are the details, courtesy of Bloody Elbow:

We have been able to confirm that the suit will be based on accusations that the UFC has violated antitrust laws by abusing their “market power” to intentionally and systematically cripple the free market. Several of the individuals we spoke to compared it to the recent San Jose hi-tech employee and NCAA antitrust cases. The manager of one high profile fighter who wished to remain anonymous has informed Bloody Elbow that the plaintiffs will be seeking damages for potentially hundreds of millions of dollars due to reduced fight purses, video game rights fees, and other sources of income. The final amount could even be greater, with statutes awarding “treble damages” in antitrust cases…

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Xyience Sold to Big Red, Will No Longer Be an Official UFC Sponsor


(“This is Xyience 101″…holy crap, that is still hilarious to me.)

Xyience — the sports nutrition and energy drink company that has been a prominent sponsor of the UFC since 2006 — has been sold to beverage company Big Red Ltd., according to MMAPayout. Though Big Red will continue to seek out the sports demographic for advertising Xyience and its energy drink brand Xenergy, the company has decided to end Xyience’s sponsorship of the UFC.

In an interview with BevNet, Big Red CEO Gary Smith explained that the decision was made as part of a new strategy that will see Xyience target a broader range of health-conscious consumers, like Crossfitters and marathoners. “I’m just gonna soften it up a little bit,” Smith said. “Make it a little less hardcore than the image that it’s got today.”

I’m no marketing genius, but let me explain something, Gary: This guy buys energy drinks; this guy does not. These guys buy energy drinks; these women do not. I’m tellin’ you bro, throw all your advertising dollars at meatheads and gay club kids.

According to BevNet, Xyience is by far the largest brand that Big Red has acquired, with approximately $45 million in annual sales, not incuding “vendors like gymnasiums and GNC- and Vitamin Shoppe-type stores, where it has claimed robust growth.”

The brand also carries some unfortunate baggage…

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Monday Memento: “Hitman” Dan Diaz Lawsuit Against Tapout Going to Trial


(Diaz hanging with the Tapout crew, before it all fell apart. Photo via Dan Diaz/OC Weekly)

By Brian J. D’Souza

Tapout is one of the most prominent apparel brands in MMA, worn mainly by the sport’s in-crowd consisting of loyal, uber-cool and educated fans, many of whom who have either trained or competed in martial arts themselves.

In 2012, news broke of a major scandal involving the Tapout brand and Hitman Gear founder Dan Diaz. Diaz had sold Hitman to Tapout in 2007 in exchange for 1.25 million shares in the new company, a five-year employment contract and the promise of radical expansion of the Hitman brand.

What Diaz ended up getting was a raw deal, with Hitman being sold for zero dollars when Tapout was sold to Authentic Brands Group (ABG) in September 2010, thus making his shares worthless. His employment contract was also terminated with the sale to ABG, leaving him high and dry.

Rather than settling for chump change, Diaz opted to take his case to the courts. He’s not just suing for damages—Diaz wants the moral victory of exposing the corruption that robbed him of the personal pride he put into his company.

The trial between Dan Diaz and Tapout/Authentic Brands Group has been set for July 7 of this year. Beyond the damages Diaz is seeking, there are allegations that many MMA fighters who licensed their names for Tapout signature shirts like Chuck Liddell, Kenny Florian and Keith Jardine, have been defrauded of royalties.

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Crime Doesn’t Pay: UFC Sues New York Man Living With Parents $32 Million for Piracy


(I AM INVICIBL-OH SHIT!)

The UFC’s ongoing war against dirty, no-good, PPV-stealing scoundrels wages on, Nation. Following a promise by Zuffa Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer Kirk Hendrick to “pursue the people who don’t want to pay for the goods and services they receive” earlier this year, the UFC has taken action against it’s first major target. His name is Steven A. Messina, a 27-year-old man who lives with his mom and dad in Great Kills, NY, and the UFC’s lawsuit against him is seeking a cool…32 MILLION DOLLARS. (My reaction)

While that figure is absolutely batsh*t bonkers crazypants, just wait until you hear how Messina got caught (via the NY Times):

UFC officials took note of Messina after he became increasingly cocky about his growing online status and referred to himself as the “Provider of Best MMA & Boxing rips online!,” the suit states.

He asked viewers to “Help Me Cap PPV!” through his PayPal account, called “MMA Capping Fund!,” according to the court papers, which allege he was trying to become the king of PPV pirates online.

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WTF? of the Day: Anderson Silva Files Police Report Against Female Fan Who Bashed Him on Twitter


(“ANYBODY SEEN EDNA?! ANYBODY KNOW WHY EDNA DID ANDY SILVO?!!”)

Anderson Silva has always been a bit of a strange dude. Call it “crazy like a champion” or whatever you want, but there’s no denying that the guy’s a little…batty. The Bieber fever. The lip-synching videos. Those Burger King commercials. The often insane and seemingly trollish things he tells the media. And don’t even get me started on the Steven Seagal nonsense.

Point is, ol’ Andy is prone to some bouts of irregularity (here’s him pretending to be Spiderman in a parking garage, for instance). Not that I can blame him; I’m already a phone call away from the looney bin and I have neither millions of dollars nor the ability to kill 99.9% of the people on this planet with my bare hands. And besides, Silva’s craziness is an x-factor that probably helped him come up with such consistently mind-blowing (more on this later) finishes over the years.

But this…this is the kind of shit that makes me think Anderson just a case of energy drinks away from going on a vehicular rampage across Brazil, if you know what I am saying (via MMAFighting):

Silva has filed a police report against a woman in Brazil for defamation.

According to the chief of police department in Pinhais, Marcelo Magalhaes, the UFC star felt offended when a woman called him “rotten” on Twitter.

“We’re still investigating to get her name, address and phone,” Magalhaes told Globo. “It’s a 40-year-old woman who wrote on the internet, in a social media, several phrases, including ‘Brazil will see the idol and rotten that you are’ [Ed. Note: 'shitty idol' was also used].”

The process is expected to go to court next. The penalty for this type of crime in Brazil is up to six months in jail, or a fine.

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Following UFC Suspension, ‘Bigfoot’ Silva Plans to Sue Doctor Who Oversaw His Testosterone Therapy


(Antonio’s shoe-size is “display only.” / Photo via instagram.com/bigfootsilva)

When Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva caught a nine-month suspension for elevated testosterone following his UFC Fight Night 33 battle against Mark Hunt, he claimed it wasn’t his fault — and we rolled our eyes. It’s hard to give the benefit of the doubt to a fighter who was previously suspended for a year due to a positive steroid test.

But Silva isn’t going quietly into his suspension. As he told MMAFighting’s Guilherme Cruz, Bigfoot plans to sue Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) medical director Dr. Marcio Tannure, who authorized the veteran heavyweight’s therapeutic usage exemption for TRT, and oversaw his therapy. And if you listen to Silva’s side of the story, he might actually have a case here.

A week before his fight in Australia, Silva received a report from Tannure stating that his testosterone levels were low, and he should continue taking injections on a weekly basis. It seems possible that Tannure was unaware of just how soon Silva’s fight was coming up — but nevertheless, Silva’s followed the doctor’s orders, and it wound up costing him a $50,000 bonus and nine months of his career.

“I just did what they told me to do,” Silva told MMAFighting.com. “I’d never do something different that what the doctor told me to. I looked for a doctor with a good reputation, and he’s the UFC’s doctor in Brazil. I knew I’d be tested before and after the fight. Unfortunately, now I have to find the legal ways to overturn this situation or at least prove I’m not guilty…

“I took a shot at the same day he sent me that e-mail, and he asked me if I had another one to take with me to Australia, to take on fight week,” he said. “He authorized everything. I did exactly as I was informed to do.

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Eddie Alvarez’s Legal Nightmare Continues: Fighter Won’t Meet Bellator in Court Until September…Of 2014


(Sometimes you’re the hammer, sometimes you’re the nail. Images via Bellator.com)

Eddie Alvarez‘s attempt to pursue better opportunities in the UFC is having a disastrous effect on the former Bellator lightweight champion career. To recap: After Alvarez’s contract with Bellator expired, the UFC sent him a juicy offer that included a $250,000 signing bonus, a percentage of pay-per-view revenue, and the potential to be promoted on a future FOX card. Bellator “matched” it by simply copying the exact terms of the deal — which Alvarez didn’t appreciate, considering that Bellator doesn’t run pay-per-shows or broadcast their fights on network television.

The two sides have been engaged in a knotty legal battle since January over whether Alvarez is obligated to accept that deal. Unfortunately, time continues to tick away on Alvarez’s prime competitive years — the 29-year-old hasn’t competed since his first-round KO of Patricky Freire last October — and the case might not be settled for a long, long time. As MMAJunkie reports:

According to documents filed Monday in U.S. district court, the two parties aren’t required to see each other in court until after Sept. 15, 2014, when a pre-trial conference may take place.

That means it could be near the end of 2014 before a jury gets involved, unless a settlement takes place…

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Oh, The Irony: Chael Sonnen Sues Co-Owner of Mean Street Pizza for Embezzlement


(A slice of feta, roasted garlic, and sun-dried tomato pizza priced at $8.99? We *must* be in the rough part of town.) 

When a fighter attempts to cheat or manipulate the system in the world of mixed martial arts, say by faking a glove tap and diving for a takedown, and is knocked unconscious as a result of his own dickishness, we usually chalk it up to Karma and call it a day. However, when a similar situation arises in everyday American society, it is not only acknowledged by those around it, but is often validated with a lawsuit.

Take Chael Sonnen, for instance, who you might recall was involved in a pesky little money-laundering scheme back in 2011 that ended in a $10,000 fine, probation, and the loss of his real estate license. You might also recall that Sonnen opened up a pizza joint last year for the sole purpose of trolling his way into a title shot against Jon Jones. It’s a move some would call “penny smart and dollar foolish,” but you simply can’t argue with his results. In either case, it appears that Sonnen must have consulted his list of personal acquaintances when determining a co-owner for the place, because he now finds himself playing the role of fraud victim rather than perpetrator. Via OregonLive:

Professional mixed martial artist Chael Sonnen is suing his business partner and the co-owner of his West Linn restaurant, claiming he embezzled $20,000 and owes Sonnen another nearly $23,000 in borrowed money and unpaid rent.

The lawsuit filed earlier this month in Clackamas County Circuit Court also seeks to oust Lee Gamble, who co-owns Mean Street Pizza with the Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter, from the limited liability corporation the pair run. 

My God, I haven’t seen irony that…ironic since Sonnen called out Lance Armstrong for PED usage while simultaneously using PED’s. Fraud is no laughing matter, but are any of you Taters finding as much hilarity in this story as we are?

-J. Jones

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UFC Scores Major Victory in Legal Battle With New York State; Promotion Could Begin Holding Events Under Third-Party Sanctioning


(Is this real life? / Dream-fight poster via NixsonDesign)

A hearing yesterday afternoon related to the UFC’s ongoing lawsuit against the State of New York — which challenges the validity of the state’s 1997 MMA ban on constitutional grounds — ended in the UFC’s greatest victory thus far in its fight to hold events in the Empire State. Jim Genia was on the scene at the U.S District Court of the Southern District of New York, and broke the news for Fightline.com:

In what was supposed to be a day of oral arguments pertaining to the State Attorney General’s most recent motion to dismiss, attorney John M. Schwartz — representing the Attorney General’s office — acknowledged unequivocally that the law prohibiting pro MMA did not apply to amateur versions of the sport, and that as per the statute, a pre-approved third-party sanctioning body could oversee MMA events in the state. The admission of the latter prompted the counsel representing Zuffa’s interests to say that if that were truly the case, then there’d be no further need to pursue the lawsuit – which in turn prompted the presiding Judge Kimba Wood of the U.S District Court of the Southern District of New York to push both sides to immediately settle…

Notwithstanding whether a settlement is reached, the door is now open for Zuffa — or any other MMA promotion — to circumvent the ban by utilizing one of the pre-approved sanctioning bodies enumerated in the statute. Those sanctioning bodies include the World Karate Association (since renamed the World Kickboxing Association, a.k.a. the “WKA”), the Professional Karate Association and the U.S. Judo Association, among others…

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