(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.
The company stated that “based on comments made by defendants’ representative and defendants’ conduct, plaintiffs believe that defendants acquired Pride to destroy it, thereby eliminating the biggest competition they had in the industry.” Tough to prove, but I wouldn’t put it past the boys in question. Welcome to the world of million dollar sports organizations.
Sakakibara claims he didn’t approach the Fertittas about selling off Pride, but that he was “unilaterally and continually approached by the Fertittas.”
The negotiations with the
criminals Fertittas started on October 22, 2006. The complaint says that Lorenzo Fertitta stated “for the sound growth of the entire mixed martial arts industry over the course of the next 20 to 30 years, it was essential for both Pride and UFC to have the same owner who would manage and maintain these two brands from a position akin to a commissioner so that appropriate order and rules could be created to protect fighters and maintain and expand the market.”
The complaint is full of more comments, including some from Jamie Pollock (Zuffa’s Pride representative in Japan) and — shocker — Dana White. One of the big points is that all of Pride’s workers were booted last October and that Zuffa never attempted to put up a Pride show, which is a more than a smoking gun. There’s also some other stuff in there that sites things like Nevada’s “Section 5.3″, and while I’m sure “5.3″ is riveting reading, I’m too lazy to look it over. Go check it out yourself if you’re interested and shoot me a paraphrased version.