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MMA promotion accuses star fighter of breach of contract in suit

A mixed-martial arts promotion is in breach of contract litigation with one of its best fighters who tried to jump to Las Vegas-based UFC. At issue is whether the fighter breached a clause in his contract with Bellator MMA, the promotion in the litigation, by failing to recognize that it had matched UFC’s contract offer.

According to the breach of contract complaint filed by Bellator, the contract it had with the fighter expired toward the end of 2012. The contract included a clause granting the promotion a 90-day period during which the company had the right to match any contract offer made by a competing MMA promoter within 14 days. But when the fighter turned down a contract offer from Bellator and requested that it waive the exclusive matching period, the business did so, on the condition that he only negotiate with Zuffa, UFC’s parent company, and forward any offers to Bellator.

Soon after, Zuffa made an offer that included up to $1.65 million in salary depending on his success in the ring and a $250,000 signing bonus. On Nov. 28, the fighter’s attorney passed that offer along to Bellator management. The attorney reportedly reminded the promotion of its 14-day window to match the offer.

Bellator responded, but the contents of its offer are in dispute. The company says its offer is the same as Zuffa’s, but the fighter contends that the offers differ in “material and meaningful respects.” Therefore, the fighter says, Bellator did not match Zuffa’s contract offer and he did not have to re-sign.

Source: USA TODAY Sports, “How Eddie Alvarez and Bellator arrived at dueling lawsuits,” Steven Marrocco, Jan. 11, 2013

John P. Aldrich
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