Fertitta Brothers

CKA: April 7, 2008 (Updated)

Forrest Griffin was always crazy, even in high school.

Props to frankiscool at the UG for the find.

Sakakibara, DSE Sue Fertittas, Zuffa

Two months after Zuffa, under the name PRIDE FC Worldwide, filed a lawsuit against former PRIDE parent company Dream Stage Entertainment claiming that they were defrauded during their purchase of PRIDE in March of last year, DSE and Nobuyuki Sakakibara have countered with a lawsuit of their own.

The news comes from Adam Swift of MMA Payout and Sherdog.com, who reports that the suit was filed in Las Vegas District Court on April 2nd.

More from Swift:

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.

DREAM Planning Events on U.S. Soil?

DREAM could potentially hold shows in the United States if the promotion eventually gains the popularity that PRIDE once had as well as a television deal according to Fight Entertainment Group figurehead Sadaharu Tanikawa.

From MMA Weekly:

FEG executive, Sadaharu Tanikawa stated that their hopes are to first establish a brand name in Japan before trying their hand in the United States. Tanikawa went on the record saying that it would take “maybe a year or two” for the new Dream promotion to gain the same strength among fans that the former Pride brand did before their demise.

With DREAM and HDNet already in talks about a possible deal, Tanikawa’s idea could become a reality sooner than later, especially if they could come to some sort of a deal with EliteXC or HDNet Fights to get some notable American names on the card.

Sakurai-Baron Set for Shooto Fight in May

Hayato “Mach” Sakurai will attempt to keep his current five-fight winning streak intact when he takes on fellow PRIDE veteran David Baron at a Shooto event in May according to a report from Sports Navi.

Sakurai stopped Hidetaka Monma with strikes at DREAM’s inaugural event last month. Baron, who is mostly known for his loss to Takanori Gomi at PRIDE Bushido 12 in the summer of 2006, has won his last three fights since then.

Touch of gloves to Fight Opinion for the find.

Emerson Replaces Stephens at UFC 84

Update 2:30 PM ET: Our friends at MMA Junkie have learned that a possible “minor legal situation” may be preventing Stephens from fighting on the card but he expects to return to action this summer.

Sam Cupitt over at Five Ounces of Pain has noticed that Rob Emerson, a contestant on the fifth season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, has replaced Iowa native Jeremy Stephens in a scheduled lightweight bout against Terry Etim at UFC 84: Ill Will according to the UFC’s official website.

It was reported back in February that Etim and Stephens had signed bout agreements, making the fight good to go. No word as of yet on why Stephens was forced out of the bout.

Xyience Officially Purchased


Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Manchester Consolidated Corporation has officially purchased Xyience Inc. according to a ruling made by Las Vegas judge Mike Nakagawa on Tuesday.

The news comes from a report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The purchase involved the paying of $200,000 and the absorption of $14.8 million in debt. Nakagawa rejected a late bid by New Zealand-based Medici Group Holdings, who offered to pay $15.5 million in cash but missed the deadline.

Manchester’s purchase will reportedly cover only part of the secured debt, leaving unsecured creditors and stockholders in Xyience with absolutely nothing. That same group filed a lawsuit on Monday looking to be awarded the $14.8 million that now becomes an asset of Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, owners of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Xyience, one of the UFC’s main sponsors over the last few years, filed for bankruptcy protection amid claims of intimidation and death threats in February.

The bankruptcy was filed under Chapter 11, which gives the company some time to reorganize before they move forward with their claim. The bankruptcy became necessary when the company was unable to raise $7.5 million more from shareholders.

The Fertitta brothers are reported to have close to $20 million invested in the Xyience brand.

Xyience signed a $15 million sponsorship agreement with the UFC for 2007 and had been a primary sponsor of the promotion since 2005.

New Info on Zuffa/Couture Lawsuit


Photo courtesy of ProElite.

Three days since a Las Vegas judge denied UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture’s requests to dismiss parts of the lawsuit Zuffa filed against him in January, new information has already come to light regarding Dana White and company’s suit as well as an attempt to potential declaratory judgment for HDNet Fights.

The news comes courtesy of Sherdog and MMA Payout‘s Adam Swift.

Similar to Mark Cuban’s attempt to find out the contractual status between Couture and the UFC, Zuffa has filed for arbitration on Couture’s promotional contract, seeking to get a definitive answer on Couture’s grievances as well as Cuban’s declaratory judgment.

At the same time, Zuffa has also filed to remove HDNet’s declaratory judgment action brought against the company in Texas district court last month. The move was made because the suit was not filed in Nevada, where Zuffa is based.

However it matters not - HDNet MMA 2008, the name Cuban filed suit under, is a Nevada limited liability company. Zuffa alleges that HDNet’s Nevada address is an attempt to “manipulate the court’s jurisdiction.” according to Swift.

HDNet has now filed a motion to move the case to a Texas court, which the court granted. Zuffa has until March 28th to respond to the move.

On a side note, it seems that the preliminary injunction Judge Jennifer Togliatti granted Zuffa against Couture last month still allows Couture to corner his fighters when they are competing in other organizations.

Zuffa Lawsuit Against DSE to Head to Court


From the press conference to announce Zuffa’s purchase of PRIDE in March 2007. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The lawsuit that Zuffa, under the name PRIDE FC Worldwide, the financial holdings company created by Ultimate Fighting Championship owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta following the purchase of the assest of PRIDE Fighting Championships in March of last year, filed against former PRIDE parent company Dream Stage Entertainment will likely head to a Las Vegas court room in the coming months.

The news comes from Zach Arnold of Fight Opinion, who reports that PRIDE FC Worldwide’s counsel filed a motion that demands a trial by jury in their case against Nobuyuki Sakakibara and DSE.

Arnold also stated that neither Sakakibara nor the company have responded to the lawsuit as of yet, just as an attorney has not been named to represent them.

The lawsuit centers around Zuffa’s claim that they were “defrauded” out of millions of dollars following the purchase of the Japanese promotion nearly a year ago. The lawsuit has since been confirmed as being filed on February 1st.

Rumors have also been circulating that Sakakibara is preparing to file his own lawsuit against Zuffa amidst claims that their decision to shut down the PRIDE brand late last year is a breach of the contract they agreed upon prior to DSE selling the rights to the brand.

Xyience Finds Buyer; Auction in April


Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Xyience officials have found a potential buyer that is interested in purchasing the company but first must out-bid any other interested parties at a court auction on April 1st.

The news comes from Adam Swift of Sherdog and MMA Payout, who also reports that Xyience has entered into a preliminary purchase Manchester Consolidated Corporation.

The reported deal will have Manchester Consolidated pay over $15 million for the company. However they will also absorb $14.8 million in debt as well. First they will have to out-bid any other interested and qualified parties at a scheduled court auction on April 1st in Las Vegas.

One of those parties may be Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, who are expected to bid for the company at the auction through one of their side companies, Zyen.

Xyience, one of the UFC’s main sponsors over the last few years, filed for bankruptcy protection amid claims of intimidation and death threats last month.

The bankruptcy was filed under Chapter 11, which gives the company some time to reorganize before they move forward with their claim. The bankruptcy became necessary when the company was unable to raise $7.5 million more from shareholders.

The Fertitta brothers are reported to have close to $20 million invested in the Xyience brand.

Xyience signed a $15 million sponsorship agreement with the UFC for 2007 and has been a primary sponsor of the promotion since 2005.

Zuffa Suing Frank Shamrock?


Photo by Jon Swenson, Sharkspage.

I had no idea about this, neither did Bloody Elbow.

This is from Sam Caplan’s latest piece for CBS Sports, which lists a slew of potential future opponents for Anderson Silva now that he has cleaned out the UFC’s middleweight division. The article is a must-read:

It’s also little known that the UFC has been suing Shamrock for years over a variety of issues, the most notable being that Shamrock uses footage of himself from when he was in the UFC. According to Shamrock, he has legal rights to 30-second clips of some of his fights because they were signed over to him by Bob Meyrowitz before Zuffa obtained ownership of the UFC. Zuffa doesn’t seem to care about the legal documents that Shamrock claims he has and is suing him anyway.

Shamrock is believed to be losing thousands of dollars in legal bills each month in this legal dispute. In talking to him in the past, he’s also not allowed to fight in Nevada. The belief is that the UFC is trying to bleed Shamrock dry in order to force him to come to a settlement with them and fight once more for the UFC. The thing is, while the UFC is burning a hole in Shamrock’s wallet, he’s still making a very healthy living on his own.

For years I’ve just assumed that Shamrock and the UFC’s hatred for one another came from the little pot shots that Frank and Dana White are always throwing at each other through the media. This brings it to a completely different level though.

Caplan goes to mention that he believes despite all of the stuff that has gone on, Shamrock would still fight under the UFC banner if he was made an offer he wouldn’t be able to refuse and I have to say that I definitely agree.

While Shamrock always talks about how he wants to fight to keep the sport of mixed martial arts pure and all that jazz, it’s clear that everything else has taken a back seat to his business side of things in recent years. If Zuffa offered Frank a load of money to come fight for them, there’s no way he would turn it down.

Zuffa Scores Legal Victory Over Couture


Photo courtesy of ProElite.

Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, scored the first of what might be multiple legal victories over current heavyweight champion Randy Couture yesterday in Las Vegas District Court.

Judge Jennifer Togliatti granted a motion for a preliminary injunction that will now prevent Couture from lending his name or likeness to any of the proceedings going on later tonight at the International Fight League’s scheduled event, where the Xtreme Couture gym was expected to field a team to compete.

Prior to the hearing, Xtreme Couture officials that they would have their fighters compete under the “Team Tompkins” banner at the event instead.

The injunction also leaves Couture unable to corner fighters from the gym at the event as well. However Couture publicly stated weeks ago that Shawn Tompkins would be heading the team at the event anyway.

Zuffa alleged that the IFL had posted an image bearing Couture’s likeness on the front of their official website. According to Couture, his staff immediately contacted the IFL and asked that it be removed right away and it was done so.

The lawsuit filed against Couture by Dana White and company concerning Couture’s promotional contract with the UFC has not yet been heard in court. Couture has requested the dismissal of the lawsuit. A preliminary hearing will take place on March 6th and will determine whether or not there will be a trial.

Continue reading "Zuffa Scores Legal Victory Over Couture"

Couture Preliminary Injunction Decided Today


Photo courtesy of ProElite.

Nevada District Court Judge Jennifer Togliatti will rule later today on a preliminary injunction the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Zuffa has filed against current heavyweight champion Randy Couture.

Different from the lawsuit the organization filed against Couture, the injunction will attempt to block the Xtreme Couture gym from field a team that is currently slated to compete for The International Fight League tomorrow night in the promotion’s first event of the new year. It is likely that if Zuffa is victorious, Couture will be unable to corner fighters from the gym at the event as well. Couture has publicly stated that Shawn Tompkins would be heading the team at the event anyway.

Zuffa alleges that the IFL had posted an image bearing Couture’s likeness on the front of their official website. According to Couture, his staff immediately contacted the IFL and asked that it be removed right away and it was done so.

The lawsuit filed against Couture by Dana White and company will not be heard in court until March 25th. Couture has requested the dismissal of the lawsuit.

Zuffa’s case cites that Couture has made negative comments about the promotion and those involved with it’s management. They also stated that the comments have caused “irreparable damage” and that he has breached the employment contract he signed with the company. Xtreme Couture’s involvement with the IFL was also included in the suit via a claim that it is a direct violation of his contract with the UFC.

The suit will also attempt to collect up to $10,000 in damages from Couture and seek a restraining order that will prevent Couture from being involved with any other organizations that compete against the UFC. This comes after Couture resigned from the UFC last fall and has stated that he intends to sit out the remainder of his contract before fighting in another organization, hopefully against top-ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko.

Mark Cuban and his HDNet Fights promotion filed suit in a Dallas, Texas district court in hopes of earning a declaratory judgment concerning the contractual status of Couture when it comes to his employment contract (the deal that dictates where Couture can fight).

The declaratory judgement will hopefully provide Cuban with an exact date as to when Couture’s contract expires with the UFC, if it expires at all.

HDNet Fights has also reportedly entered into a contractual agreement with Couture which will have the promotion attempt to set up a showdown between Couture and top ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko later this year.

The deal will likely go into effect at the time of the expiration of Couture’s promotional contract with Zuffa. Without some sort of deal in place, a Texas court will likely throw out HDNet Fights suit filed against the UFC’s parent company last week.

It is interesting to note in Cuban’s claims against Zuffa that he points out “indefinite employment restrictions” such as the ones set forth against Couture by Dana White and company since his resignation from the organization last fall are against the law.

Cuban and McMahon: Match Made in MMA Heaven or Hell?


From jdlasica on Flickr.

It’s been rumored that the McMahon family has been itching to become involved with mixed martial arts in some form for quite a while now. Those same rumors were similar for popular billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. The only difference between the two sides at this point is that Cuban actually did enter the game by way of his fledgling HDNet Fights promotion last year.

In a recent interview with Jonathan Huntington of The Edmonton Sun, Cuban revealed his intentions to partner up with the first family of professional wrestling when asked if he was planning on building a promotion that would rival the UFC along with Vince and company.

“We are looking to partner where we can, do our own promotions where it makes sense,” Cuban said in the interview. “We think the future is built around the fighters and their personalities. No one else has this focus and partnership approach. We think it’s a winner.”

If there were any doubts as to whether or not pro wrestling and MMA would be able to interact and benefit from each other, one needs to look no further than Brock Lesnar’s debut at UFC 81: Breaking Point earlier this month. The event generated close to 650,000 PPV buys according to Dave Meltzer, the third highest total in UFC history.

So is a relationship between Cuban and the McMahons good or bad for the sport? It could turn out to be both.

Continue reading "Cuban and McMahon: Match Made in MMA Heaven or Hell?"

Report: Couture Joins HDNet Fights; Seeks Dismissal in Zuffa Case


Photo courtesy of ProElite.

HDNet Fights has reportedly entered into a contractual agreement with current UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture which will have the promotion attempt to set up a showdown between Couture and top ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko later this year.

The news comes from a report by Adam Swift of Sherdog and MMA Payout, who states that the deal will likely go into effect at the time of the expiration of Couture’s promotional contract with Zuffa. Without some sort of deal in place, a Texas court will likely throw out HDNet Fights suit filed against the UFC’s parent company last week.

The lawsuit, which was filed by HDNet Fights owner and popular billionaire Mark Cuban, was made in hopes of earning a declaratory judgment concerning the contractual status of Couture when it comes to his promotional contract (the deal that dictates where Couture can fight).

The declaratory judgement will hopefully provide Cuban with an exact date as to when Couture’s contract expires with the UFC, if it expires at all.

It is interesting to note in Cuban’s claims against Zuffa that he points out “indefinite employment restrictions” such as the ones set forth against Couture by Dana White and company since his resignation from the organization last fall are against the law.

In related news, Couture has also requested the dismissal of the pending lawsuit Zuffa filed against him last month according to Brian Knapp of The Fight Network.

The lawsuit cites that Couture has made negative comments about the promotion and those involved with it’s management. They also stated that the comments have caused “irreparable damage” and that he has breached the employment contract he signed with the company.

Basically the lawsuit was filed because Randy’s Xtreme Couture gym will be fielding a team that will compete at the IFL’s next event in Las Vegas on Friday, February 29th. The UFC is claiming that Randy’s gym being involved with the IFL is a direct violation of his contract with the UFC.

The lawsuit will also attempt to collect up to $10,000 in damages from Couture and seek a restraining order that will prevent Couture from being involved with any other organizations that compete against the UFC.

The motion will be heard on Tuesday, March 25th.

Couture believes that one of the promotion’s ideas in filing a lawsuit against him is to attempt to have him spend so much money on legal proceedings that he will have to come back and fight for them.

“It’s unfortunate that things have kind of degraded to that point,” Couture said in a recent interview with MMA Weekly. I’m sure that’s part of their ploy, to force me to spend enough money that I’ll have to come back and fight for them, which isn’t the case.”

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