Fertitta Brothers

Xyience Bankruptcy Proceedings Continue


Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

A Las Vegas bankruptcy judge has approved a loan from Ultimate Fighting Championship owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta that will give Xyience an additional $2.6 million in hopes of helping the company be able to continue operations.

The news comes from a report by John G. Edwards of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, who also states that Judge Mike Nakagawa has also OK’d a plan that will have Xyience use the UFC brand to help market its product in hopes of generating enough profit in order to sell the company.

The ruling was made in light of company officials stating that without the loan, they would be unable to keep products on the shelves of carrier stores such as GNC.

“We’re excited. We’re optimistic. The process has gone well,” Xyience CEO Omar Sattar told the Review-Journal. “We think we can continue to build the brand going forward.”

While a potential buyer was reportedly in attendance at the hearing, attorneys for three creditors owed money from Xyience and some stockholders were apparently unhappy with the judge’s ruling, stating that the decision would only benefit the Fertitta brothers and the other companies that they own in the long run.

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 Files Lawsuit Against DSE


Lorenzo Fertitta and Nobuyuki Sakakibara shake hands at a press conference to announce Zuffa’s purchase of PRIDE in March 2007. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

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, has filed a lawsuit against former PRIDE parent company Dream Stage Entertainment.

The news was first reported yesterday by Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer, who states that 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:

Pride FC Worldwide Holdings (basically the dummy company set up by UFC after the Pride purchase) have filed a lawsuit against Dream Stage Entertainment, Dream Stage Holdings and Nobuyuki Sakakibara claiming they were defrauded millions of dollars in the purchase of the Pride and Pride Bushido brands.

The lawsuit has since been confirmed as being filed on February 1st.

Zach Arnold of Fight Opinion points out that Zuffa’s due diligence done after the purchase of PRIDE most likely catch many of the potential problems during the evaluation of the PRIDE’s assets. Be sure to check out his post for more words of wisdom on the matter.

Even more interesting, a source close to DSE has told Sherdog that former PRIDE President Nobuyuki 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.

We will definitely be following this story and will post any new information as it becomes available.

UFC Counters Couture Statements

The UFC held a press conference earlier today with the media to in order to “protect” themselves from any false claims that UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture made during his own press conference last week.

UFC President Dana White, UFC Co-Owner Lorenzo Fertitta, and the UFC’s Chief Financial Officer John Mulkey were all on hand to share their thoughts on the situation involving Couture, to challenge some of the claims that Couture made, and to answer any other questions that the media had.

White started off the press conference by mentioning that he hated that the whole situation was going on that the UFC never wants to have to do anything like this again, but they felt as a company that they wanted to protect themselves. White said that he still considers Couture a friend and that the UFC wasn’t holding the press conference to belittle him.

One of the first counters that White made was to a statement made by Couture’s wife Kim, who said that the UFC did not market her husband. White reminded everyone that Couture was one of the first coaches on The Ultimate Fighter, was involved in the 2nd and 4th seasons of the show, and also had his own day of programming on Spike TV, an idea created by White himself.

White said that he was proud of the fact that Randy claims he makes just as much money outside of the UFC as he does competing in the organization. White said that is the long-term goal for the fighters – that they can continue to profit from their success long after they stop fighting in the Octagon.

Fertitta, who was making a rare press conference appearance, revealed that he had negotiated Couture’s new contract that he signed in January with him. He said that after the talks were done, Couture seemed relatively happy with the results and what he had agreed to. Fertitta also noted that he was hurt by many of the comments that Randy made last week and feels that he put on that press conference in order to attempt to hurt the UFC.

We all wanted to know what the numbers were and here they are:

Couture made a base salary of $200,000 for his fights against Tim Sylvia and Gabriel Gonzaga. Couture also asked for and received a signing bonus of $500,000. $250,000 of that bonus was given to Couture up front and the final $250,000 was given to Couture following his fight against Sylvia at UFC 68. Couture received this check on January 15th and cashed it on January 30th.

On top of his salary, Couture was also paid a $200,000 employment fee, a commentating fee of $56,000, and the PPV bonus for UFC 68 was $936,000. Not counting the signing bonus, Couture made $1.186 million for fighting at UFC 68. Couture has received $936,000 to date from his UFC 68 earnings.

For UFC 74, Couture received a $35,000 bonus for fight of the night. He is also expected to earn $787,000 in PPV bonuses for UFC 74. He is expected to earn $1.072 million for UFC 74. The UFC has not yet been paid for UFC 74 but when they do, Couture will be paid 10 days after that. The UFC expects Couture to have grossed $2.9 million by years end.

All of the numbers were reported by Mulkey. Mulkey also stated that the discretionary fees Couture talked about are not just determined by Dana White but by all those involved in the management of the UFC. Mulkey said that Couture was off by $436,000 in his bonus claims.

Other Notes:

- White says that the UFC is the only company he knows of that pays fighters more than what is stated in their contracts. White says that they do not pay guys under the table in reference to Couture’s multiple “off the book” claims from last week.

- White says that the UFC is not a monopoly, they just happen to be the best at what they do. White says that a monopoly is impossible because there are more opportunities now for fighters to be able to compete than ever before.

- Fertitta spoke to Randy the day before his press conference and said that he had a nice conversation with him, not knowing what he was about to say the next day.

- Both Fertitta and White sat down with Couture before UFC 76 and heard and discussed Couture’s problems that he had. White said that the meeting abruptly ended early after Fertitta was forced to leave but that he told Randy that they would finish talking at a later date. Couture claimed that two weeks went by and he didn’t hear an answer. White says that he didn’t know he had a time table of two weeks before Randy would resign.

- This is the last time that White or any other UFC officials will discuss the Randy Couture situation.

- White and Fertitta seemed to not have a definitive answer when asked if Couture’s contract would expire in nine months or if he was definitively locked in for his next two career fights. White responded with “We’ll find out”, “We expect Randy to honor his contract”, and “We aren’t going to discuss the contracts.”

- White says that he doesn’t consider Fedor Emelianenko the number one heavyweight in the world and that he considers Couture the number one heavyweight today. He mocked Fedor’s last four opponents and called him a “farce”. White also said that he wouldn’t even consider Fedor among the top five heavyweights in the division.

- Both White and Fertitta agreed that they don’t things to play out in court. However they did say that they would take any means necessary in order to protect themselves.

- There are no plans to report numbers for revenue or anything like that in the near future.

- White plans on offering Couture a fight most likely this week. He mentioned Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira as an opponent. He said that if Couture did not take the fight, he would take that as Randy retiring.

UFC to Hold Press Conference Tomorrow

The UFC has announced that it will hold a public press conference tomorrow at 4 PM EST.

UFC President Dana White and UFC Co-Owner Lorenzo Fertitta will be on hand to address recent statements made by former UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture about the company and to answer any questions that the media may have about the situation.

The press conference will be streamed live on UFC.com.

Couture: “I’m Not Trying to Fight Elsewhere”

All Randy Couture wants is the one thing he’s constantly earned over his 10 year MMA career: Respect.

Couture held a public press conference earlier today at his Xtreme Couture training facility in Las Vegas, Nevada to discuss his reasons behind resigning from the UFC just two weeks ago.

Couture was quick to point out that he doesn’t want to do any harm to the promotion that caused him to become one of the most recognizable athletes in the world.

“I talked to Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta on the phone yesterday and I told them both that I’m not trying to hurt the organization in any way,” said Couture. “I told them how I felt. There weren’t any shouting matches or anything like that. Dana made particular comments that he’d like me to come back but based on the responses that were put on the table I don’t see it happening right now.”

“I’m tired of swimming against the current,” continued Couture. “I just want to be treated the way that I deserve and I haven’t been treated that way in a long time. If I would have come out and made inflammatory statements about the UFC and how I was being treated then it would have made it worse while I was still fighting and talking about contracts. I didn’t try to create a big buzz and I didn’t want to start anything. I simply laid out my feelings about why I was resigning.”

Continue reading "Couture: “I’m Not Trying to Fight Elsewhere”"

The UFC’s Biggest Battle in the New Generation

The UFC has won battles in the past.

All we have to do is look no further than the tale of how Zuffa came in and saved the promotion that was nearly driven into the ground by Senator John McCain and the idea that mixed martial arts was nothing more than human cockfighting. Fast forward almost seven years later and the UFC has become the driving force behind MMA’s giant growth in popularity in recent years.

Now the UFC is seemingly on top of the world. Yet they have another battle to take on.

Continue reading "The UFC’s Biggest Battle in the New Generation"

CKA: Sep 28, 2007

I give this guy an A for effort. Hopefully the UFC considers him at least.

News and Notes

Everyone is excited about the return of Gilbert Melendez…

Sherdog: Melendez Makes 2007 Debut in Strikeforce
MMA Weekly: Melendez Returns More Determined Than Ever
Yahoo! Sports: Melendez the best fighter you might not know
Bloody Elbow: The World’s #1 Lightweight Fights Saturday at the Playboy Mansion
CBS Sports: Q&A with Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez

- Jordan Breen says that the UFC is trying to secure another TV deal in Japan with WOWOW:

In the most recent issue of the Japanese combat sports periodical Gonkaku, Zuffa co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta said he hoped to ink a new deal with Japanese satellite channel WOWOW next year. He added that an agreement could be accomplished sooner rather than later.

While a deal is far from complete, this is good news for Japanese MMA fans. As of March 2007, WOWOW has just over 2.43 million subscriptions in Japan. After the channel’s UFC 70 telecast in April, network executives had officially announced that they could not reach a contractual agreement with Zuffa to continue broadcasting UFC events.

- Din Thomas will most likely be out for at least four months according to MMA Weekly.

You may remember that Thomas injured his knee while attempting to take Kenny Florian down in their fight at UFC Fight Night 11. It turns out that Thomas suffered a torn meniscus, stretched anterior cruciate ligament, bruised femur, and a damaged tibia and will be required to undergo arthroscopic surgery within the next two weeks.

- Falaniko Vitale has been added to the Strikeforce card for this Saturday and will make his Strikeforce debut against Ron Fields.

- 411 Mania has confirmed with B.J. Penn’s camp that he is booked for UFC 79 in December.

- Tonight’s episode of Human Weapon on The History Channel will feature Strikeforce welterweight Cung Le.

- The second installment of Inside MMA will be broadcasted tonight at 9:30 PM EST on HDNet. Tonight’s episode will feature a segment on Shane Carwin, a visit to Duke Roufus’ MMA school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, highlights, and rankings. Hosts Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten will be joined by guests UFC referee “Big” John McCarthy, Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson, and Chris Bruno.

- Still looking for something else to watch? Spike TV will be airing a replay of UFC Fight Night 11 tonight starting at 9 PM EST.

- Zach Arnold is reporting that Kazuhiro Nakamura and his management team, J-Rock, plan to file an appeal with the CSAC:

J-ROCK, the management team of Kazuhiro Nakamura, fired back at the California State Athletic Commission in the Japanese press on Thursday. The company released a statement on behalf of Nakamura, denying that he was guilty of using marijuana and that they are appealing the ruling. They want a drug test re-examination and are considering the current ruling a mistake. (In the statement, J-ROCK claims that they talked to Nakamura after the news of the failed drug test came out. Nakamura stated that he had no motive whatsoever for using marijuana and has not used marijuana.)

- Sam Caplan has an excellent interview with UFC light heavyweight contender Houston Alexander at Five Ounces of Pain. A single father taking care of six kids while fighting in the UFC, hosting his own radio show, and traveling the country to lecture on the culture of hip hop. Holy shit.

Radio Schedule

12-1 PM - Tagg Radio
1-3 PM - The Savage Dog Show
3-4 PM - Fight Network Radio
3-5 PM - The Beatdown
9-10 PM - MMAWeekly’s Sound Off
11 PM - Knockout Radio

PRIDE’s Last Hurrah? Possibly Not

History will be made this weekend. It doesn’t even seem like it right? Where the hell is the hype for UFC 75? I wish I knew…

Anyway, the UFC has been gracious enough to at least promote this event as part of the UFC vs PRIDE battle that we were all promised back in March. UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton Jackson and PRIDE Middleweight Champion Dan Henderson are to fight to unify the titles this Saturday.

Now let’s all be honest here. Even if Henderson wins, which I think he will, the UFC title is still going to remain just that. The PRIDE belt will most likely be absorbed into it unless the UFC has some kind of plan that we don’t know about.

So is UFC 75 the last we are going to see or hear about PRIDE? I’m not so sure. There’s always that remote chance that White and company somehow find a way to salvage the company and strike a TV deal over in Japan. My point is about the three other PRIDE belts that fighters still hold. It seems that PRIDE Lightweight Champion Takanori Gomi is going to stay in Japan and sign with K-1 Hero’s. The UFC could always vacate the title or they could give it to another former PRIDE fighter and then unify it that way.

Henderson still has PRIDE’s Welterweight Title as well. White has already said that he’s not sure if Henderson would get an immediate shot at Anderson Silva or Rich Franklin after the Jackson fight, making it seem like he is going to have to put the welterweight strap on the line too.

Then there’s always Fedor. Has he signed with the UFC or not? You know as much I do right now. I guess we’ll find out Saturday. If so, that’s yet another PRIDE belt that needs to be unified.

My guess is that the PRIDE label isn’t going anywhere, at least for the next few months…

Ortiz Dealing With Lorenzo Fertitta

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz recently spoke with UFC Mania about his USO tour in Iraq, steroids in MMA, and variety of other topics. One interesting note coming from the interview was Ortiz stated that he no does business with Dana White, everything is done with Lorenzo Fertitta.

I’m dealing with Lorenzo Fertitta now and he’s awesome to deal with, a great businessman, not like that loser they have as President. What a horrible guy. He’s gonna send the company down the drain because sooner or later the fighters are gonna realize they don’t have to be bullied anymore. They should just get rid of Dana.

Check out the full interview here.

Report: PRIDE is Alive, Scheduled to Return August 18th

Nikkan Sports is reporting that the first Zuffa ran PRIDE show will take place Saturday, Aug. 18 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

Zach Arnold is reporting that the theme of the show will be a “Japanese all-star” presentation.

The theme of the show will be a “Japanese all-star” presentation, centered around Hidehiko Yoshida.

Since being purchased by Zuffa LLC. PRIDE has yet to run a show. Their last event dubbed “Kamikaze” took place April 8, 2007 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan with a headline bout of Jeff Monson vs. Kazuyuki Fujita.

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