By Zach Arnold | June 28, 2007
By Zach Arnold
Dana White made some rather interesting comments today about PRIDE in the UFC 73 conference call.
…explain the situation pertaining to the PRIDE contracts and whether they can be transferred to the UFC. He said the old PRIDE contracts are valid with PRIDE Worldwide, the new company that owns PRIDE. However, the contracts can’t be transferred to the UFC and that with PRIDE’s status being uncertain, a lot of the guys need to fight so they are also signing them to UFC deals.
This is, in my opinion, Mr. White completely talking out of both sides of his mouth. The ‘test’ to determine the validity of the PRIDE contracts is very simple – were they personal service contracts? If they were, they are not transferrable to third parties in asset sales. If they were iron-clad deals, then they are transferrable.
Simply put, it doesn’t make any sense to ask PRIDE fighters to sign UFC contracts if you think the PRIDE contracts are iron clad in the first place. The PRIDE fighters know this and are calling Zuffa’s bluff here.
If Mr. White would like the public to know the details about the PRIDE contracts and the assets purchased from DSE, perhaps Zuffa management should cooperate in the witness deposition process in the Ed Fishman lawsuit against DSE. Instead, members of Zuffa management are not cooperating with witness depositions by claiming that they have nondisclosure agreements that prevent them from discussing the asset sale details. (The information about members of management not wanting to give depositions is publicly listed in court records pertaining to the Fishman vs. DSE Inc. lawsuit.)
Said it was their intention when they bought Pride to actually run it but that there’s just a lot to sort out right now. He scoffed several times when reports about Pride running shows soon were brought up.
This is exactly the kind of attitude that will not fly with the Japanese when it comes to doing business. There’s a reason why the inmates who used to run the asylum are making noise again in Japan — they want to see some action. The perception amongst many people in the Japanese fight community is that UFC is a dead-end proposition for them. UFC better be prepared for a major turf war in Japan, a situation which presents Zuffa with having zero leverage in that marketplace.