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It begins: Strikeforce fighters reportedly now being asked to sign Zuffa contracts

By Zach Arnold | March 26, 2011

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Approximately two weeks ago, Jeff Thaler & I had a conference call (the audio content is as fresh today as it was back then) talking about the ramifications of Zuffa buying out Strikeforce. One of the main points I brought up about the deal is the way the contracts for Strikeforce are structured and issues relating to jurisdiction.

According to MMA Junkie, Strikeforce fighters who are scheduled to fight at the San Diego Sports Arena event on April 9th are now reportedly getting new Zuffa contracts. This is an important news item because what it indicates is that Zuffa has learned from mistakes they made during the PRIDE asset sale deal where they had some contracts that did not transfer over (personal service contracts) and others that required them to honor the deals (ask Mark Hunt about this).

The elephant in the room, of course, is jurisdiction. By signing new Zuffa contracts, they likely want the fighters to agree to make Nevada home court for any legal battles. By doing this, Zuffa is cutting off fighters from issuing any sort of legal challenge where California (a friendlier labor state than Nevada) might possible rule against them if a fighter wanted to challenge a contract. Zuffa is virtually unstoppable in the Nevada court system.

(They’ve used the majority of top law firms in Clark County, too.)

Of course, the flip side to that is that if a Strikeforce fighter wanted to challenge Zuffa in court, it would take some serious cash and Zuffa could threaten the fighter by icing them out for the remainder of their Strikeforce contract if there is a long-term expiration date, such as two years.

So much for Paul Daley not fighting in the UFC again. A rematch with Josh Koscheck?

Again, if you haven’t had the chance to do, go listen to the conference call Jeff & I did on this very topic. It’s less than 30 minutes long and it’s well worth a listen.

Topics: Media, MMA, StrikeForce, UFC, Zach Arnold | 11 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

11 Responses to “It begins: Strikeforce fighters reportedly now being asked to sign Zuffa contracts”

  1. Jonathan Luther says:

    Has Zuffa ever lost in court in NV?

    A judge made the ruling that “and” also means “or” or something ridiculous when siding with Zuffa over Ken Shamrock. That’s why Bellator and other promotions/entities fight tooth and nail to get out of NV and Zuffa does the opposite, trying to pull them in.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    Makes sense. Whether it happens now or a year from now, it was going to happen.

    And let me say this might have little to do with jurisdiction and everything to do with language within the contracts. I’m sure Zuffa’s contracts are just better in holding up in court.

    Besides, where is a fighter going to go if he refuses? Fight for $10,000 maximum on the smaller shows?

    • The Gaijin says:

      “Besides, where is a fighter going to go if he refuses? Fight for $10,000 maximum on the smaller shows?”

      A-HA!!! Exactly the point I was making last week! There is literally no competitor for the services of top level mma talent and there will not be anytime in the foreseeable future.

      I imagine the UFC would still have to honour the SF contracts if the person doesn’t want to sign a Zuffa one…but I would think they will let them know it’s not in their best interest to play that game *wink*wink*nudge*nudge*…kind of goes against the “business as usual” motto though doesn’t it.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        The good fighters will still get paid good money. But if a fighter brings nothing to the table, he is really at the mercy of the UFC.

        I also wonder how these contracts are? They are likely going to pay them what they were promised. Too much headache and bad press to go against that. But I wouldn’t be shocked if the LENGTH of the contract made sure every fighter was signed well beyond the end of the Showtime deal.

      • Nottheface says:

        It’s almost as if they had a monopsony on elite level mma talent, isn’t it?

  3. David says:

    Zach thank you so much for your reportage! None of us ever imagined the UFC buying out Strikeforce. However, once they made the annoucement, it was all clear to see!

  4. Nottheface says:

    Zach, Steve Marraco’s is referring to the prelim fighters (1-fight contracts) getting Zuffa contracts and not the maincard fighters already under contract.

  5. nolan says:

    A contract always has to reflect the parties which enter it. When ownership changes hands, you need to sign new contracts prior to service being rendered; it’s standard business practice. An old contract lacks consensus (one of the parties no longer exists) and consideration (one of the parties is unable to provide what they’ve promised as they no longer exist). Strikeforce is just a brand now; Zuffa is the daddy.

    While adjusting the home turf for court battles is probably icing on the cake, the motivation for the new contracts is clearly good business.

    • YeahRite says:

      Good business for the UFC. The fighters will be doing a lot more for a lot less so ufc can recoup the 40 mil they wasted on this deal.

  6. EJ says:

    Don’t know how this means that Paul Daley is going to fight in the UFC again. As far as SF fighters signing Zuffa contracts like others said that is just very smart, basically guys have 2 choices sign or be SOL.

  7. Barry says:

    Of course Zuffa’s unstoppable in the Nevada courts.
    You hire enough lawyers & pay off enough judges & politicians and you’d win every time to.

    These guys are not good people they’re as slimy and greedy as you can get. Stop supporting their product.

    You like MMA fine there’s still plenty to watch out there even after SF purchase including what the UFC offers for free without having to give these scumbags a dime of your money.
    I’ll never give a dime of mine to another Zuffa product knowingly again. I don’t care if they buy everything.
    No PPVs, DVDs, Magazines, Hats, Tshirts, etc. Never.

    There,s enough MMA to enjoy without fattening the wallets or Bank accounts of Zuffa.


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