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The cannibalization of challengers in the UFC Welterweight division

By Zach Arnold | July 29, 2010

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Initially when I was listening to this week’s edition of Pro MMA radio, a top argument being discussed on the show was whether or not Jake Shields vs. Martin Kampmann should be the co-main event of the October UFC event in Anaheim (that is headlined by Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez for the UFC Heavyweight title). The conventional wisdom right now is that Tito Ortiz vs. Matt Hamill will be the semi-main event fight because of Tito’s name power and the fact that he’s fighting in home territory.

LARRY PEPE: “What’s the co-main event?”

JESSE HOLLAND: “Boy, that’s a tough one. I think you have to make, if you have plans of putting Jake Shields against Georges St. Pierre and this is their route you’re going to take, you have to have Kampmann/Shields as your co-main event. And I understand the draw of Tito Ortiz but at this stage in his career, it’s time to make way for some of the young guns and I think, you know, Jake Shields has got to be co-main event if you want to make him your next superstar.”

LARRY PEPE: “Yeah, I’m with you 100% and I had this argument with a friend of mine. He immediately said Tito/Hamill. He’s like, you know, the drawing power and this and that and the other and my argument is two-fold: one is, Tito’s drawing power on this card is irrelevant in my opinion because you have Brock Lesnar at the top of the card and if you have Brock Lesnar in the main event, you’re going to do your million-plus anyway. I don’t know how many more people you’re going to get because of Tito when you already have Lesnar. So, I don’t think you need Tito to sell the card, especially with the depth of this one but you certainly don’t him to sell it. The second issue, Jesse, not only is there, you know, the intention to put Shields against GSP, but if Kampmann beats Shields, he goes to 5-1 in the Welterweight division, he’s got to be the next contender. So… and neither one of these guys is that well-known to your broad-base, mainstream fan base. I’d argue Shields more than Kampmann because of all the cards he did on CBS and Showtime and either way, you know, when you’re promoting this event and you’re doing your Countdown show, I assume it’s going to be a Countdown and not a Primetime, but whichever you’re doing you need to put some promotional backing to Shields and Kampmann. What better way to do it than to make them co-main, to make them a part of the Countdown show, whatever promotional thing you’re doing, so you can further introduce them to your audience and to draw everybody in with Lesnar and Velasquez to highlight these guys? I think to make anybody else the co-main, to make Tito/Hamill the co-main, would be a huge mistake.”

Personally, I’m fine with the promotion picking either fight for the semi-main event slot.

However, this initial discussion on the placement of the Shields/Kampmann fight led to a much more boisterous discussion about the way the UFC has booked and built up/destroyed challengers for Georges St. Pierre in their Welterweight division. I think that the Pro MMA radio team makes some valid points as far as the corner UFC has trapped themselves into right now with guys like Jon Fitch and Thiago Alves.

LARRY PEPE: “And since we’re going to talk mistakes, I’m not completely on-board with the whole path for Shields to begin with. I was strongly of the opinion that they should have gotten the Shields deal done if possible before they were going to film TUF and put him on TUF against Georges St. Pierre for an immediate title shot. Here’s my thing, Jesse… Shields has enough of a history, enough of a pedigree, and in my opinion enough exposure that an immediate title shot with Georges St. Pierre would have been warranted. I’m kind of floored by the response to the Shields signing. Dave Meltzer’s suggested that he should be on undercards or kind of hidden from the audience, which I don’t get at all. I mean, people, they’re talking about Shields like he’s the most boring fighter in the world. He’s got more finishes and he’s more exciting than Jon Fitch in my opinion, easily. Yushin Okami for a long time didn’t have a finish and Shields has finishes. It’s just his style. But I don’t know how you watch the Henderson fight and say it’s boring. The (Mayhem) Miller fight might have not been too exciting. The Robbie Lawler fight, he gets a great submission early on. The Paul Daley fight, he submits him. So, for me, to risk Shields losing to Kampmann and losing all of that promotional value, all that marketing cache that you have a guy who just beat Dan Henderson at Middleweight. You have a guy who’s beaten Carlos Condit, Yushin Okami, we talked about how tough he is. He’s beaten Robbie Lawler, Paul Daley, he’s beaten a list of guys. He hasn’t loss in years, he’s got something like 15 straight wins. To me, you just don’t risk that fight against Georges St. Pierre that everybody was clamoring for after the Henderson fight on a potential loss to anybody! And Kampmann is a tough, tough opponent and he doesn’t match up well for Shields because he’s got phenomenal stand-up and that’s Jake’s weak point.”

JESSE HOLLAND: “You know, in a perfect world, Jake Shields would be opposing coach on this upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter. I understand they didn’t get the deal done on time. Could they have? Probably because, you know, as you said earlier, there’s no way that Strikeforce was going to even play the numbers game with the UFC because they can’t and I think that’s quite apparent. But if you’re going to bring in Shields into the UFC, you know, first of all you’re not going to put him on the undercard. You don’t sign a star of that magnitude, somebody of his ability and his talent and put them down there where no one can see him. And he’s got a guy now, he’s not just coming off a win over Dan Henderson who used to be your Middleweight #1 contender, he’s coming off of a dominant win over Dan Henderson on CBS in front of a national audience and I don’t want to hear about this, you know, this boring fighter thing. I mean, you know, guys like Frank Shamrock, the haters, you know who want to ride that horse into the sunset, go right ahead. But you know you look at his resume, he had 8 straight finishes. 7 submissions and a technical knockout heading in the Jason Miller fight last November. So if you go from 8 straight finishes to 2 decisions, I don’t think that’s you know so outrageous or so terrible. I mean, you know, look at Georges St. Pierre. Isn’t this a guy who has got two back-to-back decisions that I would hardly call exciting? You bring in Jake Shields into the UFC, you don’t want to give him Georges St. Pierre, so you give him the next worst possible match-up, Martin Kampmann, a guy who’s never been submitted. A guy who’s clearly the superior striker in this contest at least, I mean, look at Shields’ striking. Is he a competent striker? Yeah, but I wouldn’t call him anything above average. His need is on the ground and that’s where he’s at his best and what we saw out of Shields in Strikeforce, the way he was able to push guys around, keep them down, hold them to the ground, smother them, set up his submissions, had a lot to do with the muscle and the size that he was carrying at Middleweight. I don’t know if he’s going to have that same advantage cutting back down to Welterweight. I mean, you cut back down to Welterweight to face a guy as skilled as Martin Kampmann who, oh by the way, also took out Paulo Thiago, another very well-versed in submission fighter, and took him out quite easily actually. And also, here’s a guy that also fought at Middleweight and did quite well. He made a mistake against Nate Marquardt, OK, but he put together some big wins against some big guys in the Middleweight division. I just think that this is a bad match-up for Shields. I don’t know if he’ll be able to get Kampmann to the ground. If he can, I don’t know if he’ll be able to finish him and let’s not forget, it’s a three round fight. All Kampmann has to do is take two rounds and just stay out of the submissions and do enough damage on the feet, which I think he can, to take the judges’ decision. Not looking good for Shields, if you ask me.”

LARRY PEPE: “Yeah, I agree. It’s a tough fight. I mean, I don’t know if he’s going to pull it out. I think Martin is a star in his own right. You mentioned the Middleweight division, he was 4-1 as a Middleweight. He’s now 4-1 as a Welterweight. This is a top-notch guy. Now I know people could be home screaming, WELL YOU WANT THE BEST GUYS TO FIGHT THE BEST GUYS. Yes, I agree, but here’s the problem… the problem is that in this division, this Welterweight division, we have three guys who have fought St. Pierre in Koscheck, Fitch, and Alves, who St. Pierre utterly dominated. Those all three fights went the distance, so we have 13 rounds of fighting. 65 minutes and I would defy you to find two or three minutes in those 65 minutes where GSP did not have the advantage. So, they were dominate, they weren’t ‘oh gee, it’s close, I’m anxious to see them fight him again,’ and I think at the end of the day fans don’t really relish re-matches when the first fight was a blowout and all these fights were blowouts so I think fan interest in Koscheck, Fitch, and Alves fighting St. Pierre again, on a scale of 1 to 10 is about a 3. OK? On the other hand, you had Anthony Johnson, off of numerous highlight reel knockouts, and what do you do? You have him fight Koscheck, one of the guys who fans probably aren’t clamoring to see fight GSP again, and Koscheck takes him out of the mix. Then, what do you do? You give Koscheck Paul Daley, the other guy, two highlight reel knockouts, a trash talker, brash, you know, two different countries involved, you could have marketed the hell out of that fight, especially with GSP beating Hardy and Hardy and Daley being training partners for 8 years and friends and all this other stuff, you had storyline after storyline. Incredibly marketable fight. What do you do? You risk that fight by giving Daley to who? Josh Koscheck, who does what? Predictably, wrestles Daley, grinds him out, said himself he was playing it safe like GSP, his words. And now you eliminate another contender. Now I know Daley did what he did after the fight but you didn’t know any of that before the fight, you didn’t know any of that before you booked it. So, now you have burnt two marketable fights that I think fans would want to see. Now, you take a risk of burning the Shields fight which is the fight and Jesse, you know, you correct me if I’m wrong, but on MMAMania the day after the night that Shields beat Henderson, all anybody wanted to talk about was, oh my God, this guy might be the legitimate challenger to GSP, which is everybody’s clamoring for. And now you risk that maybe you lose that fight. Now, yeah, you get the Kampmann fight if you lose the Shields fight, but if you did a poll on MMAMania the day after the Henderson fight and said who do you want to most see GSP fight, Shields would have won that poll, I would submit to you that he would win that poll any day, any time that he’s the one that everybody wants to see fight.”

JESSE HOLLAND: “Well, we did have that poll and I think it was 999 voted yes and 1 voted no and ironically it was Dave Meltzer who voted no. Take that for what it’s worth.”

LARRY PEPE: “Very good. So, here’s my thing, like what I don’t understand with this division is you have now basically mowed down an Anthony Johnson fight that I think was marketable, a Paul Daley fight that I’m sure that was marketable, and you’re risking a Shields fight that’s ultra-marketable and instead, you got a Koscheck fight that, yeah, they’ll market it, they’ll work it with TUF and everything else, but at the end of the day, I’m sure if you did a poll, Jesse, and maybe you should, if people said hey, would you rather see Koscheck fight GSP, Shields, at the time Daley, Fitch, Alves, I’m willing to bet that the three guys that have fought him already finish in the three last positions because at the end of the day, I think we all want to see new challengers for champions. We’re not that interested in re-matches unless the first fight was really close or controversial.”

JESSE HOLLAND: “Well, I’ll tell you, there was… there was one reaction in the history of in doing this for MMAMania, there was one reaction that I would say was equal to this and that was when they announced Liddell/Ortiz III. The fan reaction to this, nobody was screaming from the roof tops, nobody was applauding, just a complete and total indifference and we had the same exact thing when they announced Koscheck/St. Pierre after the Daley fight. Nobody really cared and nobody was really interested and you know it’s one of those things… Good heat is what you want, bad heat is what you don’t but it’s still OK because it sells fights, no heat at all? Then you’re in big trouble. I mean you got St. Pierre coming off two straight decisions. You’ve got a guy in Koscheck who doesn’t really fight, you know, the kind of fight the fans want to see. And what happens, you know, after that? And here’s my question — if Kampmann pulls off the win against Shields, does Kampmann goes into a GSP fight or does he get the winner of Fitch/Alves?”

LARRY PEPE: “Yeah, and I’ll tell you what, if he gets the winner of Fitch/Alves, I’ll scream because then AGAIN you’ll be taking guys that have already been dominated by GSP and having them potentially eliminate contenders who GSP hasn’t fought yet. It’s unreal. I mean, we’ve already seen it with Koscheck twice, with Johnson and Daley, and if it happens again with Kampmann and Fitch and Alves, that would be amazing to me.”

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 40 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

40 Responses to “The cannibalization of challengers in the UFC Welterweight division”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    1) Who cares who the co-main event is. It’s a stacked card. And a huge audience is going to see Jake Shields vs. Martin Kampmann on the telecast, no matter if it is the 2nd or 3rd biggest fight promoted on the card. Shields is getting the biggest audience possible for his UFC debut. That is the most important factor to look at. One that is being completely ignored by the people who want to be critical of every ove the UFC makes. Would you rather the UFC put him on the Nogueira brothers PPV?

    2) Giving out immediate title shots to former Strikeforce Champions does 2 things. First, it gives more importance to SF then it deserves. Second, it sets up a terrible example that they are going to give outsiders shots before their home grown talent.

    3) Shields needs to be introduced to the UFC’s fanbase. CBS shows constantly skewed older, which means people watching Shields on CBS weren’t the same ones who order the UFC PPV’s. Not everybody knows who he is. And getting him one fight before a title shot makes perfect sense.

    4) Fitch/Alves are only an issue because they keep on winning. That isn’t the UFC’s fault. They are doing perfect matchmaking by getting rid of one of GSP’s former title challengers in this fight. It would have been no different if Mir beat Carwin and we would be right back at Lesnar/Mir, which nobody wanted to see. The UFC can’t decide if a former title challenger is going to continue to win and earn himself a title shot again. This isn’t Pro Wrestling.

    5) The winner of Fitch/Alves is in line for a title shot along with the winner of Shields/Kampmann. Either would be an acceptable title challenger. I don’t care if Fitch/Alves have fought GSP before. If they work themselves up back to a title shot, they dserve it. Plain and simple. Put on a good co-main event to the PPV and people will still buy it.

    These Pro Wrestling talking heads are useless and don’t really deserve to have their comments discussed in the future. They obviously lack any sort of credible real sports analaysis. They see everything in the fake world of performence and think that imaginary matchmaking somehow works….

    • Jonathan says:

      45 Huddle,

      Still had to take a shot at Strikeforce? In a post that was all about the UFC and their welterweight division, you bash Strikeforce.


      Everything else I pretty much agree with, the exception being the “older” audience that watched the fights on CBS. Can you provide data to back up these claims?

      Because in my mind, a fan that is going to watch the fights on CBS and a fan that is going to watch the UFC are probably pretty close, if not, the same thing/person.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Meltezer had a bunch of stuff on the demographics in the past in his WO Newsletters. The CBS crowds skewed older. They had a higher percentage of viewers outside of the 18 to 42 (or whatever that key demographic is). Which isn’t a shock because CBS is the old people’s network.

        And that really isn’t a shot at Strikeforce. It has to do with how the UFC needs to heandle it’s competition in the future. They cannot give other companies champions immediate title shots. It will only frustrate their own talent base and cause problems. The same could be said for a Bellator Champion coming in….

    • Mark says:

      The co-main slot matters because the bulk of the PPV bonuses go to the 4 headliners. So if Tito Ortiz’s name value (what’s left of it, anyway) is convincing people on the fence about buying it just for Brock to take the plunge, why shouldn’t he be compensated for it more than some guys only the hardcore fans care about?

      As for who deserves the next shot: Yeah, it would be great if MMA operated things on who deserved it more. But they’re all running on a PPV business model (or I guess premium cable model in SF’s case) that makes it very important that the fans are excited to pay to see what they are offering. Does Jon Fitch (who I think will beat Alves) deserve another title shot? Certainly. But he isn’t exciting enough to convince fans to pay for a fight they just saw a little over a year ago when everybody knows it’s going to have the same exact outcome. It goes beyond a “pro wrestling mindset” to think running GSP/Fitch II would be a bad idea unless they’d put it on Spike (which wouldn’t happen.) They should really talk him into jumping to 185, because as long as he stays at 170 he’ll be eligible for a title shot every single year, because he seems to be able to beat anybody but St. Pierre. And I don’t see GSP losing the belt or jumping to 185 anytime soon.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        When Fitch beats Alves, it will be 2 days shy of 2 years since he lost to GSP. And in that time, he would have won 5 fights. Beating Gono, Thiago, Pierce, Saunders, & Alves. That is worthy of a 2nd title shot.

        Fitch should get 1 more title shot before he elects to move up. Either that or Koscheck wins the belt.

        And how much a fighter gets paid is likely based on his contract. Brock Lesnar could be on the prelims, but he is still going to be making a % of the PPV buys…

  2. SixT-4 says:

    The “Shields is boring” spiel is getting old. I think most of the people saying that didn’t know who he was before he got on CBS, and only saw those two decisions.

    I mean seriously, after the Mayhem fight Shields was suddenly “a boring fighter”.

    For a start, I enjoyed that fight. I thought it was great. Secondly, that was his first decision after a string of finishes. He suddenly becomes boring? What?

    • LOL what? Shields’ fights in Shooto were fucking terrible. His performance in the ROTR tourney is impossible to watch. His corner can be audibly heard telling him to DO NOTHING there.

      • Steve4192 says:

        Shields absolutely deserved his reputation as a blanket prior to 2006. But after that ROTR tournament, he reeled of eight consecutive finishes. I really think he has evolved from the painfully boring he was prior to 2006. He just happened to run up against two guys who are bigger than him and extremely difficult to finish.

        Put him back in his natural weight division and give him ground elbows back (he used them quite effectively in EliteXC) and he will start consistently finishing guys again.

    • jj says:

      just because you finish a fight doesn’t mean it was exciting. an easy example is that shields/daley fight was terribly boring, but he finished him. shields is a boring fighter.

  3. edub says:

    Ok this interview is a little annoying:

    -Martin kampman is not the second hardest style matchup for Shields in the UFC WW division. I would put Alves and koscheck over Kampman by quite a bit in terms of style matchups against Shields.

    -The UFC does not owe any sort of promotional campaign to Jake. The guy hasn’t fought at 170 lbs in over a year. They can definately make money off the guy, if he proves himself a draw.If he loses to kampman then Kampman deserves that push because he was good enough to beat Shields.

    -29-28 is not domination. St. pierre did not dominate Kosckeck. I am really getting tired of hearing that.

    -If guys lose on there way to a title shot then they didn’t deserve the push to the title at that time period anyway. Anthony Johnson had a good run, but one of those big big KOs in that run came against a guy in Yoshida who he probably outweighed by 25 lbs on fight night. He got outwrestled by koscheck, and inadvertann/bullshit knee or not, Koscheck earned his spot back in line.

    -No one really needs to tell the UFC how to run their business. The fans aren’t hyped up by “0” records, they are hyped up by the idea of the best fighting the best(whether it happens all the time or not). If one of the “best” loses on his way to a title shot then that means he was not the best at that time.

    “So, now you have burnt two marketable fights that I think fans would want to see.”

    Yes some fans would have loved to see that from the promotional aspect, but anybody who know’s anything knows that Paul was fighting on borrowed time in the UFC WW division. He got two straight wins over tough tough opponents but are either of the guys he beat wrestler’s? No, and the wrestler has been the has been the dominant entity in the 170lb division ever since it’s inception into MMA.

    -I think they are reaching big time when comparing Liddell/Ortiz 3 to Koscheck/GSP 2.

    • Jonathan says:

      My only question is how did GSP NOT dominate Koscheck in their fight? I remember watching it and specifically remember the look of despair and desperation on Kos’s face as he was taken down repeatedly.

      GSP did dominate Koscheck.

      • edub says:

        No I understand that Jonathan. He did dominate the second round, and most of the third. But he LOST the first round on every scorecard, even with getting the first takedown. Again, because I have said this before, if Koscheck lands the double leg in the third round and rides out the round on top we very well could have seen a Koscheck victory(whether or not he deserved it).

        GSP beat Koscheck fair and square, but saying that he dominated the fight is not a correct statement.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      People really need to go back and watch GSP/Koscheck. If Koscheck goes into this fight with the idea that he wants to be the first to shoot for a takedown, he can and likely will win. GSP doesn’t have a great back game.

      This is a great title fight. Right now I’m slightly leaning towards Koscheck to win.

      • Jonathan says:

        Now that is a ballsy choice. Are you saying that just because 99.99% of people are picking Koscheck? Like it is so long shot, that if y some miracle it did happen, you can go back and say that you called it.

        I am curious as to how Koscheck would beat GSP?

        • SixT-4 says:

          He’s got a good chance of stopping a lot of GSP’s shots (especially since the 1st time round GSP’s wrestling was a surprise).

          Koscheck is pretty decent on the feet and has a shot there. If he fights sensibly and actually mixes in takedown attempts with his striking his has an excellent chance. Keep in mind Koscheck took GSP down in their first fight, so it’s possible, even more so now that he can strike to set it up.

          The first time GSP beat Koscheck was when Kos was a 1 dimensional wrestler who had no idea GSP could wrestle and wasn’t prepared for it. Even in that case, he did better than anyone has done against GSP recently.

        • Jonathan says:

          I am curious as to how Koscheck will stop GSP’s takedowns when GSP has the best takedown game in the world of MMA. People know that he is going to shoot and they still cannot stop it. If I remember correctly, he was taking down Koscheck from half way across the Octagon.

          I guess what I am saying is that I think Koscheck is not on the same level as GSP in many different ways, and GSP could call him (Kos) months in advance and tell him that he is going to shoot on him and there is nothing he could do to stop it.

          Wrestling in college and wrestling in MMA are different. I think that GSP has proven that.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          He doesn’t really have to stop GSP’s takedowns. He just has to be the first one to shoot in and be relentless with it.

        • Jonathan says:

          So 45, are you going to go on the record and pick Koscheck to win?

          If so, I’ll make a wager with you.

          Loser leaves the site?

        • edub says:

          “If I remember correctly, he was taking down Koscheck from half way across the Octagon.”

          So pretty much you don’t remember correctly…

          “So 45, are you going to go on the record and pick Koscheck to win?

          If so, I’ll make a wager with you.

          Loser leaves the site?”

          Depending on odds I will probably be putting a sizeable bet down on Koscheck.

          Who has the wrestling Koscheck does that GSP dominated? Fitch, no where near. Alves, pretty good takedown defense, but no where near. Dan Hardy, really? Matt Serra, again no where near. Matt Hughes, an All american yes, but still not on Koscheck’s level.

          Let’s be honest if you guys actually made that bet neither of you would honor it…

  4. Matthew says:

    The biggest problem that I have with the article is why people are always saying the rematches suck and nobody wants to see them. I would love to see Fitch vs GSP again. I think that Fitch would be in a much better position to beat GSP then Kos is. The only time that I do not like a rematch is when it is immedate such as Fedor wants with Werdum or Penn is getting with Edgar. The only time I find them worth while is if the fight was stopped due to illegal blows or something like that.

    Also putting shields against Kampmann makes sense to me. If he is able to beat a good striker like Kampmann and finish him then that is just more leverage the UFC can use with the fight against GSP since most people are saying if GSP fight Shield he will have to beat him with stand up. Also if he losses to Kampmann then that helps them setting up a fight with Kampmann and GSP as they can say he beat Shields, was able to stop the take downs and sub attempts even though we all know GSPs takedown at heads above everyone elses.

  5. Mr.Roadblock says:

    The problem in UFC’s WW division is that you have a dominant champion (who in my opinion fights a terribly boring style) that has destroyed the top 3 contenders who are all head and shoulders above the rest of the division.

    The problem is more than GSP being dominant (and boring to watch). It’s that none of the other guys at the weight can get by Fitch, Kos & Alves. Those three got mutilated by GSP. I don’t think anyone really wants to see any of those three against GSP again for $50.

    But unless you release them they’re going to jam up the works as was pointed out in the transcript.

    I think Shields vs Kampmann is an excellent matchup. Shields should have to win at least one fight in the UFC before getting a title shot. Kampmann is a good matchup and the winner is the most deserving guy for a shot not named Fitch, Kos or Alves.

    Furthermore if Shields can’t beat Kampmann he doesn’t deserve a shot at GSP anyway. So what’s the issue? I say it’s a good fight let’s see it happen.

    • I’d rather it just have been right to Shields/GSP without needing another abyssmal TUF season, but overall I don’t disagree with your premise as things stand. I’m generally OK with it so long as a Shields win that isn’t necessarily exciting doesn’t make it a deal where he is suddenly “not ready” for top contenders.

      • edub says:

        Wow, that statement probably just jinxed something in the universe: Jake Shields UD over Kampman, moments later Dana White says Jake might need some more cage time before he’s ready for GSP…

        • But we all know its true. And if it happened, people on the net would cheer it because it makes “smart business sense” or whatever.

        • edub says:

          Yea you’re definately not wrong. Hopefully it doesn’t happen…

        • 45 Huddle says:

          If Fitch/Alves or Shields/Kampmann are very boring, the winner of that fight automatically loses out on a title shot. Unless Shields negotiated a title shot into his contract after his first fight.

          Shouldn’t be that way…. Based on excitment….

  6. Beth Mahoney says:

    Brock vs. Cain should stay the main event. Neither of these guys can beat GSP anyway.

  7. 45 Huddle says:

    UFC is sueing Ken Pavia and Bellator. Looks like some Bellator employee who wasn’t too happy forwarded them on to Zuffa. That would be my guess.

    Either way, Pavia and Bellator are screwed. Between lawyer fees and potential payouts coming…. I wouldn’t be shocked if this is eventually the end of Bellator (who can’t be making much money anyways). The emails do show Rebney as an idiot.

    I’ve worked for some large companies that have had copies of all of their competitors contracts for business purposes. And I know for a fact that a few of them did the same thing. And all of those documents were “classified”. But you would never see the big bosses touch that stuff for this very reason. For Rebney to get himself invovled in these communications shows what an amateur he is.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      I should also point out that I have never seen companies take a competitors legal documents and use them as their own. Each had their own legal teams which drafted up their documents based on their own protection needs.

      So in that way, Rebney was extra stupid for doing something so illegal.

    • I’d like to see an actual lawyer chime in on whether or not a company’s standard contract can be considered “trade secrets”.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        I’m interested in hearing the lawyers perspective as well. But we don’t know if this is just standard contract stuff. It could be fighter contracts. Specific language for clauses. Could be contract with sponsors or venues. From the information released, it sounds like its a good amount of material given to Bellator.

        • Again: Is contract language “intellectual property”? I honestly doubt it. Which is probably why the “trade secrets” thing comes into play, since my guess would be that the actual violation is that of a break in confidentiality that I’m sure the contracts demand.

          TBH, I really don’t know or have much emotional interest either way. Bjorn Rebney is (allegedly) a scumbag whom I have said repeatedly since before the promotion even ran a show is (an alleged) cancer on the sport. People glossed it all over and ignored it because it was convenient and he was supposedly “promoting the right way”, whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean. I guess now we’ll get regurgitations of the 3 year old hit piece I did on the guy. Awesome work, internet.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          You were definitely one of the first to bring up Rebney’s checked past in boxing on MMA websites. I started to see a lot of that same sort of information then come up again on various forums once the Sherdog article about Bellator and Herman.

          I would be surprised if Bellator is still putting on MMA fights once this lawsuit is settled.

        • The Gaijin says:

          Well let me start off by saying based on the very little information I’ve seen so far and consulting my alcohol hazed law classes from years back (as well as flipping through a text book very quickly before writing this wandering 4 vodkas deep response)…one could take a view that precedent/form of contract(ual language) that’s been created by a company could most likely fall under a “trade secret” or protected property. After digesting it for a while, I (or someone else) may come to view that as a rather specious take.

          In my experience working as counsel at a large international investment bank a couple years back, let me tell you they take very seriously the protection of even the most “standard” or “form of” contract/form/precedent piece of paper they produce (or have produced). Hell law firms have model precedent systems that are jealously guarded and covered with watermark and photocopying protection – we weren’t even allowed to share them with clients. These types of documents (even a standard contract for example) are the result of thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars of legal research, discussions, analysis and continual revision – so you can’t blame someone for at least threatening people for using them.

          To give you the law school spiel, a trade secret is any information that’s not generally known and that gives an actual (or potential) commercial advantage to its owner and that has been maintained as a secret. It’s basically a form of IP, but has a very broad definition and doesn’t require being registered like a patent or copyright, so the info does not have to meet any standards comparable to patent law or copyright law (novelty or originality). So terming info/items under the purview of “trade secret” is a good way to protect information from disgruntled employees, corporate spies, competitors, venture partners, blah blah blah – without having to register it or meet a particularly onerous legal test.

          Under Canadian (and generally UK) law – you have what is called a breach of confidence action – where a party owes an obligation or duty of confidence either as a fiduciary (e.g. as an employee of the party) or contractually (e.g. generally all contracts contain a confidentiality provision, so that you couldn’t sign a contract with Coke and then hand it over to Pepsi) which would require that party to maintain their duty of confidence and only use the information for the purposes of the owner or their mutual/agreed upon benefits.

          Trade secrets can include things like customer lists, methods of doing business, forecasts, formulas, business information and “negative knowledge” like failed avenues of research. I’m willing to bet that if what they’ve said is true and Pavia and/or a UFC employee got a hold of contracts, business plans, etc. Bellator is up sh*t creek and will be on the hook for damages for using the trade secrets.

        • The Gaijin says:

          “I would be surprised if Bellator is still putting on MMA fights once this lawsuit is settled.”

          What do you think the chances are we see a WFA, PRIDE, Affliction type consolidation? Maybe Zuffa makes this go away but gets some type of sweet deal to get a piece of Bellator or its assets (library, fighter contracts).

        • 45 Huddle says:

          This does open up the lines of communication between Zuffa and Bellator. I’m sure Bellator’s investors would like to get back at least as much as possible on their bad investment.

          I think the only value Bellator has to Zuffa is to keep all of those young prospects out of the hands of Strikeforce. There are 5 or 6 guys that if SF purchased Bellator, would help them have credible challengers for their belts for a year.

          In the UFC, most of those guys won’t be getting title shots right away. Some like Askren would likely end up in a title shot eventually. Others probably not.

        • The Gaijin says:

          I should also add that once Zuffa learned of the infringement/unauthorized use, they basically have to take action as they could be setting a precedent for future cases if they don’t act now.

          The more I think about it, they probably don’t even need to go the route of proving something like a standard form of contract (or clauses) is even a trade secret. They could sue under the tort of conversion for what basically amounts to using Zuffa’s (confidential) property (contracts and language therein) in violation of or inconsistent with Zuffa’s property ownership rights. I just saw that they were also claiming breach of contract, so that’s where things like confidentiality clauses and/or NDA’s (non-disclosure agreements) can come into play as well.

    • SixT-4 says:

      Surely their contract language is intellectual property. It’s specific text that they wrote up for a specific legal purpose. All Bellator has done is copy it exactly and then change it enough so they can get away with it.

      The purpose of doing it is to have solid contracts that are advantageous to Bellator in doing business.

      Seems pretty illegal to me.

      • Lots of things are written for a specific legal purpose. Warnings on the backs of energy drinks are specific texts written with specific legal purpose. The words themselves and how they are written though is not what they are really suing over, because I doubt they’re gonna get millions in damages for Bellator copying clauses from contracts. They’re more interested in the breaking of the confidentiality clause.

  8. The Gaijin says:

    “…because I doubt they’re gonna get millions in damages for Bellator copying clauses from contracts. They’re more interested in the breaking of the confidentiality clause.”

    Bingo. They’re probably not going to be able to get much out of damages for losses from use of their trade secrets/property because that’s a pretty tough quantum to prove in this case.


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