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Yet another interesting lawsuit involving UFC

By Zach Arnold | August 4, 2010

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Roy Jones Jr’s Square Ring, Inc. sues Zuffa, Roy Nelson

Zuffa responds to RJJ lawsuit, seek indemnification against Big Country

To summarize Robert Joyner’s excellent articles:

Square Ring, Inc. claims that they signed Roy Nelson to a promotional contract. RJJ claims the contract gave Square Ring, Inc. first negotiation rights and matching offer ability to any deal Nelson got from other promoters. Then, while under contract, Nelson allegedly appeared at a Nevada event and talked with Marc Ratner of the UFC. Later on, RJJ claims that Nelson signed an ‘exclusive’ contract with Zuffa and that this violated the SRI contract.

The second article discusses how Zuffa is seeking to separate itself from Nelson legally-speaking so that if Nelson loses in court that he will be the one liable for monetary damages.

Thought: Now that James Toney is in the UFC, I’d be curious to see if Roy Jones would ever get a shot. An option? RJJ drops the suit in exchange for Jones getting a fight against Anderson Silva in the UFC.

Of course, that would bank on the thought of Anderson Silva teaching Chael Sonnen a lesson this Saturday night in Oakland.

Topics: Boxing, Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 23 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

23 Responses to “Yet another interesting lawsuit involving UFC”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    How would Zuffa be liable in this suit? If they asked Nelson if he had any other obligations that would conflict with the UFC contract… And he said no…. What are they to do?

    I also find the timing of this interesting. Why not go fight this in court once he signed with TUF. Or before his official UFC debut? He is TUF and almost 3 fights in before they even bring this up.

    Now, Nelson could be in trouble here, but that will come out in court.

    • Steve4192 says:

      The timing question is easy to answer.

      It’s because Roy is one win away from being the main event of a gigantic PPV. Jones wants a piece of Zuffa’s Brock money, and if Roy beats JDS, he will getting a shot at Brock.

      • If Roy isn’t getting a percentage, what does it matter?

      • Steve4192 says:

        But RJJ would have got a percentage if Big Country was still signed with SRI. I’m sure RJJ will try to make the argument that if a Roy Nelson main event draws 1MM PPV buys in the UFC versus Brock Lesnar, it would have done the same thing in a Square Ring event versus some random jobber.

        I’m not saying the argument is valid, but I am suspect that is the logic behind the timing of their lawsuit.

  2. David M says:

    45 the allegation is that Ratner knew Roy was under contract, and that knowledge is imputed onto Zuffa because he is clearly an agent for the company. If they had knowledge that the fat man was under contract, and still tried to sign him, and in fact do sign him, that is tortious interference.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Proving what Ratner knew or didn’t know will be impossible unless they have some sort of email proving it.

      The UFC has basically no track record of interfering with fighters in contracts with other promotions. White publicly says they don’t do it. They waited for Shields contract to end. There hasn’t even been whisperes of Zuffa having this practive.

      So it is highly unlikely Zuffa knew about it. Because if they did, they likely wouldn’t have done it. Nelson wouldn’t even be worth the risk at the time of the signing him up for TUF.

      • Chuck says:

        Well, of course Dana White will publicly state that they don’t interfere with fighters under contract. That would be STUPID if Dana White came out and said “Yeah we fuck with fighters under contract elsewhere! What will you cocksuckers do ’bout it?”. And maybe Dana waited until Jake Shields’ contract with Strikeforce (by way of EXC) officially ended to negotiate with Shields and his people. But do you really think Shields and Dana White were shoulder-to-shoulder at the Aldo/Faber ppv on coincidence? Obviously Dana was going to go after Shields like a vulture on a carcass the SECOND Shields’ contract ran out. And obviously Shields and Dana were getting chummy with each other, talking about fighting in the UFC. There is nothing wrong with that, but I’m just saying.

      • Zheroen says:

        I’m pretty sure “oops, I didn’t know!” wouldn’t be the most successful defense to employ, if this even heads to court. It’s their job to look into these matters before throwing out a contract.

        And acting as though they need a concrete written e-mail to be a smoking gun? Sorry, but please take some time to review this type of legal case before you start pontificating. Not every case is going to have a Perry Mason-esque “defendant confesses on the stand”/clear-cut paper trail.

        And you’re telling me that Dana White publicly states that he doesn’t engage in illegal contract tampering? You don’t say! But really…why would Shields be invited to UFC events and get screen time, while under contract with Strikeforce, if they weren’t actively pursuing him? Maybe it’s technically all above-board, but let’s not act as though Zuffa are paragons of virtue, regardless of whether or not there are “whispers” (WTF are you even talking about with that, really?).

        It is quite amusing to note the speed and quickness with which you immediately jumped to defend Zuffa, without any of the facts really being out there, and instantly assuming that they are in the right. It’s almost as though you have an agenda or bias!

        • david m says:

          Well played Zhereon. Nobody knows what the UFC did or did not know; that is what discovery is for, and that is a very costly and timely venture.

          Best part of 45’s post: “White publicly says they don’t do it.”

          LOL, so now someone who lies almost half the time he speaks is a source of impartial and unbiased information. Usually you are better at hiding your trolling than this, please pick your game up. I’m embarrassed for you.

  3. Fluyid says:

    Jones better hire Don King’s lawyers for this. They shut Shine Fights down with a quickness.

  4. sammy says:

    Nice pathetic attempt to defend UFC 45Huddle.

    I dont see UFC letting Nelson out of his contract or cancelling his next fight, so obviously they have some liability here…if the allegations prove to be true.

  5. Mr. Roadblock says:

    Dana called it years ago when he said, “as soon as we start making money at this all the sharks from boxing are going to come over.”

  6. robthom says:

    I’m pretty sure that UFC/Dana have been trying to seperate themselves from Nelson in a few ways ever since tuf, hence the Dos fight.

    (Man am I gonna eat crow if Nelson smokes him, but I’m not too worried about that 😉 )

    This is just gonna push that agenda into top priority mode.

    • Steve4192 says:

      “I’m pretty sure that UFC/Dana have been trying to seperate themselves from Nelson in a few ways ever since tuf, hence the Dos fight. “

      I don’t buy that.

      Sure, Nelson annoys Dana, but as long as he can make Zuffa money, they are more than willing to put up with annoyance. Roy’s ‘Fat Guy with a Mullet’ Everyman character has a ton of marketing potential for Zuffa. I’m sure they have big plans for him now that he is knocking guys silly.

      The only time Zuffa tries to bury a guy is when he starts bitching about money or other contract-related matters. Roy hasn’t done anything like that. He’s just been his normal oddball self.

      • Steve4192 says:

        Also … Zuffa doesn’t cut TUF winners. Look how long they have kept Kendall Grove around. Travis Lutter is the only TUF winner they have ever cut, and he was part of the least popular season in the history of the show AND had a painfully boring personality AND blew a title shot by showing up overweight.

        Even if Roy loses a couple and gets bounced off PPV, the folks at SpikeTV would be more than happy to have him headlining UFN events.

        • TUF 9 and TUF 11 were way lower than TUF 4.

        • Steve4192 says:


          TUF 4 was the season that nearly killed the franchise. The ratings dropped over 25% from their previous level and didn’t recover until Kimbomania.

          TUF 11 was one of the highest rated seasons ever, trailing only 1-3 and Kimbomania. Seasons 4-9 pretty much all got the same ratings, but it was season 4 that derailed the franchise. Not even a fantastic season in TUF 5 could undo that damage. It would take an ‘internet legend’ to do that.

      • robthom says:

        “I don’t buy that.”

        Well to be perfectly honest with you its only an opinion.

        Just based on Dana’s stated disposition towards Roy, getting thrown at Dos a bit prematurally, his physique and Zuffas clear understanding of marketing and aesthetic appeal.

        I dont think they’re gonna want Roy as their HW champion wether he won tuf or not.
        I think they’d rather try to undermine that possibility first if they can.

        Just because your a good fighter doesn’t neccisarily mean that Zuffa wants to make you a famous or expensive one too.
        Hendo, babalu, Werdum…

        I hope I’m wrong.

        I like Nelson and hope he sticks around and does well.
        But I prefer to keep my eye out for the worst case scenario first and then hope for the best.

      • robthom says:

        “Roy’s ‘Fat Guy with a Mullet’ Everyman character has a ton of marketing potential for Zuffa…”

        Its certainly possible to frame that from an angle as an asset. but I’d have to say that its more easily framed to Nelsons detriment.

        It would take a smidge of tailored effort to emphasize his unique (for this bussiness) charm.
        That would require a boss/company who likes you enough to invest that extra effort in you.

        But back to my first comment, if they were passively trying to bully or marginalize Nelson before, now adding a legal entanglement against a likely well enough funded opponent like RJJ may be the the needle or perfect excuse to tear it.

        Oh yeah, and dont forget Kimbo.
        A proven money maker that they decided to burn down instead of keep.

        • Steve4192 says:

          Kimbo was burned down because he sucked.

          They MIGHT have been able to get one more fight out of him before the became a laughingstock, but Kimbo fucked that up when he refused to play ‘drop a weight class, whole new fighter’ game.

          Go watch Dana’s latest interview with Ariel Helwani. He has nothing but good things to say about Big Country and admits that he underestimated him. They wouldn’t be putting the guy in a #1 contender match if they didn’t plan on marketing him. Zuffa always plans for both outcomes, and one of those outcomes is having to promote the shit out of Roy.

  7. JC says:

    Nelson will end up a gatekeeper like Gonzaga, the HW’s in UFC need a few at different levels to grow the Division…I see Todd Duffee in his future..


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