Ah, litigation. How can you have a fight promotion without it? Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC, certainly can’t. Their legal division has been far more active than their heavyweight one of late, filing suit against former champ Randy Couture and, most recently, Dream Stage Entertainment, the former parent company of Pride FC.
Technically, the suit has been filed by Pride FC Worldwide Holdings, the company formed by Zuffa after their purchase of Pride. It alleges that Dream Stage and their president, Nobuyuki Sakakibara, defrauded them of millions. Word is that Sakakibara is planning his own countersuit, alleging breach of contract. Isn’t this way more fun than putting on fights?
But wait a minute. Maybe Zuffa has good reason to sue. After all, they were heavily involved with Xyience, which recently filed for bankruptxy (see what I’ve done there?), and which still owes thousands of dollars to marquee UFC fighters. Maybe Zuffa plans to pay Matt Serra and Rich Franklin out of the proceeds of that lawsuit, the way Frank Shamrock keeps claiming that he’ll pay opponents like Bas Rutten out of the proceeds of their fight.
What is it about the fight game that encourages people to constantly try and cheat one another? From Jack Dempsey to Mike Tyson and now MMA, fighters are constantly getting screwed by the people making money off their blood. Now Zuffa is no longer content to haul one their most legendary fighters into court, so they’re going after the company they rushed to purchase (and, rumor has it, overpaid for). Maybe it’s over fighter contracts that they thought they were buying. Maybe it’s over the video catalog they thought they’d have full rights to.
Whatever is at the heart of this suit, it offers one more chance for the UFC to flex their legal muscle, which they apparently love doing. Meanwhile, Rich Franklin patiently awaits his Xyience money for appearing in all those cheesy commerxials.