MMA’s biggest agent (and SAB interviewee), Ken Pavia along with the up-start Bellator fighting promotion have been sued by UFC parent company, Zuffa LLC. The suit alleges that Pavia passed along trade secrets and confidential Zuffa documents to upstart MMA promotion Bellator. Zuffa believes that Bellator used these documents to help run their business. Bellator is named as a co-defendant in the suit, as well as other unnamed individuals and corporations that Zuffa alleges participated in breach of contract.
Yahoo Sports Writes:
According to the suit, filed Wednesday in Clark County District Court, Pavia delivered confidential contracts, including fighter agreements, to Bellator after being asked to do so in a July 4 email to him from Bellator founder Bjorn Rebney…
An email which Zuffa’s lawsuit alleges is from Rebney to Pavia on July 4 was attached as an exhibit to the 16-page suit. In it, Rebney writes, ” … You’ve been great about sending us ‘All’ of the seminal docs from the UFC, so that we can re-do them and implement them for Bellator.”
Later, the email Zuffa alleges to have been written by Rebney continues, “Please list each in terms of what it is for and how the UFC uses them/implements them. … Then I’m going to have our team Monday re-type them and we will sufficiently alter them such that they will appear to be ours and not theirs.”
The response that is purported to have come from Pavia is brief and says, in its entirety, “Still I (sic) vegas. May take 24 hours to organize as some forms go to the guys in my office.”…
According to the suit, “The improper disclosure of Zuffa’s operations documents and confidential information by Pavia, MMA Agents, and the Doe and Roe Defendants constitutes a distinct act of dominion wrongfully exerted over Zuffa’s personal property.”
It further states, “The improper use by Bellator of Zuffa’s operational documents and confidential information in order to conduct its competing business operations constitutes a distinct act of dominion wrongfully exerted over Zuffa’s personal property.”
Zuffa seeks actual and punitive damages and a permanent injunction barring Bellator or Pavia from using Zuffa’s assets, including its intellectual property.
One can’t help but wonder why someone would go against the UFC in any way. If there is one characteristic of the way the UFC does business, it is that they have a ton of pride and much like their fighters, would enjoy nothing more than to beat their adversaries into submission. I would also venture to say that agents dealing with the UFC in the future will probably be subject to stricter rules and scrutiny as a result of this alleged oversight by Mr. Pavia. Hopefully this doesn’t close the doors of Bellator, since I happen to think they are a great minor league fight promotion with a lot of potential.
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