Monthly Archives: January 2011

Bellator ordered to comply with discovery in Zuffa lawsuit

Originally published on MMA Payout

Sherdog’s Tracey Lesetar and J.R. Riddell report that Zuffa received a boost in its lawsuit against Bellator Fighting Championships and Ken Pavia of MMA Agents as the United States District Court of Nevada denied Bellator’s protective order to stay discovery until the court decides Bellator’s motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.

The background of the lawsuit was summed up by MMA Fighting last summer:

The suit alleges Bellator and Pavia were conspiring to essentially steal trade secrets from Zuffa through the exchange of confidential documents in e-mails. Pavia, head of the MMA Agents representation firm, handles dozens of MMA fighters, including many under the Zuffa umbrella.

In its motion to stay discovery, Bellator requested the court hold off on the parties from having to conduct written discovery and depositions before the court decides on whether to dismiss Zuffa’s case. Prior to the motion for protective order staying discovery, Bellator took issue with Zuffa filing the lawsuit in Nevada. Bellator claimed that it had no ties with Nevada and, by law, Zuffa could not file a lawsuit in Nevada. Instead, if the lawsuit were to continue, Bellator would want it moved to New Jersey.

Payout Perspective:

The issue being fought over is a basic Civil Procedure question involving jurisdiction. The papers even include a reference to International Shoe (a famous case for those that have attended law school). The court ruling means that Zuffa will agressively pursue Bellator and Pavia with discovery. This will range from written requests to depositions. It is likely that there will be many skirmishes between the parties about the production of documents and other information. The discovery deadline for the parties is set for the end of June.

As Sherdog points out. this case may serve as a model on how non-Nevada promotions and MMA companies will be treated in the future. Basically, can the UFC and other Nevada companies sue promotions in Nevada if those promotions have minimal contacts with the state.

(h/t: MMA Supremacy)

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The top 10 Asian American sports figures of 2010

Originally posted at the Northwest Asian Weekly.

2010 was another great year for sports. This year saw big international events with the Winter Olympics and the World Cup. It saw the return to play of Tiger Woods and the continued dominance in boxing by Manny Pacquiao.

Locally, the Mariners had a disappointing season as hopes of a World Series were quickly dashed and Don Wakamatsu was let go midway through the year. Former University of Southern California head football coach, Pete Carroll, began his first year as the Seahawks head coach. The University of Washington football team made it back to its first bowl game since 2002. On the women’s side, the University of Washington’s softball team made it back to the College World Series. Finally, the WNBA’s Seattle Storm claimed its second WNBA title.

There were landmark firsts in the NFL and NBA. Ed Wang became the first Chinese American to be drafted in the NFL Draft. Harvard University guard Jeremy Lin became the first Taiwanese American to play in the NBA. Also, former Sonics executive, Rich Cho, was chosen to be general manager for the Portland Trailblazers. Cho became the first Asian American sports executive in this position in the NBA.

The following is a list of the top sports figures from 2010:

  1. Manny Pacquiao

OK, so the Pac Man isn’t Asian American, but I couldn’t resist giving him a nod, as he was the most impressive Asian athlete of the year. He won both of his fights this year in dominating fashion. Additionally, he was elected to the House of Representatives in the Philippines Congress, representing his province of Sarangani. He was chosen as 2010’s World Boxing Organization’s Fighter of the Year. Last year, he was awarded the Boxing Writers Association of America’s Fighter of the Decade. His next fight will take place on May 7 against a yet-to-bedetermined opponent.

2. Apolo Anton Ohno

Ohno made history this year when he became the most decorated American Winter Olympic athlete of all time by earning a total of eight medals in short track speed skating. In Vancouver, Ohno won silver and two bronze medals in short track events.

3. Rich Cho

A former Seattle Supersonics intern, Cho moved with the Sonics to Oklahoma City where he assisted in the turnaround of the former Sonics franchise. Cho was named the Portland Trailblazers’ general manager this summer by owner Paul Allen. Cho is the first Asian American general manager in NBA history.

4. J.R. Celski

Celski won two bronze medals at this year’s Winter Olympics in short track speed skating. Growing up in Federal Way, he learned to skate on inline skates. The 20-year-old was turned onto speed skating on ice after watching the 2002 Winter Olympics. Celski’s mother is Filipino, and father is Polish.

5. Julie Chu

Chu is the first Asian American to play on the U.S. Women’s Olympic Hockey Team. Chu attended Harvard University where she played hockey and became the all-time leading scorer in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) history. In 2007, she won the award for best female collegiate hockey player. During the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Chu scored two goals and four assists in five games. The U.S. Women’s team won the silver medal in Vancouver.

6. Jeremy Lin

When I chose him for my top 10 last year, no one knew his name. Now, Lin is the first Taiwanese American to play in the NBA. Lin went undrafted after a stellar career at Harvard University but his exceptional play during NBA’s summer league led to signing with his hometown team, the Golden State Warriors. His replica jersey was on sale to the public prior to the NBA season, unheard of for an undrafted rookie. Although Lin plays sporadically for the Warriors, he has a cult following of fans largely due to his Asian heritage.

7. Ed Wang

Wang, an offensive lineman from Virginia Tech, was chosen in the NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills. He is the first Chinese American to play in the NFL. Recently, he spoke with Chinese sports journalists about the NFL as part of a program to market American football in China.

8. Nonito Donaire

Donaire is the best Filipino boxer in the world not named Manny Pacquiao. The 28-year-old known as “the Filipino Flash” has 25 wins and one loss and fights in the Bantamweight (118 pounds) division. Donaire lost his second fight and has reeled off 24 straight wins. He won all three of his fights this year by knockout. Born in the Philippines, Donaire relocated to California with his family when he was a child.

9. Tim Lincecum

The two-time Cy Young winner was a key during the San Francisco Giants World Series victory over the Texas Rangers as he won two World Series games for the Giants.

 10. Zhaira Consiniano

Zhaira Constiniano is a 15-year-old Filipino American teenage ice skater who will compete for the Philippines at the 2011 Asian Winter Games in Kazakhstan. A native of Texas, the 9th grader is the youngest ever Filipino Senior Ladies Figure Skating champion. After the Asian Winter Games, she will compete at the 2011 World Junior Figure Skating Championship in Korea. Constiniano’s family and friends fund her international travel to competitions. Her dream is to be the first women’s figure skater to represent the Philippines in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.

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Lesnar’s next move unclear

Originally published on MMA Payout.

Does Brock Lesnar want out of the UFC? Dave Metzler of The Wrestling Observermade news this week with news that Lesnar may walk away from the UFC after his contract ends. The news took off that Lesnar was quitting MMA and going back to the WWE–which was not the case. Metzler needed to clarify the situation in an interview with Steve Cofield of Cagewriter.

In his interview with Cofield, Metzler believes that Lesnar does not want to go back to pro wrestling full-time but may entertain one-off appearances like a Wrestlemania. He also believes that Lesnar would like a deal in which the UFC would allow him to do Wrestlemania in exchange for his participation on The Ultimate Fighter opposite Frank Mir.

Zach Arnold of Fight Opinion has more about Lesnar and a return to the WWE:

What’s intriguing about UFC being reluctant to allow Brock to appear at Wrestlemania is that not only is UFC destroying WWE in PPV buys but they have also taken away a lot of disgruntled WWE/wrestling fans who are sick of the McMahon/Kevin Dunn cookie-cutter production. In one respect, Dana’s objections make complete and total business sense. On the other hand, why should he be worried about Lesnar appearing at Wrestlemania if the public at-large knows that UFC is real and WWE is not so much? Despite the amazing growth of UFC, I do think the situation with Lesnar indicates how nervous people in MMA still are to the fact that the public at-large, or at least the media, is willing to lump the two into the same business category.

MMA Fighting has Dana White’s thoughts on Lesnar:

[Dana] White reiterated that Lesnar is restricted under the terms of his contract from doing a guest spot for any pro wrestling promotion without the UFC’s permission, and that permission is not coming anytime soon. Asked if he could discuss any developments in Lesnar’s potential return to the octagon, White took a deep breath and took a drink of water before answering. “We’ll see what happens,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”

Not the most confident response from White.

There is speculation that his “run-in” with the Undertaker after his loss with Velasquez is setting up a return to the WWE just in time for Wrestlemania this spring. Thus, the reason we haven’t heard much about his return to the Octagon. On the other hand, some think that he is destined for a third fight with Frank Mir and he would be a “coach” on The Ultimate Fighter. This could explain the reason why White has not announced the new coaches for the next TUF. Is the UFC waiting to hear on whether Lesnar agrees to do it. Based on White’s statements, the UFC is unsure what Lesnar’s next move will be.

Payout Perspective:

Lesnar is the biggest UFC draw when it comes to PPV. He has drawn 1 million buys in his last two fights. The Carwin fight drew 1.1 million buys and his loss to Velasquez drew 1 million buys. If Lesnar left, his drawing power would be sorely missed. GSP is the only other UFC fighter that can rival Lesnar in PPV buys.

Perhaps it’s his WWE training, but Lesnar is a main event draw despite what you think of his ability. With Cain Velasquez injured, Roy Nelson out indefinitely with legal issues and Shane Carwin recovering from surgery, the UFC Heavyweight division lacks many top of the food chain fighters to main event PPVs.

It will be interesting to see how the UFC approaches the situation. It must decide its TUF coaches and plan Heavyweight fights with or without Lesnar in the mix. Fortunately, the influx of WEC talent can fill fight cards, but the UFC has to determine its Heavyweight division with so many of its notable fighters out.

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