I practice contract law and corporate commercial litigation. In my legal opinion, Alvarez will NOT violate his Bellator contract by signing with the UFC. Alvarez, his legal team, and the UFC are likely very aware that their position in this regard is very strong.
At the heart of the contract issue is the "matching clause" and the possibility that Alvarez will enjoy a share in PPV revenues if he signs with the UFC.
Bellator has claimed the UFCs offer to Alvarez does NOT guarantee a UFC fight on pay-per-view, and as such Bellator only needs to match enumerated terms, not those which are mere possibilities.
Unfortunately for Bellator, contract law DOES place value in possibilities. Without going into a detailed legal analysis here, I will simple state that for hundreds of years common law contract principles (fundamental principles upon which the American law is based) have recognized the value in a chance (See below for legal support). Thousands of courts have awarded pecuniary awards, even lucrative awards, for the probabilistic value of lost opportunities.
In short, while Bellator claims not to put value in "mere possibilities", it is fairly certain that the law does
. A court will apply consider the value of "possibilites" and adopt a common-sense interpretation, of the "matching clause". It will very likely find the term is not violated because the actual value of the UFC offer, including a possibility of potentially lucrative PPV revenues, far exceeds the the Bellator offer.
War Avarez (both in the courtroom and the cage).
(Boring legal jargon to follow)
STOP HERE - Feel free to ignore below if you are not interested in legal details
The value of the chance originates in the British common-law, a body of contract principles adopted, applied, and often codified in American law.
Examples of this principle is found in decisions such as Chaplin v Hicks
(1911) 2 KB 786. In Chaplin v. Hicks
, (a decision most first year law students would be familiar with), the defendant, in breach of contract, prevented the claimant from taking part in the final stage of a beauty contest where twelve of the final fifty (out of 6,000 original entrants) would be rewarded with places in a chorus line.
The claimant was awarded damages for the loss of a chance, assessed at 25% of winning the competition. This was awarded despite the fact that the court had to deal in "possibilities" and try to estimate the contestants chances of winning the competition.
A quite cite-up of American legal databases shows that this principle has been applied in hundreds of decisions, and that courts are not reluctant to award damages for lost opportunities, even when it involves dealing in projected possibilities and huge pecuniary awards.
If anyone is sceptical and wants analysis of American decisions applying the principle I can dig in more and analyse a few more decisions, possibly provide a scholarly article on the issue. Anyone legal minded who practices primarily American law feel free to disagree or provide further support, as the Contract includes and exclusive jurisdiction clause and will be interpreted in America. I primarily practice Canadian law, but Chaplin
and similar decisions have been cited in many American decisions on the issue, and the principle of lost-chance in contract law appears in my research to be well established and adopted in American law. I do feel that Alvares has a very strong position in this regard.
*Disclaimer - This opinion does not constitute legal advice in any form, and is for educational purposes only
*Edit: To confirm the principle in American law, The U.S. Supreme Court adopted the "Loss of Chance" principle set down in Chaplin v. Hicks
: Story Parchment Co. v. Paterson Parchment Paper Company
, 282 U.S. 555, 563 (1931)
To see the history of the Doctrine in American Law see:
"The “Loss of Chance” Doctrine of Damages for Breach of Contract
by Robert H. Sturgess", Florida Bar Journal, October, 2005 Volume 79, No. 9