Managers Express Concern Over Bellator Contracts

Discussion in 'Worldwide MMA Discussion' started by CC27, May 20, 2014.

  1. CC27

    CC27 Gold Belt

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    http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2014/5/2...ighters-managers-eddie-alvarez-askren-lombard

    Way too long to post it all, some very interesting clauses in their contracts.




    The most objectionable part of the contract, according to a consensus from my sources, was found in what many refer to as the "champion clause." Back in September of 2009, MMAPayout posted the text for this clause, which read:

    "If, at any time during the term, FIGHTER is declared the champion of his weight class, a Tournament winner, or a Tournament runner-up, the Term shall be automatically extended for a period commencing on the Termination Date and ending on the earlier of (i) eighteen (18) months from the Termination Date, or (ii) the date in which FIGHTER has participated in three (3) bouts promoted by PROMOTER following the Termination Date ("Extension Term"). Any reference to the Term herein shall be deemed to include a reference to the extension term where applicable."

    The one change Bellator seems to have made since then is the insertion of the phrase "by the PROMOTER" into the clause, so that it now reads:

    "If, at any time during the term, FIGHTER is declared by the PROMOTER the champion of his weight class, a Tournament winner, or a Tournament runner-up"

    Fighting under these terms, Eddie Alvarez, Hector Lombard, and Ben Askren - all of whom were tournament winners and a champion in their weight class - saw three additional fights added to their agreement as part of the extension detailed above. Once these additional bouts were completed though each was free to contact and negotiate with other promoters (although Bellator did retain matching rights). While the tournament wins and time as champions obviously increased Lombard and Alvarez's value, as evidenced by the rather lucrative (by MMA standards) deals they ended up receiving, current and future Bellator champions are unlikely to have the same opportunity to cash in on their in-cage success.

    According to our sources, Bellator has informed the fighters and managers that this extension can be enacted each time a fighter is declared "the champion of his weight class, a Tournament winner, or a Tournament runner-up" and that the extensions accumulate. What this means is that a tournament winner who then fought and won a Bellator title would have two extensions added to his contract, one for being declared a Tournament winner and one for being declared a champion of his weight class. There also does not seem to be a limit to the number of extensions that can accumulate, so that a fighter who wins or reaches the finals of multiple tournaments or who wins the championship on separate occasions or in different weight classes could have 3, 4, or even more extensions added to his deal.

    MMA promotional agreements, including those for Bellator, typical come with a guaranteed number of bouts during the contracted period. But for the "Extension Terms" in the Bellator contracts we examined there doesn't seem to be any minimum bout requirements. The fear that one manager expressed was that Bellator would not be obligated to provide any fights for the duration of the twelve or eighteen-month extension.

    The fact that fighters and their managers are now aware of these provisions does not necessarily mean fighters will refuse to participate in a tournament. Thanks to how most Bellator contracts are structured, non-tournament bouts usually pay much less than tournament bouts - as little as 1/5 of what is guaranteed in a first round tournament match. Fighters therefore may feel financially compelled to take part in a Bellator tournament, potentially adding further extensions if they reach the finals.
     
  2. CC27

    CC27 Gold Belt

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    In addition, Bellator has added an option clause to many of their agreements that gives them the right to continue promoting a fighter for an additional bout ("Option Bout") if the fighter is a champion in his weight class at the end of his contact. To exercise this option Bellator only has to give written notice to the fighter and pay an option fee.

    If the fighter wins this first Option Bout, or the fight ends in a draw or no decision, Bellator has the option for a second Option Bout, which they can exercise by giving the fighter written notice within a set number of business days and paying another option fee. If the fighter wins (or if it ends in a draw or no decision) this next Option Bout, they have an option for yet another bout. The total number of potential Option Bouts for a Bellator champion could be as high as 5 or more.

    What does this mean for a promising fighter who signs a 6-fight, 24-month contract with Bellator and has hopes of eventually testing the open market or going to another promotion? Well, if they win their tournament and then win the title, Bellator could interpret this as extending the deal for an additional 6-fights or 24-months. And if the fighter were the champion after meeting the requirements of these extensions the promoter would possibly have the option for up to five additional bouts. Thus the original 6-fights agreement could turn into one for 17-fights or even more, lasting for years.

    Facing such lengthy extensions a fighter will readily agree to a new contract which may provide better compensation but is still much lower than what they could have negotiated if they were free to field offers from other promoters. This new contract may also prove more restrictive then the previous deal, as the fighter feels compelled to accept the terms in order to receive an increase in their pay.

    The opinion amongst all the managers I spoke to is that the current Bellator contracts represent, from a fighter's perspective, the least favorable contracts of any promotion. As one manager said, "They are the worst contracts in MMA. By far the very fucking worst."
     
  3. PIT FIGHTER

    PIT FIGHTER YAMMA Pit Fighter

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    Aren't Bellator contracts almost identical to UFC contracts? I remember Zuffa suing them over it.

    I don't blame promoters, be it Bellator, Zuffa or whoever else, for writing contracts the way they do. Let the inmates run the asylum and you end up with shit like "The Paycheck Warrior" bullying you for more and more money.
     
  4. CC27

    CC27 Gold Belt

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    Thats crazy they can just keep adding 3 more fights each time you win a title, tournament or make a tournament final.

    The key to getting out of Bellator is to win the tournament, win the title and then never lose again.

    This just shows If you are a prospect and you want to make it to the UFC you shouldnt even go anywhere near Bellator.
     
  5. CC27

    CC27 Gold Belt

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    In some cases yes but did you even read the piece? says managers say Bellators contract are by far the worst in mma.
     
  6. PIT FIGHTER

    PIT FIGHTER YAMMA Pit Fighter

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    Forreal. If a prospect feels they can get Zuffa's attention within 3-4 fights, they should be hitting up RFA.

    When they say that, I can't help but wonder how much of that is because Bellator is not the top dog. The few times fighters or reps speak out about UFC contracts, Dana goes off about it, sometimes using gay slurs, and everyone knows how he holds a grudge like one of those "I was fat, now I'm fit" Jenny Jones guests.
     
  7. CC27

    CC27 Gold Belt

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    Also Bellator has made new contracts, their matching rights are now 18 months not 12 like it was for Lombard/Eddie/Askren.
     
  8. PIT FIGHTER

    PIT FIGHTER YAMMA Pit Fighter

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    That's just Bjorn's way of nudging his guys towards forming a union. He's gone on-record in saying he'd be open to an MMA union, so rather than fight it and keep MMA out of the empire state, he's helping them along the way.
     
  9. skylolow

    skylolow Silver Belt

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    They ripped off the wording and then added things. Like instead of just a championship clause they extend it to tournament winners and runner ups and how its extended.

    This might just be the main reason we hear Michael Page saying he doesn't want to enter a tournament. Using the excuse he isn't ready, which is laughable.
     
  10. CC27

    CC27 Gold Belt

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    The problem is to get big money to get UFC offering you a big deal you will need to win a title and be a big deal in Bellator and someone they want to keep.

    You cant do that just fighting nobodies on the prelims.
     

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