MMA in the Courthouse: UFC, Bellator, Roy Nelson, Roy Jones, and Roger Huerta

Luke Thomas posted yesterday on the lawsuit that Bellator filed against the UFC, Ultimate Fighter season 12 contestant Jonathan Brookins and his manager Mickey Dubberley. Today…

By: Nate Wilcox | 13 years ago
MMA in the Courthouse: UFC, Bellator, Roy Nelson, Roy Jones, and Roger Huerta
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

Luke Thomas posted yesterday on the lawsuit that Bellator filed against the UFC, Ultimate Fighter season 12 contestant Jonathan Brookins and his manager Mickey Dubberley. Today more of the story is emerging.

Kevin Iole gets Dubberley’s side of the story:

“There are a few things with Bellator,” said Dubberly, who said he thought Bellator was suing Zuffa as retribution for Zuffa’s July 28 suit. “For one, I don’t know what contract they have. When I asked Sam, their matchmaker, for Jonathan’s contract, he sent me the last page, the signature page, the signature there doesn’t look like Jonathan’s signature.

“Number two, when I told him I needed the full contract, he emailed a 25-page contract from Bellator’s attorney, Patrick English. It was a PDF and there were no initials on it and no [facsimile] marks on it. Jonathan signed the contract about 15 months ago, and Patrick English wasn’t working for Bellator.”

MMA Junkie gets more from Bellator and Dubberley:

Rebney told that he and matchmaker Sam Caplan had been hard at work trying to arrange bouts for Brookins, but Dubberly disagrees.

“That is a lie,” Dubberly said flatly. “Jonathan hasn’t fought for Bellator since April 3, 2009, so obviously Sam hasn’t been trying too hard to get Jonathan fights.

“One fight in 13 months doesn’t seem trying much for a fighter that you seem so fortunate to have. I got one call for Jonathan to fight from Bellator, and that was in May 2010 and on two-weeks’ notice.”

More in the full entry:

Dubberly also elaborates on his claim that Bellator match-maker Sam Caplan verbally released his client:

Dubberly insists Caplan verbally informed him of Brookins’ release – as well as the release of another client, Joey Gorczynski, who fought just once under the Bellator banner.

“When I asked Sam about a fight for Jonathan Brookins and Joey Gorczynski back at the end of January – and both had open contracts under Bellator – Sam stated, ‘Oh, we released both those guys, but maybe in the future they could fight for us again.”

While Rebney today told that any fighter released from Bellator receives written notice, Dubberly contends that’s not true, either. After all, Gorczynski has since fought eight times for a variety of organizations with nary a peep from Bellator officials.

“Joey Gorczynski, who signed a five-fight deal, never got release forms,” Dubberly said. “But Sam told me that Bellator released him, and he has fought for several different organizations since he fought for Bellator.

“Joey didn’t even know he was released until I told him that Bellator released him. He never received any documents, and neither has my company.”

This case has many interesting similarities to a case filed recently by Roy Jones, Jr and his Square Ring, Inc. promotion against Roy Nelson and the UFC. From FightOpinion:

Square Ring, Inc. claims that they signed Roy Nelson to a promotional contract. RJJ claims the contract gave Square Ring, Inc. first negotiation rights and matching offer ability to any deal Nelson got from other promoters. Then, while under contract, Nelson allegedly appeared at a Nevada event and talked with Marc Ratner of the UFC. Later on, RJJ claims that Nelson signed an ‘exclusive’ contract with Zuffa and that this violated the SRI contract.

…Zuffa is seeking to separate itself from Nelson legally-speaking so that if Nelson loses in court that he will be the one liable for monetary damages.

It’s interesting to me that there are multiple law suits currently filed involving fighters allegedly jumping ship on existing contractual relationships to take their chances on the Ultimate Fighter. I expect that Zuffa will attempt to extricate themselves from these suits and leave the fighters and their management teams to handle them alone.

It’s also interesting that yet another fighter is apparently frustrated that they are not getting the fights from Bellator that they contracted for. Rumors are swirling that Roger Huerta is unhappy with Bellator for the very same reason although other reports in the past indicated that Huerta’s hefty contractual asking price is scaring away other promoters that Bellator would happily lend him to such as Strikeforce.

Huerta’s new-found online celebrity as a result of an Austin, Texas street brawl caught on video might help solve some of those problems as his marketability is presumably much higher than it was just three weeks ago. 

I can’t help but think that Bellator’s ever-increasing litigiousness and the growing list of fighters who are unhappy fighting under their banner will impact their efforts to recruit up and coming talent. 

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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