by Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports
LAS VEGAS – Zuffa LLC, the parent
company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and World Extreme Cagefighting,
has filed suit against Ken Pavia, one of the sport’s most prominent fighter
agents, alleging Pavia passed along trade secrets and confidential Zuffa
documents to rival mixed martial arts promotion Bellator.
The suit alleges that Bellator used the
documents to help run its business.
Pavia is the founder of MMA Agents and
represents in excess of 50 fighters, more than 40 of whom
are now or have been in the past under contract to Zuffa.
Bellator, which is a co-defendant, is a
fledgling MMA promotional company that has earned rave reviews for the
entertaining fights it made during its first two seasons, which were broadcast
initially on ESPN Deportes and then on FOX Sports
Net, among other networks.
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.
In a text message to Yahoo! Sports on
Thursday, Pavia wrote “I want to get a better
understanding of this before I comment.” Rebney referred calls to Bellator
attorney Patrick English, who said he didn’t know enough about the suit to
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.”
Pavia was in Las Vegas for UFC 116 on
July 3 and the alleged email is dated July 4. The email addresses that are in
the emails Zuffa included are the email addresses for Rebney and Pavia.