While the rest of the world has seemingly moved on from the epic collapse of Affliction Entertainment, M-1 Global and Fedor Emelianenko clearly haven’t. Months after teasing legal action at a M-1 press conference immediately following the cancellation of “Affliction Trilogy,” M-1 and Emelianenko have filed suit against the clothing company turned fight promoter and 50 unnamed “John Does” alleging breach of contract among other things.
On October 28, 2009, M-1 and Fedor Emelianenko filed a lawsuit against Affliction Clothing, Affliction Entertainment, and 50 unnamed John Does in the Central District of California. The complaint states claims for breach of contract, breach of the violation of good faith and fair dealing, and declaratory relief. If they are able to join other parties, the complaint might be amended to include claims for tortuous interference with contract and related claims.
There are likely many targets among the unnamed John Does, but the UFC has to be considered the central target based on language of the complaint. After reading the complaint, it seems possible that M-1 believes the UFC was somehow involved in the cancellation of Affliction’s third show.
BE’s Michael Rome breaks down the complaint point-by-point, but the heart of the matter stems from Affliction Entertainment’s final round of negotiations. M-1 claims that Affliction led them to believe they were working on securing an opponent for Fedor, and even reached an agreement with M-1 and Strikeforce to replace Josh Barnett with Brett Rogers, while simultaneously working on a deal behind their back with the UFC to bail them out of their fight promotion business. From the complaint:
Plaintiff is informed, believes, and based thereon alleges Affliction intended to sign Brett Rogers to fight in Affliction: Trilogy and intended to go forward with the event if the UFC deal failed, but intended to cancel [the event] if the UFC deal closed. Brett Rogers was ready, willing, and able to fight Emelianenko in [the event], but instead of honoring its promises to Emelianenko and M-1 by signing Rogers, Affliction elected to serve its own financial interests at the expense of its partners.
The complaint also revealed a few interesting details about the business relationship between M-1, Fedor and Affliction.
In addition to the central claims described above, the complaint contains a lot of interesting information. The complaint alleges that in addition to the $300,000 fight purse, Emelianenko was paid an undisclosed sum that is not quantified in the complaint. The complaint also alleges that Affliction and M-1 Global entered into a “consulting agreement” in which Affliction paid M-1 a “substantial sum” in return for general consultant services.
It’s impossible to know if Affliction was truly in the wrong without knowing their side of the story and all the pertinent details, but you have to imagine they were hoping M-1 would forgive and forget now that M-1 has entered into agreements with Strikeforce, Showtime and CBS to feature their prize possession in front of a mainstream American audience. On the surface, it seemed like things worked out for the best for everyone, but M-1 Global obviously didn’t see it that way.
Image via Sherdog