Tom Atencio at the Affliction/M-1 Press Conference in JapanAffliction has officially responded to the lawsuit M-1 Global and Fedor Emelianenko filed against them last week. They’ve filed a motion to dismiss essentially claiming M-1 has no grounds to sue them. Affliction’s Tom Atencio fired back with this money quote.

“Affliction landed a serious blow to the Fedor and M-1 lawsuit by filing a motion to dismiss in federal court in response to the Russians’ complaint only eight days after being served. . . . The counter by Affliction goes to show Affliction does not intend to rollover and be extorted by the Russian visitors and how frivolous and meritless Affliction considers the allegations of their complaint.”

It does however on the surface seem like M-1’s complaint has merit. M-1 contends Affliction breached their contract with Fedor by making a deal behind their backs with the UFC to escape the fight promotion business instead of securing a replacement opponent for Fedor.

But there’s a twist. Affliction says their contract with Fedor expired on March 31, 2009.

But then we come to Affliction’s motion to dismiss, which throws a monkey wrench into the entire substantive analysis. You see, Fedor argues that Affliction breached its contracts by cancelling Affliction: Trilogy and reaching agreement with UFC in July 2009.

Affliction’s motion to dismiss, however, points to the language of the contracts, which calls for termination of the agreements on either (i) March 31, 2009; or (ii) the conclusion of the third fight, with the contracts specifically stating that they terminate upon the earlier of the two dates. Since there was no third fight, the earlier date was March 31, 2009, and Affliction argues in its motion to dismiss that it cannot be alleged to have breached a contract in July 2009 that had expired four months earlier.

Boom! Affliction lands the knockout punch, right? Well, unfortunately it’s not that simple and this is the point where the dispute starts moving into gray territory. Payout explains it much better than my legally challenged mind can, so I recommend checking out their full report on this latest development.

Update: Bloody Elbow has more details on the motion to dismiss including information on what Affliction paid Fedor and M-1 for each of his fights, $300,000 and $1.2 million, respectively.