Rousey fight management contract ruled invalid


For some time, UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has held that her contract with the management group Fight Tribe is not valid. Representatives of both sides met before California State Athletic Commission director Andy Foster on Friday.

Under California Business and Professions Code §18640, the CSAC has the “sole direction, management, control of and jurisdiction” of fighter management contract disputes in MMA and boxing in California.

Foster, assisted by two California deputy attorney generals, received briefs from both sides, and heard witnesses.

Today he handed down his decision.

Foster ruled that Rousey is free of the mixed martial arts portion of her contract. However, he did not rule on the commercial aspect of the contract, which he instead deferred to the Superior Court of California.

According to Sherdogthe contract was dated May 15, 2012, and signed January 29, 2013. It granted her manager 10 percent of Rousey’s income generated from fighting, modeling, acting and other commercial activities.

“The agreement is hereby found to be invalid and unenforceable as it relates to Rousey’s professional fighting services and Harvey’s professional fighting management services, only; the Commission makes no findings as to the other parts of the agreement that are not directly relating to MMA fighting and defers these matters to the California Superior Court. Rousey and Harvey are released from their fighter-manager agreement dated May 15, 2012, and the California State Athletic Commission orders any and all purses, which may have been partially or wholly withheld to be released to Rousey.”

“Harvey asserts that since the contract was drafted as a talent contract and not a fighter-manager contract, he did not meet the definition of a manager as set forth in Business and Professions Code section 18628/ Specifically, the contract did not call for more than a 10-percent commission and related mostly to commercial activities and only incidentally to fighting activities. Further, Harvey asserts that following Rousey’s entering into a contract with the UFC, Harvey no longer procured, arranged or directed Rousey’s fights, as these duties were taken over by the UFC. Hence, Harvey no longer acted as Rousey’s manager after the UFC.”

“From the beginning of their relationship, the arbitrator finds that Harvey by his own admissions and actions undertook by agreement to represent the interests of Rousey in advancing and promoting her MMA fighting career. Further, Harvey was involved in Rousey’s training and development, which he paid for. He directed or controlled Rousey’s MMA activities in one way or another. This is true even after Rousey signed her UFC contract. Following the UFC contract, Harvey’s manager responsibilities for procuring and arranging fights were eliminated, however, he continued managing Rousey by being intimately involved in her MMA activities by promoting her fighting career and by acquiring hundreds of thousands of dollars in paid sponsorships for her, which were generated from Rousey’s fighting success. The arbitrator finds that Harvey was Rousey’s manager.”

Rousey’s lawyer, Steven Bash of Bash and Polyachenko, P.C., previously told Sherdog that he believed the parts of the contract relating to income generated from modeling, acting and other commercial activities would be found by the courts to be invalid.

In a message to Sherdog, another of Rousey's attorneys declined to specify the nature of the dispute.

"Ronda regrets that things went down this road, but she truly felt that she had no choice based on the events of the past year," he said. "While the decision by the commission to invalidate the contract was based on FTM/Harvey’s failure to comply with CSAC Rules, the original reasons that she sought to distance herself from Darin were discussed in some detail in the arbitration. We agree with the arbitrator’s decision to keep those details out of the opinion and to focus on the law.

“With most fighters, this would be the end of the story. However, because of Ronda’s unprecedented popularity outside the cage, certain provisions in the contract relating to non-fight earnings are of unusual importance. Going forward, we feel strongly that since Darin is no longer going to be her manager, the entire purported agreement should be deemed invalid, since the overall purpose of the contract has been frustrated. However, since such a ruling would be beyond the scope of the CSAC arbitration, we anticipate having to establish that in private arbitration and Superior Court.”

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tags: UFC   Ronda Rousey (detail)  regulation   Andy Foster   CSAC   California   

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Recent Comments »

creepymcfinger site profile image  

4/16/14 9:29 PM by creepymcfinger

It keeps me up at night

CS Raven site profile image  

4/16/14 9:23 PM by CS Raven

what a kunt

Dead President site profile image  

4/5/14 6:36 AM by Dead President

Sorry. It was sarcasm.

mmainsurgent site profile image  

4/5/14 5:14 AM by mmainsurgent

Dana: "Ronda, post- first UFC fight fighter meeting in my office right now. Please lock the door nice and tight behind you."Ronda: "Yes Boss!"Dana: "While your down there... I'd like to talk about your manager. Drop that m**** f***er!He's just been trying to rip you off by paying for you to eat, train, have a place to live, clothe you, support your girlfriend, lease your car, and pay all of your travel expenses for the past 4 years back to when you were destitute.I'm gonna watch out for you personally Ronda. Just like you were one of my "family". (hi mom! :)) You're gonna be a star baby!There's tons of scumbag MMA managers out there who don't have your best interest in mind. Only the UFC has your best interest in mind. We 'always' put our fighters first. You don't need anybody negotiating fight purse contracts for you. Don...worrry 'bout it! I'll take care of it.Me & Lorenzo will protect you from all the scum and make you a million fighting at least 3 times a year before you hit menopause. We need to keep the numbers on the down low so to protect you from your mom, dad, brothers, sisters and other hanger-oner's who'd try a rob you blind.Lorenzo & I have found it's best never to fully disclose this money kinda' stuff to the commissions, media, or public... so I'll making regular installments 'in'... i mean 'to' you and we'll call them bedroom... I mean backdoor... Er uh "backroom bonuses" in private."Ronda: "Thank you Dana. Your so great it should be F***ING ILLEGAL!"Mmmm... Seems Lorenzo sat Overeem down a while back and told him to do much the same thing. Seems that didn't go to well in court for Alistair.

Enemies site profile image  

4/5/14 4:03 AM by Enemies

Sets a bad precedence. People could sign contracts that were deemed unfair in order to get out of paying management fees.You agreed to these things. Did you read the contract? Were you sober? Were you mentally incapacitated in some way? [Seeing some of her interviews leads me to believe this may be a possibility but I digress.] If not, you have no excuse. Honor the words you signed.The manager was smart. He saw her potential so he set himself up as her entertainment manager instead of her MMA manager. So he carefully worded the contract to ensure that he got 10% of a bigger piece of the pie for having done and his job and continuing to do his job.It's a slippery slope. Soon what? Zuffa's contracts will be deemed unfair? Maybe they are but everybody has the right not to sign them if they choose not to. There are other promotions to fight for.Anyway, my point is that Rousey has no honour. Just greed. The man earned his 10% imo.

Giventofly99 site profile image  

4/4/14 9:35 PM by Giventofly99

This play was run not long ago. See Overeem, Alistair. Bas came right out and said that was exactly what had happened...

Kneeblock site profile image  

4/4/14 4:29 PM by Kneeblock

I think two things are fairly clear from this ruling: 1) Ronda was dating her ex-manager. 2) Ronda will likely see the smallest % increases over the remainder of her career of any of the top names.

mestregruber site profile image  

4/4/14 1:18 PM by mestregruber

They haven't talked about the specifics of why Rousey wanted to fire Fight Tribe, but the agreement was thrown out because it wasn't on the proper forms and wasn't approved by CSAC.

RampageFitsLikeAGlove site profile image  

4/4/14 12:24 PM by RampageFitsLikeAGlove

LOL... an MMA manager sounds like the worst job in the world. "OK when I'm making $15K + $15K you can be my manager and keep 10%. But when I win the belt and get a PPV percentage, possible making $1M+ per fight, you are not my manager anymore. But when I lose my 2nd title defense and I'm back to $20K + $20K, you can be my manager again, making 10%."

RockTheVote site profile image  

4/4/14 12:21 PM by RockTheVote

why would the profession "fight manager" exist if fighters kick them to the curb as soon as they hit the big time? the manager gets you through the lean times, when youre making $500 to fight nobodies and his cut would be $50 of her pay in that case. Why should any manager work with a prospect ever again?