The mixed martial arts (MMA) world will keep its collective eyes on the courtroom this week.
Eddie Alvarez's attorneys are seeking a preliminary injunction to allow the former Bellator Lightweight Champion and current free agent to sign a Zuffa contract to fight at UFC 159 on April 27, 2013. The court hearing is set for this upcoming Friday (Jan. 25, 2013).
MMA Payout has the details:
Update: fixed a few inaccuracies from the initial report [updates are in brackets]
According to Court papers filed in [the federal US District Court for the District of New Jersey] by Alvarez's attorney, Zuffa will not promote or contract with Alvarez until it has Court permission. It has to do so within 90 days of the event. Thus, the deadline is January 27th (the hearing is set for Friday the 25th since the 27th is Sunday).
The hearing is to show cause as to "why Bellator should not be restrained from interfering with Alvarez's prospective contract with Zuffa and why Alvarez should not be permitted to contract with Zuffa, so that he may participate in Zuffa's April 27, 2013 event.
As in all preliminary injunctions, the threshold Alvarez's attorneys must prove for the Court to grant the preliminary junction is:
1) the likelihood of success on the merits;
2) that Alvarez will suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is denied;
3) [who between Bellator and Alvarez would suffer the most harm after comparing/balancing]; and
4) that the public interest favors such relief.
To make things even more interesting, according to a recent report from Sports Illustrated, the UFC has strengthened its initial offer to Eddie Alvarez, clearing up some of the language and guaranteeing him a fight on a pay-per-view (PPV) for his debut with the promotion.
Here are the details of the new offer:
"Zuffa currently has a standing offer to Alvarez for a bout at UFC 159 in late April, but has altered its original contract offer to include the pay-per-view revenue perk (in addition to the negotiated $75,000 show and $75, 000 win purses), despite it not being a title fight. According to Alvarez's UFC offer, included in Bellator's complaint, the fighter stands to make an additional $1.00 for every buy between 200,000-400,000 units, $2.00 for each buy sold between 400,000- 600,000 units and $2.50 for each buy sold over 600,000 units."
This would make things much more difficult for Bellator to match the deal because the promotion does not put any of its events on PPV and the guarantee of a PPV fight would likely get around the tricky language that Bellator used to "match" the initial contract.
Stay tuned for much more on this as details develop, particularly Friday's court case. In the meantime, get up to speed on the legal battle to secure the services of Alvarez right here.