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UFC Fresno, The Morning After: Dana White says he will sue Pacquiao if McGregor rumors are true

Basketball: Big 3-Championship Game Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

UFC Fresno was an interesting event. Cub Swanson was piecing Brian Ortega up on the feet- until he got viciously guillotined in the second round. Then Ortega took the nice guy approach to the maximum in the post-fight interview, praising Swanson, saying what he really wants to do is find money for charity work, and then politely saying he would sit out and wait for Frankie Edgar to get his title shot first.


Was Ortega offering to wait for Edgar to get his title shot first really cool or really stupid?

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After the event, though, it was Dana White, who had been sitting cageside, with some interesting soundbites, including the following on the Conor McGregor-Manny Pacquiao rumors:

That would be weird, because he's under contract with us. If that's true, I'll be suing Manny Pacquiao and whoever's representing him."

This is interesting on a number of levels. Firstly, it implies this time (unlike with the Mayweather bout) Dana White is not involved in the negotiations. Naturally, he probably doesn’t want McGregor boxing again. The Mayweather fight was acceptable to the UFC because of the sheer amount of money involved. If McGregor just continues to box, there will be diminishing returns because boxers get a much, MUCH bigger slice of the revenue pie than UFC fighters.

Related to that, this is interesting because White is talking about boxing, a different legal world than MMA, thanks to the Ali Act. Note that White didn’t say he would sue McGregor, but that he would sue Pacquiao. However, if McGregor continued, he would likely be sued as well. It isn’t 100% clear whether the Ali Act, which McGregor mentioned before Zuffa came on board for the Mayweather bout, would protect Conor if he chose to move forward with negotiations to fight Pacquiao. Here is the section on coercive contracts: (you can read the full bill here)

A contract provision shall be considered to be in restraint of trade, contrary to public policy, and unenforceable against any boxer to the extent that it--

‘(i) is a coercive provision described in subparagraph (B) and is for a period greater than 12 months; or

‘(ii) is a coercive provision described in subparagraph (B) and the other boxer under contract to the promoter came under that contract pursuant to a coercive provision described in subparagraph (B).

‘(B) A coercive provision described in this subparagraph is a contract provision that grants any rights between a boxer and a promoter, or between promoters with respect to a boxer, if the boxer is required to grant such rights, or a boxer’s promoter is required to grant such rights with respect to a boxer to another promoter, as a condition precedent to the boxer’s participation in a professional boxing match against another boxer who is under contract to the promoter.

Several clauses in the restrictive UFC contract could violate the Ali Act’s description of a “coercive provision”; fighters sign away their likeness rights to the UFC for ever, for instance. They also tie fighters down with very long multi-fight contracts, much longer than 12 months. Would Zuffa qualify as a boxing promoter under the Ali Act? They were registered as a co-promoter for the Mayweather bout, so it’s clear that’s the role in which they see themselves- but perhaps not being the primary promoter gets them off the hook? To my untrained eye, it would seem McGregor has a solid case if he wants to cut ties with Zuffa and box Pacquaio. It might even open a Pandora’s box that sees the UFC lose a lot of legal control over fighters if McGregor is successful.

Seeing that legal battle unfold is the only reason I would ever want this boxing match to happen.

Regardless, it is clear Dana White is a genius when it comes to fighter contracts:

In Other Worlds

After he made boxing legend Guillermo Rigondeaux quit on the stool, the fourth opponent Vasyl Lomachenko has made to quit, he said he must have changed his name to “No-Maschenko”.

Enjoy your Sunday, Maniacs!

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