Mixed Martial Arts Fighter Taken to Court


     DALLAS (CN) – Dutch mixed martial artist and kickboxer Alistair Overeem will have to wait to collect his $385,000 fight purse from last Friday’s Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-view contest in Las Vegas.
     Overeem’s former fight team claims the fighter stiffed them for the 30 percent he owes in commissions under their management contractand that he walked away from the deal after they negotiated a new contract with the UFC on his behalf.
     Netherlands-based Team Golden Glory fight team sued Overeem and his representative Collin Lam on Thursday in Clark County District Court, Las Vegas.
     On Friday, the court issued a prejudgment garnishment order, so the Nevada State Athletic Commission withheld his check from the Friday fight.
     Golden Glory claimed that Overeem failed to pay its cut after he defeated Brazilian fighter Fabricio Werdum in Dallas on June 18. The team says Overeem received a combined bout fee and win bonus of $170,000, and $50,000 in sponsorship money. That event was put on by Strikeforce.
     Zuffa LLC, which owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship, had purchased Strikeforce in March. Several weeks after Overeem’s victory, he was released by Zuffa with one fight remaining on his contract with Strikeforce. Several other Golden Glory-managed fighters were released as well.
     At the time, UFC president Dana White told MMAFighting.com that “it’s tough to do business with [Golden Glory] … The way they do business is, you have to pay them, not the fighters. We don’t work that way. It’s not the way we do business. It’s not how it works in the United States with the athletic commissions. You don’t pay the managers and the managers pay the fighters. You pay the fighters and the fighters pay the managers.”
     ESPN reported that Zuffa retained the exclusive negotiating right with Overeem after his release, so Golden Glory negotiated on his behalf and he signed a new contract with the UFC on Sept. 6. Two months later, Overeem’s representatives demanded money owed from Golden Glory, ultimately resulting in Overeem suing the team for $151,000 and asking for an order to break the contract, which runs through July 2012.
     When asked why he left Golden Glory after 11 years, Overeem said it was for a “breach of trust,” that he was taken advantage of, according to ESPN.com.
     In its lawsuit, the fight team says that “subsequent to the execution of the UFC contracts, Overeem made numerous public statements that [Golden Glory] breached its fiduciary to him and that there was ‘mistrust.’ Overeem claimed that Zuffa’s CEO, Lorenzo Fertitta told him in no uncertain terms that: there is a one million dollar ‘signing bonus;’ that the one million dollar signing bonus was Overeem’s money and that KOI/GG was ‘ripping him off’ and ‘stealing from him.'”
     A bond of $200,000 is required to execute the garnishment order. It is not known if a bond had been posted before the court closed for the New Year holiday.
     UFC chief legal counsel Laurence Epstein told MMAjunkie.com on Friday, “whatever valid order is in effect, we will certainly comply with.”
     Roderick Lindblom, attorney for Golden Glory, told ESPN.com, “The suit was filed for a very simple reason. Alistair Overeem has been part of Golden Glory for 11 years. Knockout Investment has a management contract with him. The management agreement was from 2007 until 2012. They negotiated one of the largest MMA agreements in the history of the sport for him. And within days he accused them of some pretty shady stuff that is not true. And he has walked away from his contract.”
     On Friday, Overeem defeated former UFC Heavyweight Champion and former professional wrestler Brock Lesnar via technical knockout in the first round due to kicks to the body and punches to the head.
     Overeem now is scheduled to challenge for the heavyweight title this year against reigning champion Junior Dos Santos of Brazil.
     MMAJunkie.com reported that Overeem was to have been paid $385,714.28 for the fight, which includes a $121,428.57 win bonus, while Lesnar was paid $400,000. The disclosed pay does not include “locker room” or special bonuses, sponsor pay or portions of pay-per-view revenues that are paid to certain top fighters.

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