Bellator MMA paid Quinton "Rampage'' Jackson a $200,000-bonus despite not reaching the requisite amount of pay-per-view buys for its May 2014 event, according to a complaint filed by the Viacom-owned mixed martial arts promotion against the fighter.
The complaint, filed Monday, seeks an injunction to prevent Jackson from fighting at UFC 186 on April 25 against Fabio Maldonado in Montreal. A hearing is scheduled for April 2 in Superior Court in Burlington County, New Jersey.
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Last December, Jackson said Bellator was in breach of contract and because of that, he said he was a free agent and re-signed with the UFC. Jackson had a six-fight deal with Bellator but only fought three times for what is considered the second biggest MMA promotion.
According to the complaint, filed in a New Jersey court and obtained by Newsday, Jackson would have received $4 for every pay-per-view buy over 190,000. Jackson headlined the Bellator 120 card in Southaven, Mississippi, last May, and won a unanimous decision over Muhammed "King Mo'' Lawal. The event, Bellator's first and only pay-per-view card to date, had at least 100,000 buys, Spike TV president Kevin Kay said last June.
"Jackson, who has completed only three fights of his exclusive six-fight contract with Bellator, is barred by contract from fighting for any promoter other than Bellator," Bellator said in a statement released Monday. "Our lawsuit for an injunction and related relief -- filed in the Chancery Division of the Superior Court in Burlington County, New Jersey -- will compel Jackson to honor his contractual agreement. We look forward to having one of our MMA stars fighting for Bellator again."
Attorneys for Bellator, Seth Lapidow and Michael Rowe of Blank Rome LLP, did not return messages seeking comment. Bellator declined Newsday's request for further comment. UFC, not named as a defendant in this suit, also declined to comment.
Jackson said last December that his contract with Bellator stipulated that he was to be informed of the amount of pay-per-view buys and that there was a 45-day window for both sides to settle any disputes. Jackson said at the time that Bellator did not inform him of the amount of pay-per-view buys and never settled the dispute.
Bellator's suit claims Kay told Jackson's manager Anthony McGann the results of the pay-per-view "shortly after the fight." Neither McGann nor Jackson asked for a copy of the summary report at that time, the complaint said. It also claims that McGann intended to release the summary report and additional details about Bellator's relationship with Jackson to the public, which would violate their confidentiality agreement. McGann emailed Bellator on Oct. 15, 2014, according to the complaint, to claim a breach of contract by Bellator for not promptly providing the summary report of the pay-per-view event.
Jackson, a former Pride and UFC champion, signed the six-fight deal with Bellator in May, 2013. The deal, which was negotiated with then-Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, included a 2013 Tesla Sport worth $129,603, an additional $100,000 signing bonus and guaranteed fight purses beginning at $200,000 and maxing out at $300,000 for non-PPV fights, according to the complaint. Jackson also was to receive between $200,000 and $450,000 for a pay-per-view fight. Bellator also agreed to pay Jackson $50,000 "in the event that he did not receive a certain revenue amount from sponsorships," the complaint said.
Scott Coker, former head of now-defunct Strikeforce, replaced Rebney as the head of Bellator in June 2014.
Jackson won his three fights for Bellator, after losing his last three UFC bouts from September 2011 to January 2013. Jackson was referred to as a "diminished" fighter in the complaint and that Bellator "rebuilt Jackson's reputation in the MMA industry."
Other perks of Jackson's contract and Bellator's dealings with the fighter outlined in the complaint include:
-- Jackson would receive 30 percent of net gate receipts received by Bellator above $400,000 for any fight in which he participated.
-- Jackson was paid $35,000 per episode as part of the deal to air a four-episode "Rampage 4 Real" reality program on Spike TV.
-- Bellator was contractually obligated to retain a screenwriter to work directly with Jackson to develop a potential feature film project.
-- Bellator had to secure "direct access to and communications with" Viacom-owned Paramount Pictures in an attempt to develop film opportunities for Jackson. (Jackson met with Adam Goodman, president of Paramount Film Group, according to the complaint.)
-- Jackson would appear on the red carpet at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center.
-- Bellator paid more than $250,000 for one commercial promoting the fight that aired on May 16, 2014, on ESPN during the NBA playoffs.
-- Bellator spent $200,000 to secure the rights for a Rolling Stones song in connection with advertising Jackson.
Bellator also claims that Jackson breached his contract by not giving them written notice of the UFC's offer, nor their 12-month exclusive right to match any offer from another promotion.
With Jim Baumbach