The bigger a star you become the more of a target you are. Not only for people you’ve never met but also from the closest of friends. In a recent California State Athletic Commission ruling a ‘Fight / Talent Contract’ that was signed by Ronda Rousey and her former manager just a month before the bantamweight champion signed with William Morris (a prominent talent agency) was partially invalidated based on a legal contingency in the State of California that provides certain procedural requirements for Fighter / Manager contracts.
The legal loophole was a means to an end effectively allowing the fighter to avoid paying out a portion of her winnings to the, now ousted, manager who claims to have kickstarted her career.
A quote from the venerable MMA business blog mmapayout.com details the response of Darin Harvey to the CSAC ruling:
Via Inside MMA on AXS TV:
“When I first met Ronda Rousey four years ago, she was destitute and UFC President Dana White was quoted as saying a woman would never fight in the UFC. I set out to make Ronda a star and prove Dana wrong. The results speak for themselves. Ronda is now a highly sought-after model, spokesperson and actress, not to mention the first and still reigning female UFC champion. She deserves all the credit in the world for her accomplishments, but she never would have achieved such unprecedented success without the unwavering financial investment, career guidance and professional support Fight Tribe Management and I provided her.
I am not a litigious person, but I never thought for a moment that once she made it to the top, Ronda would turn her back on us and refuse to honor her legal and moral obligations. After months of radio silence and without even giving me the courtesy of an explanation I was forced to go to court to compel Ronda to private arbitration per the terms of our agreement. Before that could be sorted out, Ronda’s legal team ran to the State Athletic Commission, demanded an expedited hearing and tried to get our entire agreement thrown out on a technicality. During our four-hour hearing last week, I finally heard Ronda’s side of the story. Frankly, it’s pathetic and I’m not surprised the Commission chose not to include any of that in their written decision. The Commission did properly reject Ronda’s attempt to invalidate the entirety of our agreement, and I am very pleased with that aspect of their decision. Our case against Ronda will now proceed. I am confident that when all the facts are presented to an impartial private arbitrator, Fight Tribe Management’s contributions to Ronda’s career will be fully recognized and fairly rewarded.”
Harvey was also reported as tweeting the following:
ATTYN MMA MANAGERS IN CA IF YOU DONT GET YOUR 1.5 PAGE BOXING CONTRACT RATIFIED YOU HAVE NO CONTRACT AS IT RELATES TO PURSE #WILLGETSCREWED
— Darin Harvey (@darinharvey) April 5, 2014
MMAPayout also recanted the following response from a fellow fight promoter based in California:
Roy Englebrecht, a fight promoter in California, empathized with Harvey’s plight but also advised the following:
“I have seen this happen a number of times over the years, where well intentioned people want to get involved in the fight business, but never take the time to learn about the business and some of the rules that govern it. This situation with Rhonda and Darin could have been avoided if Darin knew the CSAC rules and followed them. This manager/fighter agreement or promoter/fighter agreement in California is unique to the sport, and if not followed you will lose, as this ruling showed.”
We strongly recommend you check out the full article at MMApayout.com. For those interested, they go into greater detail on the business, finances and legality of the matter.
SciFighting does not have first hand information on the events as they have been reported, however if true, it is possible they could cast an even darker shadow over and already embattled MMA star in the eyes of the larger MMA community and her existing fan base.
We will continue to follow this story and provide greater perspective in future articles.