Wednesday, March 21, 2007

PRIDE USA President Fishman Files Suit Against DSE

By Josh Gross

In a lawsuit filed Monday, PRIDE USA president Ed Fishman alleges that Dream Stage Entertainment, the longtime operator of the PRIDE Fighting Championships, has failed to pay him per the terms of a three-year agreement. As a result, said a source close to Fishman, PRIDE could be in breach to the tune of $10 million.

According to the complaint, which lists DSE and numerous unnamed parties as defendants, Fishman was to receive $200,000 annually for a minimum of three years, or, said the same source, a maximum of five had he decided to use an option that extended the deal.

Though Fishman, who made his name as a gaming-industry leader, received an initial annual payment after signing in early April 2006, it's alleged that PRIDE failed to pay him an obligated 10 percent of all ticket revenue derived from the promotion's U.S. cards.

PRIDE made its Stateside debut on Oct. 21, 2006 and followed that with a card Feb. 24, 2007, both at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Based upon gross sales listed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Fishman would have netted nearly $409,000 — 10 percent of the estimated $4,090,000 made at the gate — for the two events.

According to Fishman's associate, PRIDE CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara told the plaintiff that the Japanese mixed martial arts promoter, home to several of the sports superstars, would hold a half-dozen events per year in the U.S.

Based upon the remaining payments owed to Fishman had he extended the agreement as well as the potential gate revenue for 30 events over five years, it's possible he could seek damages nearing $10 million.

Three days after Dan Henderson (Pictures) knocked out Wanderlei Silva (Pictures) to capture the PRIDE 205-pound belt, Fishman alleges he made a formal written complaint to DSE demanding to be paid his percentage of ticket sales generated by the Feb. 24 card on or before March 7. Fishman also asked for a written assurances that he would be paid the second installment of his $200,000 annual payment.

Fishman — whose stated duties included "among other things, providing consulting, promoting, marketing, merchandising, and ticketing services for PRIDE events world-wide" — has yet to receive a formal response from DSE, according to the document filed in a Clark County, Nevada district court.

No comments: