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Agents unite to block Showtime’s auction of fighter contracts

Showtime’s planned auction on Nov. 17 of ProElite’s corporate assets has done the unimaginable; it has brought together competitors in the field of mixed martial arts fighter management such as Ken Pavia and Monte Cox.

Business rivals are now uniting to block Showtime’s scheduled asset auction in order to protect the rights of the various fighters they represent.

“We as sports agents battle against each other every day for the best opportunities for our clients,” a press release forwarded to by Pavia’s MMA Agents agency reads. “Ultimately we realize the struggle is always about the client’s best interest. That is why we as the elite agents in MMA today have band together to address what we perceive to be a grave injustice.

After claiming that ProElite defaulted on a loan, Showtime called in a promissory note that it believes gives the CBS Corporation-owned company the right to take possession of ProElite’s corporate assets and sell them off. It’s believed that Showtime’s primary motivation in holding the auction is to recoup as much money it can from the $6.3 million it is believed to be owed by ProElite

One of the primary assets set to be auctioned off are the various contracts of the fighters that competed for ProElite-owned EliteXC during the fight promotion’s nearly two and a half year existence. It is the position of the managers and agents of many of those fighters that the ProElite contracts cannot be transferred to another party.

“Whether or not these contracts are legally transferable is a matter of law,” the release states. “What is not at issue however is Showtime’s disclaimer that the assets are being sold ‘as-is, where-is basis, without recourse, warranty or guarantee of any kind.’ We intend to fight the lawful ability to transfer these assets, and as we believe these are personal services contracts, we do not believe there is an obligation to perform if transferred. With pooled resources we are prepared to fight this issue.”

As of today, Showtime’s auction is still scheduled to go on as planned. However, today’s release serves as warning to potential suitors that are looking to acquire fighter contracts through the auction.

“The unity of this effort is unprecedented and the message that is being sent is clear,” the release continues. “Absent significant pre-established negotiated terms, do not bid on these contracts unless you are prepared to fight the challenge to their legality. It is our intention to honor our commitment to Pro Elite, but if Pro Elite is not able to perform in accordance with the contractual terms, the fighters should be granted unrestricted free agency with the unfettered ability to enter the marketplace.”

The letter is signed by Pavia, Cox, Bob Cook, Ed Soares, Cesar Gracie, Matt Stansell, and Chas Bowling.

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