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Sunday, March 25, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Pride USA President Ed Fishman Files Lawsuit Against Pride Parent Company Dream Stage
by Ken Pishna and Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly

As Pride FC is mired in rumors of a potential sale, Pride USA President Ed Fishman filed a lawsuit on Monday against Dream Stage Entertainment (DSE), the parent company of Pride FC, in Clark County, Nevada. According to the complaint, DSE has failed to pay monies owed to Fishman Companies, breaching a contract between the two parties.

The complaint states that "on or about April 7, 2006" Fishman Companies was contracted "to promote and market PRIDE events… for three years," and that the agreement "provides Fishman Companies with the option of renewing it for an additional two years."

As compensation, the complaint states that DSE was "to pay $200,000.00 to Fishman Companies annually for the term of the Agreement for consulting on PRIDE events world-wide," not solely in the United States. The complaint continued, "In addition, Fishman Companies is entitled to 10% of tickets sales for all PRIDE events occurring in the United States."

At this point, Fishman alleges that DSE has not compensated him for either of Pride’s two U.S. shows, which took place on October 21, 2006 and February 24, 2007, both at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Pride: The Real Deal, which took place on October 21, 2006 in Las Vegas, generated $2,056,444.00 in ticket sales, according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. With Fishman claiming to be entitled to 10% of that revenue, he would be owed $205,644.40.

Pride: The Second Coming, which took place on February 24, 2007 in Las Vegas, generated $2,033,098.00 in ticket sales, according to the NSAC. Fishman's 10% cut of that revenue would be $203,309.80.

The combined ticket sales for the two events was $4,089,542. If Fishman’s allegations are accurate, the amount that DSE has failed to pay him in ticket revenue is $408,954.20.

Fishman did state in the complaint that Fishman Companies was paid the initial $200,000 owed for the first year of consulting services shortly after he signed with Dream Stage, but official correspondence with DSE for either payment or an assurance of future payment for consulting services has gone unanswered.

The lawsuit states that on February 27, 2007, which was three days after Pride: The Second Coming took place in Las Vegas, Fishman's representatives sent a letter to Dream Stage that served as a "formal written demand" for Fishman's cut of the revenue from the Pride event that had taken place on February 24, 2007, though the lawsuit mistakenly lists the event as having taken place on February 24, 2006.

This correspondence from Fishman's representatives to Dream Stage demanded that Fishman receive his 10% cut of the revenue for the February 24th event no later than March 7, 2007. Also on or before that same date, Fishman wanted a written and formal assurance from Dream Stage that he would be receiving his second annual consultant's payment of $200,000 as scheduled on or before April 7, 2007.

According to the lawsuit, Fishman still hasn't received a reply to his February 27, 2007 correspondence. He has allegedly not received any of the ticket revenue from either of Pride's two U.S. events, nor has he heard anything from DSE about the $200,000 annual payment that is due on or before April 7, 2007.

Fishman Companies is seeking a judgment for damages in an amount in excess of $10,000, an award of reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees, pre and post judgment interest, and any additional relief the Court deems just and proper on the evidence presented at trial.

Though the complaint does not specify the exact amount of relief that Fishman is seeking, sources close to Fishman have made it known that in addition to seeking the amount of money that Fishman would be owed for consulting services over the remaining four-year life of the contract ($800,000), and in addition to seeking his share of the ticket sales for Pride’s two U.S. shows ($408,954.20), Fishman Companies is also seeking revenue for future shows that, as allegedly presented to Fishman by DSE, would have netted Fishman Companies at least $9 million over the five-year term of the contract. Dream Stage would have had to generate $90 million in ticket sales over a five-year period in order for Fishman's 10% cut to reach $9 million.

So, in total, Fishman is seeking somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million, which sources say is based on a business plan and the lower-end of projections used by DSE officials in their attempts to recruit Fishman and to use his already established marketing acumen in the entertainment and gaming industries to help establish Pride in the U.S. market.

It is interesting to note that in addition to DSE, Fishman’s suit also indicates a number of Doe Defendants, or defendants whose identities are not currently known. The lawsuit states, "The true names and capacities of those individuals and entities, corporate or otherwise, are unknown to Fishman Companies at this time." Fishman's lawsuit says that these defendants will be named at a later date, once their "true names and capacities have been ascertained."

These unknown individuals and entities are alleged by Fishman to have "conspired in some manner with Defendants [ie, Dream Stage] and/or each other." The lawsuit also states that these unknown parties are "responsible in some manner for the events and occurrences alleged in the pleading" and that Fishman's financial damages were "proximately caused by their conduct."

The lawsuit makes no mention of the fact that a third Pride USA show had been scheduled for April 28, 2007 and was cancelled after the February 24th event. The lawsuit also makes no mention of Fishman's publicly stated hope to purchase Pride from Dream Stage, including his comments such as "once I fully acquire Pride FC" in the days before the February 24th Pride event.

At this point, no court dates have been set, but we will continue to keep you updated on this story as events unfold.

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