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Bellator Sues Desert Rage Full Contact Fighting

In a battle between MMA promoters that may be headed for the courtroom rather than the cage, Bellator is suing a small Arizona-based promotion called Desert Rage Full Contact Fighting, saying that Desert Rage is interfering with Bellator's contracts and attempting to harm its upcoming show in Arizona.

Bellator says it worked with Desert Rage and its promoter, the former WEC fighter Chance Farrar, on a previous Bellator event in Arizona. But Bellator says Desert Rage is now attempting to hurt the upcoming Bellator 55 event, which is set to take place on October 22 at Cocopah Resort and Casino in Yuma, Arizona.

The lawsuit provides an interesting look inside the MMA world, with details including the fact that the production costs of Bellator 55 exceed $500,000, and an accusation that Desert Rage is spreading lies about Bellator within the local MMA scene.

"Previously, Bellator engaged Farrar to aid in promoting Bellator's April 16, 2011 show in Yuma, Arizona," the lawsuit says. "As part of that engagement, Farrar communicated often with Bellator employees based in Chicago and was paid for his services by Bellator using its Chicago-based bank accounts. As part of the services he rendered in connection with Bellator's April 16 event, Farrar gained intimate familiarity with Bellator's business, including its method for setting up events, and recruiting talent for its shows. Farrar also had substantial involvement with, and developed an understanding of, Bellator's process of signing fighters for its events, including, but not limited to, Bellator's process and rationale for signing certain fighters, its philosophy behind ticket sales, as well as each fighter's production value. As part of his role in the April 16 event, Farrar saw Bellator's fighter contracts, which included material payment terms that Bellator negotiates with fighters as part of an oftenlengthy bargaining process. Farrar also was privy to the long-term promotional contract terms of Bellator's agreements with fighters, including its obligations to fighters under those contracts and its methods and systematic means of meeting those obligations."

Now, Bellator claims, Desert Rage has decided to put on its own event on October 22, just nine miles away from Bellator's location. And Bellator says Desert Rage is attempting to interfere with Bellator's business, by going after fighters who are already negotiating with Bellator and misleading the local MMA community about the upcoming Bellator show. Bellator is seeking a restraining order to prevent Desert Rage from putting on its October 22 show.

"On September 12, 2011, Bellator learned that Defendants had told multiple parties that BELLATOR 55 was cancelled," the lawsuit says. "Upon information and belief, Defendants knowingly misrepresented the status of BELLATOR 55 to persuade important local fighters with whom Bellator was negotiating, as well as others currently under contract with Bellator, to participate in the Desert Rage X show instead of the BELLATOR 55 event."

Last year the UFC sued Bellator, accusing the promotion of stealing trade secrets, and then less than two weeks later Bellator turned around and sued the UFC, saying Ultimate Fighter cast member Jonathan Brookins should not have appeared on the UFC's reality show because he was under an exclusive contract to Bellator. MMAFighting.com was not able to reach either Bellator or Desert Rage for comment on the latest lawsuit.