Scott Coker has said about all he is going to say regarding Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.
The Bellator MMA president told MMA Fighting on Monday that Jackson's case has been "turned over to our attorneys" and he has been told not to speak about it.
"I wish I could comment more," Coker said. "The lawyers don't want us to comment on him right now. It's going to be in the [legal] process."
The UFC announced it had re-signed Jackson on Saturday night during the UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Dollaway broadcast on FOX Sports 1. A taped interview with "Rampage" was aired during the event and then he commented further later on FOX Sports Live. Jackson said he had terminated his contract with Bellator MMA, owned by broadcast giant Viacom, because the promotion did not honor his contract.
Coker contended that same night on Twitter that Jackson remained under "exclusive contract" with Bellator.
Let us be clear that Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is under an exclusive contract with #BellatorMMA. We will protect our contractual rights— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) December 21, 2014
In an interview with MMA Fighting, Coker compared Jackson's situation with one involving Randy Couture and Mark Cuban's HDNet in 2007. Couture resigned from the UFC, citing his lack of compensation, the UFC's inability to sign Fedor Emelianenko and what he called a lack of respect from UFC brass and attempted to sign with HDNet for what was believed to be a megafight against Emelianenko in Dallas.
Couture planned to wait until his fight contract and promotional/broadcasting contract ended, so he could compete for Cuban's promotion. The UFC contended that Couture would remain under contract until he fulfilled the terms of his fight contract, which included two more fights.
Cuban filed suit against the UFC in 2008 to get a judgment on Couture's contractual status. The UFC also sued Couture for breach of contract and irreparable damage. In August 2008, the UFC won its lawsuit against Cuban with a Texas appeals court granting parent company Zuffa's request for a stay against a motion for a declaratory judgment. A month later, Couture signed a new, three-fight contract with the UFC.
"I'm sure you've seen this before in the sport," Coker said.
The two scenarios are not completely the same. Jackson is claiming that Bellator did not honor his contract. And MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani reported over the weekend that the biggest point in Jackson's argument is that Bellator refused to provide the pay-per-view numbers for Bellator 120 when he fought against Muhammed Lawal as contracted. Coker could not comment on that or anything specific about the case.
"Rampage" said on FOX Sports Live that his manager tried to fix the issue with Bellator, but after 45 days nothing was solved. That period, Jackson said, was contracted as the window in which the two parties had to settle a contract dispute.
"You sign a contract for a reason," Jackson said. "You're bound by law to do what you say you're going to do. If you can't honor your contract, that's the type of company I don't really want to be associated with."
Jackson released a full statement on his website on Sunday "so Scott Coker can shut up," he wrote on Twitter.
Official statement on my UFC signing and what's happening at http://t.co/2iCm2dLQDw (so Scott Coker can shut up)— Quinton Jackson (@Rampage4real) December 21, 2014
Clearly, Bellator is going to argue that it was not in breach and honored the deal. If lawyers have already gotten involved, things are likely to get messy. If the litigation with Couture, Cuban and the UFC is any indication, this case could be tied up in courts for months or even longer.
"Once it gets turned over to the lawyers out of your hands," Coker said. "There's nothing you can do."