One area of the ancillary agreement that is raising the ire of fighter advocates and mangers is a clause that has Bellator reserving the right to register as a trademark the fighter’s name, stage name, or identity for the purposes of Bellator carrying out their promotional duties. This sort of arrangement hearkens almost to the type of deals prevalent in the WWE, where the company holds trademarks over the performers stagenames and likenesses. As jaded as MMA reps are at this point by the contractual grabbiness of Zuffa contracts, this clause is seen in some quarters as being beyond the pale, which takes some doing.
The standard term is 36 months or eight bouts, whichever comes first. The contract also has a clause that states that if a fighter is declared champion of his division, wins a tournament or is a tournament runner-up, the contract automatically extends by 18 months or three fights. This is almost a self-fulfilling talent retention process, with the the talent being locked in for longer terms as they achieve within the organization. While not strictly analogous to the UFC’s champion clause, it serves some of the same intents, ie binding the fighter to organization over and above the original term of the contract.
I thought the whole point of fighting outside the UFC was to keep your pants up and your cherry intact when it comes to contracts and freedom. In this case it looks like whoever is signing these contracts is hoping that Bellator aren’t total dicks when it comes to these clauses … the ‘fingers crossed’ method of business we seem to see a lot of lately in MMA.