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ALBERTO EL PATRON VS. COMBATE GLOBAL LAWSUIT UPDATE

By Mike Johnson on 2022-07-28 14:25:00

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled on 7/26 that the Alberto el Patron vs. Combate Global lawsuit will move forward, but has terminated parent company Combate Global Holdco, Inc. from lawsuit, leading Combat Global LLC as the lone defendant going forward.

Due to Holdco being terminated, Alberto had been ordered to file a second amended lawsuit by 8/9.

In his original lawsuit, Patron alleges he is owed $250,000 for his December 2019 MMA fight against Tito Ortiz and that Combate Global maintained control over his social media accounts even after the end of his relationship with the company.  Patron claims that he signed an agreement with the company in September 2016 to become a “co-spokesman, color commentator, roving reporter, pre-fight and post-fight interviewer, on-camera personality, liaison for fighter relations and brand ambassador" for Combate Americas LLC, as the company was then known.   

His lawsuit noted, "The Agreement stated that compensation for Plaintiff Jose Alberto Rodriguez Chucuan, Inc. was for two-hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000.00) for the first year, to be paid monthly ($20,833.34 per month). If Mr. Rodriguez appeared as an on-camera, ringside commentator for televised or pay-per-view events, then Plaintiff Jose Alberto Rodriguez Chucuan, Inc. received another ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) per event."

Patron then stated in his lawsuit that the parties extended their deal for eight additional months, then agreed to extend for another two years beyond their initial terms, one year at a time, lawsuit noting, "The Agreement and the Amendment would total $883,333.36 ($83,333.36 for the first four months, $200,000 for the final eight months of the first term, then $600,000 for the final two years)."  The lawsuit stated that Patron "performed all duties and services; and Defendants did not complain about the quality of those duties and services."

Patron's lawsuit stated that the agreement was terminated in July 2017 but two months later, Combate made an offer for him to fight Tito Ortiz with the agreement being he'd be paid $500,000 to promote the fight and another $250,000 to fight.  Alberto fought (and lost) to Ortiz in December 2019.  He alleges that Combate has not paid him the $250,000 payday for the actual fight and ignored his invoices for the payment.  As part of the promotion for the fight, Patron alleges he gave Combate access to his social media accounts and "now that the parties have no working relationship, the Defendants refuse to answer questions about the social media accounts."

Combate's side claimed that while Patron is claiming his original 2017 deal was extended, that was not the case.  They filed several exhibits of evidence claiming to show their original deal was indeed terminated in July 2017, including a Termination agreement signed by Patron.   Combate claims in the Motion that the true timeline is that they approached Patron's side seeking to learn his interest in working on a podcast and potentially doing some announcing for them as part of a new, separate deal that was not paid under the terms of the 2017 agreement.    The motion filed includes correspondence between the two sides about a new deal being worked out with Combate pointing out to the court there was never any mention of returning working under the 2017 agreement's terms.

Instead, Combate claime that the two sides worked via a "gentleman's agreement" between November 2017 (shown in the form of an email) and February 2019r with Patron being paid under new terms.  Then, in February 2019, when the two sides began discussing Patron competing in an MMA fight against Tito Ortiz to be held on December 7, 2019, they entered into a signed agreement.   

Combate has claimed Patron would be paid $250,000 to fight Ortiz and an additional $500,000 to promote the fight.   Had Patron won the Ortiz fight, he would also have earned a $500,000 bonus.  Patron did not win the fight.  Initially, the fight was won by Ortiz, but several months later, was ruled a no decision by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which oversaw the fight that evening in Hidalgo, Texas.  Without that victory, Combate states in their Motion that Patron was owed $750,000 total and that amount is not in dispute - and they claim that amount was paid.

What is in dispute, is whether Patron received the entirety of the $750,000.  As noted,  Patron alleges he is still owed $250,000 by the MMA promotion.  Combate instead argues in their motion to dismiss that Patron had already been paid in full well before his filed a lawsuit.   

Combate cited they paid Patron "two (2) separate payments of Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000.00) on January 24, 2020 and Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000.00) on February 6, 2020, and prior to that, Defendant CA, LLC paid Plaintiffs an additional Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000.00) in twenty (20) bi-weekly increments of Twelve Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($12,500.00) between the dates of March 14, 2019 and December 29, 2019 as proven by the attached Accounting Statement."

Combate also argued that while Patron "falsely" claims the twenty bi-weekly payments of $12,500  were for work done under the original, terminated 2017 deal, they have filed an exhibit showing payments to him over the course of their working relationship that "delineates that Defendant CA, LLC paid Plaintiffs’ an amount totaling roughly Two Hundred Thousand Dollars ($200,000.00) for Plaintiffs’ services for the “as needed” work and then Plaintiffs were paid separately the full Seven Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($750,000.00) as per the terms of the Term Sheet and Amended Term Sheet both executed in 2019."

Patron's most recent argument against dismissing the lawsuit claimed:

"This litigation stems from the creation of several agreements that the Defendants admit they entered into.

The final agreement, the Ortiz Contract (Amended Complaint) is what is at issue in this case. The Ortiz Contract required the Plaintiff to promote his sanctioned prize bout against Mr. Ortiz and to fight in that bout (Amended Complaint 30). The Plaintiff was to be paid $750,000 for performing under the Ortiz Contract. The Defendants do not dispute this performance but contend the Plaintiff was fully paid by confusing $250,000 in payments made between March 14, 2019, and December 29, 2019, under a different contract with payments made under the Ortiz Contract. By combining this $250,000 with the $500,000 paid on January 24, 2020, and February 6, 2020, the Defendants claim they met their $750,000 obligation under the Ortiz Contract. Not so.

As the Amended Complaint states (Amended Complaint), that $250,000 payment was for services performed under a different contract, leaving the payment under the Ortiz Contract short by $250,000. The Defendants may dispute this until the dawn of time, but this is a matter of fact to be worked out through discovery and not by a motion to dismiss.

In addition, the Amended Complaint properly alleges that the Defendants have not returned important password information to the Plaintiff, resulting in his inability to access his social media account. Those passwords were changed at some point by Defendants, which allowed them to improperly convert his social media accounts."

In their motion to dismiss filed back on 1/4, Combate instead argueds that Patron failed to state a cause upon which relief can be granted in regard to his claims and that he cannot even meet the burden of proof to show he has proper standing to even file the lawsuit, because he's not actually owed any money and they have paid him in full.  Obviously, the court will let that go to trial and make a decision as to which side is in the right.

Patron is suing for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, conversion (for not turning over the social media accounts) seeking:

*compensatory damages in the amount of $250,000.00 for Defendant’s breach of contract, or quantum meruit or unjust enrichment

*Interest of at least $26,250.00 due and owing from and after December 31, 2019 calculated as follows through April 15, 2021, and as determined by the Court for the days following April 15, 2021 up to the date judgment is rendered: 7% interest of $26,250.

*For an award of Plaintiffs’ costs and reasonable attorney’s fees;

*To return control of all social media accounts to Plaintiffs.

*For such other and further relief aThe 1s may be just and proper.

Patron's had previously argued that his breach of contract claims stand up under scrutiny and that he suffered damages, and that the "Requirements of a Pleading in an Unjust Enrichment Claim" exist in that Combate allegedly enriched themselves through Alberto's work without properly paying him what was owed.  Combate, obviously, vehemently disagrees.  

Combate argued back in March that Patron's most recent amended lawsuit filing "...conveniently omit attaching both: (i) the proof of payment made by Defendants to Plaintiffs between the dates of November 2017 through February 2019 for a total of roughly Two Hundred Thousand Dollars ($200,000.00); and (ii) the additional proof of payment via the twenty (20) bi-weekly increments of Twelve Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($12,500.00) between the dates of March 14, 2019 and December 29, 2019, for a total of Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000.00), thus knowingly omitting material information in order to wrongfully attempt to substantiate its meritless claims."

Combate argued that Patron lacked any standing to file a lawsuit in the first place, claiming, "In an effort to further substantiate Plaintiffs ludicrous claim that Defendant Combate Americas, LLC (“CA, LLC”) paid Plaintiffs a total of $250,000 in 2019, suggestively for the 2017 Agreements that were terminated in 2017, Plaintiffs again assert that the (20) bi-weekly increments of Twelve Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($12,500.00) made between the dates of March 14, 2019 and December 29, 2019, totaling Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000.00) was paid as compensation for work done between November 2017 and February 2019 under the continued terms of the 2017 Agreements which were previously terminated. However, Exhibit D to the Amended Complaint clearly establishes that Plaintiffs were compensated an amount totaling roughly Two Hundred Thousand Dollars ($200,000.00) for Plaintiffs’ services for the “as needed” work (“As-Needed Work Payment”) for the time period between November 2017 and February 2019. It is clear that the As Needed Work Payment was made separate, and in addition, and prior to the (20) bi-weekly increments of Twelve Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($12,500.00) which were solely made in satisfaction of the Term Sheet and the Amended Term Sheet in 2019."

Combate then argued:

Furthermore, in its Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs deceptively allege that they incurred Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000.00) in damages as a result of Defendants supposed breach of the Term Sheet and the Amended Term Sheet. Prior to filing their Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs knew the exact amount of money it had received from Defendants and that they in fact have not suffered the suggested damages, since the total of Seven Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($750,000.00) was fully paid out to Plaintiffs by Defendant CA, LLC, for his participation and promotion of the mixed martial arts bout to be held in McAllen, TX on December 7, 2019 (“Event”) along with the additional, roughly Two Hundred Thousand Dollars ($200,000.00) for the As Needed Work Payment received by Plaintiffs totaling around Nine Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($950,000.00) in documented payments. 

The court ruled on 7/26 that the case will go to a jury trial and that depositions are to be completed by 1/30/23.

A trial date has not yet been sent.

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