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Law Offices of Jonathan M. Cooper

Promoter Makes Its Professional Fighters Sign Non-Compete Agreements

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In the world of mixed martial arts, non-compete agreements can be very important. Fight promoters rely on these restrictive covenants to prevent their athletes from jumping to a competitor. Promoters invest a significant amount of time and money promoting and training their fighters in the hope that they will become successful. The athletes are their biggest asset. When their fighters leave to go work for a different promoter, it is extremely costly to the promoter that made the initial investment. 

Recently, promoter Strikeforce began imposing restrictive covenants that do not allow fighters to leave and go fight for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), causing a stir in the fighting community.

Since restrictive covenants can sometimes prevent otherwise capable athletes from earning a living, non-compete agreements in New York must meet certain guidelines to be enforceable. Specifically, the provision must:

  • Be reasonable
  • Only go so far as to protect the interests of the promoter
  • Not be overly broad
  • Not be manifestly unfair to the athlete
  • Not be harmful to the public
  • Not be unreasonable in terms of the length of time during which the restriction is imposed
  • Not be unreasonable in terms of the geographic scope covered by the restriction

Whether a New York non-compete agreement imposed on professional fighters would be valid depends on the above factors. Both parties involved, the promoters and the fighters, have legitimate interests they are trying to protect. Therefore, in these cases just as in any other, it is important that both parties to a non-compete consult with an experienced business litigation attorney for guidance. For more information, contact an experienced New York non-compete agreement attorney today. Call our office at (888) 497-3410 for a free consultation. 

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