Lawsuit levied against Georges St-Pierre could be worth millions
NOV 20, 2013 1:36a ET
UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre may not want to comment on the personal issues that were driving his desire to take a step back from the sport, but that certainly hasn't stopped revelations from being made.
While some outrageous rumors started flying around less than 24 hours after St-Pierre defended his title at UFC 167 against Johny Hendricks, that the fighter quickly shot down via UFC president Dana White, that doesn't mean some other skeletons in the closet aren't finding new life.
Shari Spencer, St-Pierre's former manager, has twice levied lawsuits against the fighter and his new representation after their falling out a few years ago. The first lawsuit, which was eventually voluntarily dismissed, pitted Spencer against St-Pierre's current manager Rodolphe Beaulieu, as well as trainers John Danaher and Firas Zahabi and a fourth man named Phillippe Lepage for intentional misconduct regarding interference with contract rights.
The second lawsuit filed by Spencer in Clark County, Nevada sued for losses she sustained after her partnership with St-Pierre was dissolved. Spencer was with St-Pierre when he signed many of his largest endorsement deals to date including Gatorade, Under Armour and Mission Skincare. In the motion filed, Spencer went after her former client for proceeds she was entitled to as his manager during the time when those deals were done.
According to additional court documents revealed by TMZ on Tuesday, St-Pierre lost in civil court and was forced to cut a check to Spencer for $737,066.35, which he paid earlier this year.
In addition to that lump sum that St-Pierre paid, he's also on the line for several other notable payouts to Spencer including:
20-percent of future revenue on various UFC pay-per-view fights
20-percent of royalties earned under a 2008 UFC merchandising contract
5-percent of future revenues from sponsorships she apparently helped him earn including Affliction and RUSHfit, St-Pierre's signature workout line.
It's well known that St-Pierre is one of the highest paid athletes in the UFC so the final payments to Spencer could potentially be worth millions.
Spencer was alongside St-Pierre in 2008 when he signed a landmark deal with Creative Artists Agency that put him under the same umbrella as other top notch athletes including New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and soccer star David Beckham. Spencer made it a point when working with St-Pierre to only go after the biggest, mainstream sponsors possible and actually avoided fight specific brands before his UFC bouts.
Spencer says it was all part of a strategy she developed when dealing with St-Pierre and his potential stardom.
“I didn’t make a lot of friends in the beginning when I was turning down a lot of the fight specific brands, but I really saw from the beginning when I started working with Georges, that he had the potential to transcend the sport ala Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan. It was a very intentional strategy to stay away from fight specific brands and then start to cultivate relationships with brands that were broader than the sport. Even with someone as marketable as Georges, it was still quite a challenge. Just because of the nature of the sport in the mainstream marketplace," Spencer said in a 2010 interview.
“I definitely think it’s a stamp of credibility that the mainstream brands provide. They represent an acceptance that it’s okay to affiliate your brand with an athlete that participates in this sport, and you’re not going to lose the soccer moms, you’re not going to offend the rest of your constituents.”
Spencer and St-Pierre parted ways in early 2011 and at the time the dissolution of their relationship was described as 'amicable'. Obviously when money's involved things can turn ugly in a hurry.
Spencer took to Twitter on Tuesday to refute rumors that she had something to do with St-Pierre's break from the sport when he cited personal issues at the cause of his departure.
While the lawsuit could potentially end up costing St-Pierre millions of dollars, there's no proof that it was indeed the cause of his sudden desire to take a step back from fighting. While technically his continued participation in the UFC could land more money in the pocket of his ex-manager, it also still pays him the lion's share of the proceeds so it's still unknown what caused him to decide to ask for a sabbatical from competition.