UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping is presently embroiled in a battle in London's High Court with former manager and Wolfslair owner Anthony McGann.
As per the Daily Mail's Darren Boyle, Bisping is being sued for £270,000 (A$470,000) in unpaid management fees and expenses dating back ten years. Bisping denies these allegations and told the High Court he refused to sign a deal renewal with McGann in 2012 following years of threats and bullying.
Wolfslair MMA Academy was co-founded by McGann in Widnes, situated in England's North West, back in 2004. Thanks to rising star Michael Bisping, and the publicised signings of Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Cheick Kongo to dual training and managerial contracts, the gym rose to prominence on the international MMA scene. Other former Wolfslair members include Antonio "Big Foot" Silva, Paul Kelly and Curt Warburton.
According to the report, Michael Bisping first signed with the gym in 2005, shortly before his successful stint on season three of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), which earned him a UFC contract after winning the tournament. He later split with the gym in 2012, alleging they were "violent people" to the court, and moved to the USA on a full-time basis to train and make a clean break from former management.
Giving evidence in court, McGann provided a document signed by Bisping that the fighter claims is not the contract he originally signed in 2005. "I accept that is my signature on that document," he told the judge, Richard Salter. "It appears on a contract that I didn't sign, but it is my signature. That's not the contract that I signed. It didn't have the name put on it and it wasn't this date. Anthony McGann, and the others, they are concocting lies to the invoices and fabricated the entire thing. That's been my stance from day one."
McGann's representative, Nigel Lawrence, said his client had been the figure who negotiated Mr Bisping's entry into The Ultimate Fighter, as well as the UFC discretionary bonuses paid to him in private. Bisping denied McGann's involvement in either activity, saying he participated in the open tryouts in London's Earl's Court for his season of TUF as normal, while the UFC's private bonuses were not negotiated. According to the Liverpool Echo, UFC President Dana White appeared in court via video link in Las Vegas, Nevada, to give evidence for Bisping, saying he only dealt with McGann while he was representing Jackson.
The now UFC middleweight champion claimed McGann and Wolfslair tried to negotiate a contract renewal in 2011 on similar terms to that in 2005, which he did not want to sign—citing breach of contract and violent threats as his reasoning. When questioned by McGann's lawyer as to why he hadn't raised his concerns in those negotiations, Bisping said: "There was no point in bringing it up. I thought I was moving on. The six years were up.
"They were violent people and there had been threats over the years and I was trying to make it a smooth transition. When they get sponsorship money and didn't give it to me. When they threatened to kill me, then that's a reason to move on. There were threats over the years and I would say that was a breach of contract."
Bisping later accused McGann and Wolfslair of similar behaviour in the past to fellow former teammates. "They have sued so many fighters which have left the gym and moved on," he told the judge. "This is what they do—they bully people through the court until they get a settlement. They were trying to swindle money out of me."
The trial continues.