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Khabib manager Ali Abdelaziz named as co-defendant in 'fighter poaching' lawsuit

Khabib manager Ali Abdelaziz named as co-defendant in 'fighter poaching' lawsuit
Management firm RusFighters LLC have named Khabib Nurmagomedov's manager in a lawsuit against Bellator MMA fighter Vitaly Minakov, claiming he broke their contract by negotiating a new deal for the Russian heavyweight.

Minakov, the undefeated former champion who makes his return to the Bellator cage this weekend against Cheick Kongo, is the principal defendant in the lawsuit brought on by the firm who once represented him. 

RusFighters LLC claim that the Russian breached a contract with them when he signed a deal with well-known MMA manager Ali Abdelaziz, who counts the likes of Khabib Nurmagomdeov among his clients. 

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They claim that Abdelaziz, who is named as a co-defendant in the suit, violated Minakov's previous contract with them when he negotiated a six-fight, $300k (€265k) deal with Bellator on the fighter's behalf. A copy of the lawsuit was obtained by MMA Junkie.

RusFighters LLC are seeking damages to "the maximum amount allowed by the law" for the actions of Abdelaziz and Minakov. The lawsuit adds that Abdelaziz was a "substantial factor in causing plaintiff’s harm."

"Abdelaziz intended to disrupt the performance of the Agreement or knew that disruption or performance was certain or substantially certain to occur," the lawsuit says.

RusFighters LLC represent several Russian fighters and claim to have signed a three-year deal with Minakov in February of 2016 which would make the organization his official agent. However, they claim that Minakov used Abdelaziz as his agent for his most recent Bellator deal, in contradiction to the terms of their own arrangement.

Minakov and Abdelaziz have yet to comment.