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Bellator denies falsified medical report accusations, sues Zach Light for theft

Bellator has fired back at former employee Zach Light’s allegations that company executives were aware of falsified fighter medical reports.

Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Potentially explosive allegations were leveled against Bellator in May when a former employee accused company executives, CEO Scott Coker and matchmaker Rich Chou, of allowing falsified fighter medical reports. The former employee, Zach Light, is presently suing Bellator MMA and its parent company Viacom in Los Angeles Superior Court for wrongful termination.

On Tuesday, Bellator filed an Answer denying Light's allegations and a Cross-Complaint accusing him of theft and conversion. "Bellator and Viacom deny each and every allegation of the Complaint and further deny that Light is entitled to any relief whatsoever," wrote Bellator in its Answer.

In the Cross-Complaint, Bellator claims Light had difficulty managing his family budget and was experiencing "financial distress." The company allegedly agreed to loan Light $9,403 and claims to have formalized a written agreement on Dec. 18, 2014 for the $6,974.57 balance in which Light was to repay the debt in installments of $240.50 every pay period.

According to Bellator, Light's job duties as Talent Development Director included collecting and remitting money from the sale of consignment and VIP tickets for events. While Light would normally remit all of the money he collected within hours after each event, the company claims something else happened following Bellator 136 on Apr. 10, 2015.

"Although Mr. Light remitted to Bellator at least some of the money he collected from the sale of tickets in the days leading up to the event, he failed to remit thousands of dollars he collected. Mr. Light failed to turn in a total of $4,600 in VIP ticket money he collected for Bellator 136.

"On the following Monday, April 13, 2016, Mr. Light failed to report for work and informed Bellator that he could not return for medical reasons."

"Bellator personnel attempted to contact Mr. Light about the missing ticket money but received no response.

"A few days later, on or around April 17, 2015, [Bellator CFO] Mr. O'Roark sent Mr. Light a text message stating: ‘Zach just checking in to see if you got my email about my picking up the ticket money we didn't connect on at the event last Friday.' Mr. Light responded: ‘I thought I gave that to Jane [Manager of Talent Relations at Bellator]. If I have it it's in my safe at home. If she says I didn't give it to her that means I probably have it. I'm on disability. I don't have access to anything right now. It will have to be next week.'

"Later, when confronted about the missing ticket money again, Mr. Light claimed that he did not have it, and, contrary to his prior text message to Mr. O'Roark, he said that he turned it in after Bellator 136 ended on April 10, 2015.

"Despite multiple inquiries to Mr. Light about the missing ticket money and requests that he return it immediately, he has never done so."

Bellator claims Light remained on medical leave for almost a year, "well beyond the maximum job-protected leave available to him under federal and/or state law." Both sides seem to agree that Light wished to return to work in March 2016 and Bellator informed him that his job was no longer available.

Bellator is suing Light for conversion and theft for allegedly failing to remit $4,600 in VIP ticket money and for breach of contract for allegedly failing to satisfy the terms of his loan, which Bellator claims has an outstanding balance of $5,050.50. The alleged loan agreement is included in the Cross-Complaint.

Gift - Bellator - 3 - Light Lawsuit - Bellator Cross-Complaint (Loan Agrmt)

One of Light's original allegations against Bellator involved a man named Adam Rendon. According to Light's complaint, "Prior to the Bellator 131 event, [Light] told Coker that fighters had been suspended for using Rendon to sign their medicals because Rendon was not a licensed physician. Coker told [Light], ‘a lot of people at Bellator are going to lose their jobs next week. Do you want to keep yours?' Coker added, ‘then stay in your lane and stop making waves!' Fearful of losing his job, [Light] said nothing further regarding the falsified medical reports."

While Light and Bellator's claims remain accusations at the moment, Bloody Elbow has learned that the California State Athletic Commission stopped accepting fighter medical submissions from Adam Rendon in 2014 and sent his file to its investigation division where the case is still ongoing. When reached for comment, CSAC Executive Director Andy Foster told Bloody Elbow that he cannot discuss ongoing investigations.

Bloody Elbow will keep readers up-to-date as the case progresses.

Paul is Bloody Elbow's business and analytics writer. Follow him @MMAanalytics.

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