LOS ANGELES (CNS) — An MMA star who sued Halle Berry, blaming the actress for her release by the UFC in 2019, actually lost her contract because of her poor recent fighting record, Berry's attorneys state in new court papers.
Cat Zingano, 39, sued Berry, Bruised Film Productions LLC, Thunder Road Film Productions Inc. and Romulus Entertainment LLC on Aug. 16 in Los Angeles Superior Court. Zingano maintains she missed a vital UFC fight in order to star in the movie "Bruised" at Berry's request in 2019.
"Berry told Zingano that Zingano inspired Berry and that Zingano had to be in the film," the suit states. "Berry concluded the meeting by telling Zingano not to make any plans because production of the film needed to start soon."
Zingano alleges that a week later she turned down an offer for a UFC fight to take place that same year so she could appear in the film, in which Berry makes her directorial debut.
After telling UFC she wouldn't be able to fight because of the movie, the organization released her in August 2019, the suit states. Later that same month, Berry allegedly retracted the offer to have the fighter star in her film, saying that only UFC fighters could take part, according to the suit.
But according to court papers filed Tuesday by Berry's attorneys, the UFC released Zingano because she had lost four of her last five fights. Zingano made the decision to appear in the film without knowing what role she would play or how much she would be paid, and she did so based on text message exchanges with the 55-year-old Berry, who won the best actress Oscar for her role in the 2001 film "Monster's Ball," according to the court papers.
"Although these events took place two years ago, Zingano filed this suit recently to cash in on the film's Netflix release on Nov. 24 ...," Berry's lawyers state in their court papers.
Zingano does not state what her damages are and improperly seeks punitive damages, according to Berry's attorneys' court papers.
Zingano is now signed with Bellator MMA.