MMA star Cat Zingano has sued Halle Berry, alleging that she passed up a key UFC fight in order to appear in Berry’s film about mixed martial arts — only to be dropped from both UFC and the film.
Berry’s film, “Bruised,” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year and is due out on Netflix in November. Berry makes her directorial debut and stars as an MMA fighter who is also a single mother.
In the suit, Zingano states that Berry asked her to appear in the film during a meeting in July 2019. The suit states that Berry noted the parallels between the script and Zingano’s own life story. A week later, Zingano got an offer for a UFC fight in October 2019, which would have put her in contention for a title fight.
But, according to the suit, Berry told Zingano that for insurance reasons, Zingano could not do both the fight and the film.
“Zingano was torn between the significantly valuable career-advancing opportunity to fight for title contention, and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be involved with Defendant Berry in a feature film about a character whose story so closely mirrored Zingano’s own life story,” the suit states.
Zingano informed UFC that she would not participate in the fight. UFC then released her in August 2019.
Two weeks after that, Berry allegedly told Zingano that she could not appear in the film, because only UFC fighters could participate. Berry then cut off communication with Zingano, who later signed with Bellator MMA.
Zingano states a claim of “promissory estoppel,” arguing that she relied on Berry’s promise to include her in the film when she turned down the UFC fight.
Berry’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment.