Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Legal Roundup: Salita Files Letter Requesting Enforcement Of Settlement Agreement Against Big Baby Miller

Earlier this week, counsel for Salita Promotions Corp. (SPC) filed a letter with the Court requesting a pre-motion conference in advance of a potential motion by SPC for an Order to enforce non-disparagement provisions of the Settlement Agreement entered into between SPC and Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller (Miller).

This case was originally brought by SPC (under the corporate name Star of David, Inc.) in December 2016 alleging breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing against Miller for allegedly refusing to participate in fights and meetings with top network executives.

SPC also brought claims for tortious interference with contract and tortious interference with advantageous business relationship against Stephen Nelson, Miller's co-manager; Alvina Alston and More Media, Miller's publicist; and Leon Margules and Warriors Boxing Promotions, Miller's lawyer and a rival promoter.  The tortious interference claims alleged Alston put out press releases with false accusations against SPC, that Nelson advised Miller to breach the contract by non-performance and that Margules was not just acting as a lawyer but was trying to sign Miller to his promotional company Warriors Boxing.

The parties entered into a confidential Settlement Agreement in June 2017.  The Settlement Agreement was amended in February 2019.

Counsel for SPC (former NYSAC Commissioner David Berlin) alleges in the letter to the court this week that Miller has treated the New Promotional Agreement that was entered into at settlement with "blatant disregard and disrespect - repeatedly disparaging SPC and its principal Dmitriy Salita in interviews and on social media in violation of the Non-Disparagement Clause, meeting and negotiating with promoters other than SPC in violation of the agreement's exclusivity provisions, and flaunting the sport's anti-doping rules by using prohibited drugs in violation of the clear terms of the agreement, there squandering his opportunity to fight for the World Heavyweight Championship . . . "

SPC seeks "millions of dollars" in damages from Miller for the money lost due to the doping violations and also permanent and temporary injunctions to stop Miller from disparaging Salita and SPC and keep Miller from meeting or negotiating with promoters other than SPC.

See original complaint below:
See letter to Court below:

Monday, June 17, 2019

Legal Roundup: 2nd Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Breach Of Contract Claims In Wilder v. World of Boxing/Povetkin Doping Case

Last week, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein's April 2018 decision in the Wilder/DiBella Entertainment (Wilder) vs. World of Boxing/Povetkin (WOB) case that dismissed both sides breach of contract claims and allowed Deontay Wilder's escrowed purse for a proposed fight with Alexander Povetkin to be returned to Povetkin's promoter WOB, in spite of a jury verdict that found Povetkin had ingested a banned substance in the time period it was banned by WADA.

This was a complicated case that was previously summarized on this blog. In essence, Judge Gorenstein's lower court ruling came down to the parties agreement to allow the WBC to draft the controlling bout agreement.  In the bout agreement, it stated that the WBC Rules governed the event, "in its entirety and shall be binding on all parties . . ."  In the event of a dispute, the parties were bound by the WBC's rules and regs.  The WBC's rules on PEDs leave any determination as to penalties solely in the discretion of the WBC on a case-by-case basis and explicitly state that they "do not adhere to a 'strict liability' standard in anti-doping matters."

Thus, because of the discretion given to the WBC in the bout agreement, Judge Gorenstein found that the parties were bound by the WBC's ultimate determination that it could not be conclusively proved that Povetkin ingested a banned substance.  The fact that the WBC ignored a jury verdict to the contrary was not enough to save Wilder's breach of contract claims.

The 2nd Circuit affirmed quoting the lower court's decision that to accept Wilder's arguments now "'would require this Court to determine that Povetkin breached the contract by failing to abide by 'WBC anti-doping requirements' when the parties specifically agreed that the WBC's decision on this question would be conclusive."

Similarly, the 2nd Circuit affirmed the dismissal of WOB's claims based on the lower court's determination that any damages suffered by WOB flowed from Povetkin's positive test and the WBC's determination to postpone and investigate and ultimately never reschedule the fight and not any alleged anticipatory repudiation by Wilder.

The 2nd Circuit also affirmed the award of Wilder's escrowed purse back to WOB as that was the instruction of the escrow agreement if the fight did not take place.  They similarly affirmed the lower courts dismissal of WOB's breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing claim for liquidated damages ruling that Wilder "did not act objectively unreasonably in objecting to the disbursement of the funds."

I've previously stated my takeaways from this case in my article from April 2018.  Suffice it to say that future parties drafting bout agreements for major title fights need to be extremely aware of the anti-doping provisions of the sanctioning body whose belt they are contesting.  The WBC has very open-ended rules that subject the parties to the whims of the WBC.  With the 2nd Circuit citing precedent that courts should "defer[] to a [private sports organization's] interpretation of its own rules in the absence of an allegation that [the organization] acted in bad faith or in violation of any local, state or federal laws" - parties need to be very aware of the rules they are up against.

See Opinion below:
 

Boxing Podcast With Todd duBoef

My guest on this podcast is Todd duBoef, the President of one of the leading promoters in boxing Top Rank, Inc.  We spoke about his company's television deal with ESPN and how it came about.  We also talked about his vision for the future and what shoulder-programming will go on the network.

We also spoke about his star heavyweight Tyson Fury and how he fits into the heavyweight picture as well as the great fights coming up on the schedule and collision course that Vasyl Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez are on.

It was a great conversation - enjoy!

This podcast is presented by The Ring.  I'm honored to be working with The Ring and my good friend, Doug Fischer, the Editor-in-Chief.  You can find the podcast on the website at Ringtv.com.

This podcast is distributed by the Leave It In The Ring podcast network.  The LIITR network also includes great podcasts by founder David Duenez, Gabriel Montoya and Evan Rutkowski.

You can still find this podcast and older Boxing Esq. podcasts on this blog and on Soundcloud or subscribe to the Boxing Esq. Podcast on either iTunes, Spotify or Stitcher.  If you enjoy the podcasts, please leave a comment or rating, that would be greatly appreciated.  The podcast will appear on both the LIITR network of podcasts as well as under the Boxing Esq. Podcast name.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Boxing Podcast With Cliff Rold

My guest on this podcast is Cliff Rold, a top boxing writer and managing editor for BoxingScene.com.  Cliff is also a founding member of the media-run independent ratings organization the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board (TBRB).  We spoke about his journey in the sport from watching fights with his grandparents to writing for RIngTalk, CyberBoxingZone and Boxing Scene.

We also talked about his break from The Ring Ratings Panel to form the TBRB, the art of rating fighters and the goals and impact of the TBRB.  We further got into the state of the game, the Heavyweights and what should be the next weight classes for the World Boxing Super Series.

It was a really interesting discussion.  Enjoy!

This podcast is presented by The Ring.  I'm honored to be working with The Ring and my good friend, Doug Fischer, the Editor-in-Chief.  You can find the podcast on the website at Ringtv.com.

This podcast is distributed by the Leave It In The Ring podcast network.  The LIITR network also includes great podcasts by founder David Duenez, Gabriel Montoya and Evan Rutkowski.

You can still find this podcast and older Boxing Esq. podcasts on this blog and on Soundcloud or subscribe to the Boxing Esq. Podcast on either iTunes, Spotify or Stitcher.  If you enjoy the podcasts, please leave a comment or rating, that would be greatly appreciated.  The podcast will appear on both the LIITR network of podcasts as well as under the Boxing Esq. Podcast name.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Boxing Podcast With John Nash

My guest on this podcast is John Nash, a top MMA writer for Bloody Elbow.  John writes primarily about MMA and boxing and also does an excellent podcast called Show Money which covers the business side of MMA.

We spoke about the rumors of Endeavor purchasing Waddell Reed's interest in Haymon Sports and the PBC.  We also discussed Endeavor's possible interest in Top Rank and what an Endeavor boxing promotional entity would look like.

We further got into a few MMA topics including how the UFC's deal with ESPN is going and if Bellator is benefitting from its DAZN deal.

It was an excellent discussion - enjoy!

This podcast is presented by The Ring.  I'm honored to be working with The Ring and my good friend, Doug Fischer, the Editor-in-Chief.  You can find the podcast on the website at Ringtv.com.

This podcast is distributed by the Leave It In The Ring podcast network.  The LIITR network also includes great podcasts by founder David Duenez, Gabriel Montoya and Evan Rutkowski.

You can still find this podcast and older Boxing Esq. podcasts on this blog and on Soundcloud or subscribe to the Boxing Esq. Podcast on either iTunes, Spotify or Stitcher.  If you enjoy the podcasts, please leave a comment or rating, that would be greatly appreciated.  The podcast will appear on both the LIITR network of podcasts as well as under the Boxing Esq. Podcast name.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

DiBella Entertainment and Headbangers Win Dismissal from Prichard Colon Lawsuit

Today in D.C. Superior Court, Judge John Campbell filed an Opinion granting both defendant promoters DiBella Entertainment (DBE) and Headbangers, Inc. motions to dismiss the negligence claims brought against them in a lawsuit by injured boxer Prichard Colon.

The suit arose from the brain injuries Colon suffered in a boxing match against Terrel Williams in Fairfax, VA on October 17, 2015.   The Complaint alleged that Williams hit Colon with rabbit punches (illegal punches to the back of the head) throughout the fight until Colon fell from a rabbit punch in the seventh round.  The ringside doctor, Dr. Richard Ashby, examined Colon and allowed the fight to continue.  Colon was subsequently knocked down twice in the ninth round and lost on a disqualification.  Colon collapsed after the fight and has been bedridden and in a "vegetative" state since that night.

The Complaint, filed in May 2017, alleged that promoters DBE and Headbangers "owed Prichard a duty of care to hire, appoint, choose, recruit and approve personnel who enforce, instruct, advise and abide by applicable standards of care," and "to ensure that the specific ringside physician was properly trained . . . and skilled to perform the neurological examinations necessary to determine if one of the fighters had suffered a traumatic brain injury."  Plaintiffs also alleged that the promoters failed to "make sure that guidelines, procedures, and protocols were in place to properly prevent and assess bleeding in the brain of one of the boxers..."

Both DBE and Headbangers argued in their motions to dismiss that the bout was conducted under the auspices of the state of Virginia's Boxing Regulations.  They further argued that plaintiff Colon could not establish that the promoters had a duty of care to "hire . . . and approve personnel" and "ensure that the . . . ringside physician was properly trained" because the Regulations bestow those duties on the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.

Judge Campbell agreed with DBE and Headbangers arguments stating, the "Regulations are clear that event promoters, such as DBE and Headbangers, are not responsible for ringside protocols or the hiring of a ringside physician.  Both of these duties are entirely the responsibility of the Department.  DBE and Headbangers thus cannot be held liable for breach of a duty they did not possess." 

The Judge further ruled that all claims against DBE and Headbangers were dismissed with prejudice.

See Complaint below:
See DBE Motion to Dismiss:
See Headbangers Motion to Dismiss:
See Opinion of the Court:

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Boxing Podcast With Bob Yalen

My guest on this podcast is Connecticut Boxing Hall of Famer, six-time sports Emmy award-winner and new President of MTK Global Management, Bob Yalen.  We spoke about the future of MTK's top fighters Tyson Fury, Carl Frampton and Billy Joe Saunders.  We also spoke about MTK's broadcast deals with ESPN and IFL TV. 

We then got into Bob's rich experience in the sport as a researcher for Flash Gordon, The Ring Record Book and Fight Fax.  We also talked about his time as head of boxing programming at ABC and ESPN networks and as the Chairman of the WBC Ratings Committee.  We closed with a discussion of the state of televised boxing today.

It was a really informative conversation.  Enjoy!

This podcast is presented by The Ring.  I'm honored to be working with The Ring and my good friend, Doug Fischer, the Editor-in-Chief.  You can find the podcast on the website at Ringtv.com.

This podcast is distributed by the Leave It In The Ring podcast network.  The LIITR network also includes great podcasts by founder David Duenez, Gabriel Montoya and Evan Rutkowski.

You can still find this podcast and older Boxing Esq. podcasts on this blog and on Soundcloud or subscribe to the Boxing Esq. Podcast on either iTunes, Spotify or Stitcher.  If you enjoy the podcasts, please leave a comment or rating, that would be greatly appreciated.  The podcast will appear on both the LIITR network of podcasts as well as under the Boxing Esq. Podcast name.

Legal Roundup: Salita Files Letter Requesting Enforcement Of Settlement Agreement Against Big Baby Miller

Earlier this week, counsel for Salita Promotions Corp. (SPC) filed a letter with the Court requesting a pre-motion conference in advance of ...