Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Middendorf Sports Files Second Amended Complaint vs.Top Rank and Bud Crawford
On September 1, 2017, attorneys for Middendorf Sports, the corporate entity for matchmaker/advisor/promoter Chris Middendorf, filed a second amended complaint ("SAC") in their ongoing breach of contract suit against Top Rank and undisputed Junior Welterweight Champion Terence "Bud" Crawford in United States District Court, District of Nebraska, Case No. 8:17-cv-00011.
(An earlier report on the SAC by ESPN made it seem as if Middendorf Sports had just recently filed this suit, when, in fact, the original complaint in this case was filed on January 10, 2017.)
Sometime in the mid-to-late aughts, Middendorf, along with Chet Koerner, formed a promotional company, TKO Boxing Promotions. According to the SAC, in December 2010, TKO signed Crawford to a promotional deal. By mid-2011, TKO had fallen on tough times and worked out an Agreement and Release ("A&R") to have Top Rank promote Crawford. In the fee provision paragraph of the A&R, Top Rank was to pay TKO a fee equal to 8% of Crawford's purses for any world championship title defenses promoted by Top Rank pursuant to the Promotional Rights Agreement between Top Rank and Crawford.
In July 2011, TKO assigned its rights under the A&R to Middendorf Sports. In September 2014, Top Rank and Crawford entered into a Restated Promotional Rights Agreement to promote Crawford for the next 3 years with options to extend for another 3 years.
The SAC alleges that Top Rank paid Middendorf Sports without fail pursuant to the A&R through July 23, 2016 - including title defenses by Crawford against Yuriorkis Gamboa on June 28, 2014, Ray Beltran on November 29, 2014, Dierry John on October 24, 2015 and Hank Lundy on February 27, 2016.
On July 23, 2016, Crawford, then the WBO champion, unified the titles against then WBC champ Viktor Postal. The SAC alleges Crawford was paid $1.3 million for the fight but Top Rank failed to pay Middendorf Sports its fee under the A&R. Similarly, the SAC alleges Top Rank has refused to pay Middendorf Sports for subsequent defenses by Crawford against: John Molina, for which he was paid $1.5 million; Felix Diaz, for which he was paid $1.6 million; and Julius Indongo, for which he was paid over $2 million.
The SAC alleges causes of action for: 1) Breach of Contract; 2) Breach of the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing; 3) Accounting; and 4) Declaratory Judgment.
The SAC does make clear in a footnote that Crawford is only named as a nominal defendant and Middendorf Sports does not allege that he did anything wrong or actionable.
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