Main Events sues promoter, Schaefer and Stevenson

June 30, 2014

MMA Payout has obtained a copy of the lawsuit filed by promoters Main Events as it is suing the promoter for Adonis Stevenson for bowing out of an intended fight with Sergey Kovalev.  The lawsuit centers around the involvement of boxing insider Al Haymon.  It was filed last month with little occurring in the lawsuit so far.

The lawsuit was filed last month and has not seen much movement in the initial filing at this point.  The plaintiff is New Jersey Sports Productions, Inc. which does business as Main Events.  The promotion is owned by Kathy Duva.  As MMA fans may recall, Duva filed a Declaration in Support of Bellator in the Eddie Alvarez lawsuit.

The defendants include Yvon Michel, his promotion, GYM; Golden Boy Promotions; Showtime Network, Inc. and boxer Adonis Stevenson.

To set the stage, Main Events’ Kathy Duva claims that it had an agreement for her fighter, Sergey Kovalev to face Yvon Michel’s promoted fighter Adonis Stevenson.  The deal was allegedly sealed with emails in late January 2014 between Duva and Michel.  The deal included a co-promoted fight on HBO which carried a $2.4 million rights fee.  The fee was offered by HBO executive Peter Nelson which Main Events contends was accepted by Michel on behalf of his fighter.

However, Main Events learned that Al Haymon became involved and Main Events’ attorney sent a letter to Haymon confirming the Stevenson-Kovalev.  Presumably, the letter was to prevent an anticipated breach on the part of Stevenson.

The Complaint paints Haymon as an individual with “a relationship with Showtime wherein certain promoters rely…for allocation of television dates and rights fees rather than negotiating those dates and fees directly with Showtime.”  It also alleges that Haymon has an alliance with Richard Schaefer (then CEO of Golden Boy) and they had planned to “wrest control” of Golden Boy.  As we know now, Schaefer and others have left Golden Boy and it’s not clear whether Schaefer and Haymon are entering into a venture together.  The Complaint alleges that Haymon violates the Muhammad Ali Act as he acts as a manager or advisor to boxers despite not following the rules related to the Ali Act.

Main Events claims that Showtime interfered with the negotiations between HBO and the Kovalev/Stevenson fight despite Haymon pushing for a Stevenson-Bernard Hopkins fight with Showtime.

The legal claims:

Breach of Contract

Main Events claims that Stevenson’s management group, GYM, breached its contract to co-promote a bout between Stevenson and Kovalev.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Main Events claims that GYM breached a fiduciary duty premised upon the co-promoted agreement as the two sides were to have split revenue on the proposed fight. It goes on to claim that since the co-promotion is considered a joint venture, GYM breached a fiduciary duty to Main Events for not going through with the co-promotion.

Fraud by Stevenson’s Promoter

Main Events has sued Stevenson’s Promoter, Yvon Michel, personally for fraud as it is alleged that he represented to Main Events that it “had nothing to worry about” regarding the agreed Stevenson-Kovalev fight and Haymon’s involvement was a mere way to “increase the rights fees for the unrelated interim bout.”  The interim bout that is being referred to was a fight in Montreal between Stevenson and Andrzej Fonfara.  Stevenson fought Fonfara in late May on Showtime.  In that fight, Stevenson hit the canvas once, but eventually won a decision over Fonfara.

Tortious Interference with Contract

Main Events claims that Haymon, Golden Boy, Stevenson and Showtime based upon the set of events, claims it had a deal for Stevenson-Kovalev, but the defendants interfered with that contract.

Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage

Premised upon the alleged agreement for a fight between Stevenson-Kovalev, Main Events contends that Haymon, Golden Boy, Stevenson and Showtime interfered with an existing contract for the fight and that there was “a reasonable expectation that plaintiff [Main Events] would have economically benefitted from the business relationship.”  Essentially, Main Events claims that it would have benefited (and it would have) from the fight between their fighter and Stevenson.  But there was interference which caused Stevenson to back out of the agreement.

Payout Perspective:

This is another example of the competitive nature between HBO-Showtime and Top Rank-Golden Boy.  Actually, here its Main Events.  Since the lawsuit was filed, Schaefer has left Golden Boy and the move may impact this lawsuit as it relates to the accusations between the companies.  The latest has a Summons issued to Schaefer in Laguna Beach, California.  A  pretrial conference that was to occur last week has been pushed to July 11th.

As for the legal maneuvering, it’s likely that Haymon, et al. will file a motion to dismiss the Complaint premised upon the argument that there was no binding contract between Main Events and GYM, and as such, there was no breach.  Premised upon the fact that there was no breach, there would be no fraud by Michael or interference with a contract.

The lawsuit underscores the power of Al Haymon in the boxing industry.  It’s clear that he has a powerful stable of fighters and has had working relationships with Showtime.  As many know, Haymon advises Floyd Mayweather.  Main Events alleges that Haymon acts as manager to his boxer which circumvents the Muhammad Ali Act which attempts to protect fighters.  The Complaint does not delve into this violation as it is not a plead cause of action at this point.  However, if discovery commences in this lawsuit, we may see allegations of specific violations.

It will be an interesting lawsuit to follow and MMA Payout will keep tabs on it.

5 Responses to “Main Events sues promoter, Schaefer and Stevenson”

  1. tops E on June 30th, 2014 9:03 PM

    Mma should also be under the ali act or make similar law

  2. ThisIsTheTruth on July 1st, 2014 3:04 AM

    Perception is the key…

    You see, Duva’s trying to make Kovalev believe he will eventually fight Stevenson one day, which is actually on the competitor network, which doesn’t need the WBO belt at all to become “Undesputed Champion”.
    So Kathy Duva filled out this lawsuit, for a breach of contract, on a contract which was never sign by no one.
    *(Where that case is going ?)
    Anyway, All the major Belts are under Showtime, and Kathy goes on choosing non-treatening Southpaw boxers for Kovalev, to crystalize the idea in Koves mind that with her lawsuit she finds a way to setup a specific path for him, which will supposely lead him to a clash against Adonis Stevenson. (((money)))
    But until then, she keeps him busy, warming up with non-treatening (Blake Caparello) southpaws, not even touching the third of the purse Adonis Stevenson did against Fonfara.

    The real question is, why did she sue Showtime & Al Haymon, they have no business with this non sign contract.
    How many of Kathy Duva boxers are under Showtime ?
    How many of Kathy Duva boxers sign with Al Haymon ?
    *The answer is NONE…

    1) Because Showtime don’t want to do business with Mrs. Duva at all.
    *WHY?: (liar, plotter)…

    2) Because Kathy Duva conflict demonstration is ultimately blocking all her boxers to do any business with Al Haymon.
    *WHY?: (GREED, Haymon would highlight the boxers purses, which would also highlight the fraudulent actions of Mama Duva)…

    It’s clear, she wants to keeps her pocket happy & the boxers hungry. Her avid & narrow way to see profits make her think to much in percentage and not enough in gross income, cheap mentality.

    But the problem with this manipulative person is that she is becoming more transparent. Eventually her angry boxers like Curtis Hater Stevens and Kovalev will see through her games, and they’ll do what they have to do to make the money they deserve to make.
    They know Kathy Duva sweet tongue makes them miss great financial opportunities, which is the reason why Kathy Duva quickly locked Kovalev under an HBO contract (((AFTER))) Adonis Stevenson signed with Showtime, making sure Kove will have no alternative to leave her promotion to make the money he deserves to make; Stevenson or else…

    Adonis Stevenson is a great fighter, so Sergey Kovalev.
    But Stevenson is making much more money than Kovalev. (HOW COME?)
    Is it Stevenson fault, if Kovalev promoter cannot generate half of the revenues Al Haymon would guarantee him to do, with any other opponent.

    *Is it (Stevenson/Michel/Shaeffer/Showtime/Haymon) fault or Mrs. Duvas fault?

  3. Diego on July 2nd, 2014 5:22 AM

    Tops, I though MMA was under the same law. Isn’t any sport overseen by a boxing commission under it? I’m not sure how it works, but I think the law applies to MMA.

  4. James on July 2nd, 2014 9:19 AM

    Nope… No Ali act

  5. Jason Cruz on July 6th, 2014 10:43 PM

    @Diego – James is correct. Ali Act does not apply. Its actually a federal law. Realistically, in its present form, Ali Act doesn’t help that much either in my opinion.

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