Prograis files lawsuit against World Boxing Super Series

August 12, 2019

Regis Prograis has filed a lawsuit against the World Boxing Super Series seeking out of his contractual obligations due to alleged lack of funding for the event.  The lawsuit was filed on Friday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey.

Prograis, a native of New Orleans, won the WBA version of the 140-pound championship and advanced to the WBSS final against Josh Taylor to unify the super lightweight title this fall.

Prograis and his promoter Lou DiBella have requested a Declaratory Judgment which would allow him to fight elsewhere without repercussion from WBSS. According to the lawsuit, they claim inducement by WBSS “with the promise of career high paydays, including in excess of a million dollars, and the chance to fight some of the top competitors in Prograis’ weight class.  In reliance, they signed  a Tournament Agreement.  They note that they were not paid bonuses promised to them “within 5 days of the bout and receipt of an invoice.”  Despite submitting invoices, they did not pay on time.   They also saw delays of the fight amid rumors of financial problems and issues with late pay of purses and winners’ bonuses.

Even with confronting WBSS of their concern and setting up an Escrow Agreement to ensure payment, WBSS missed deadlines to deposit money in escrow.  The lawsuit identified the alleged payouts for each round of the WBSS.

Prograis was paid $500K for his quarterfinal fight but did not receive his winners’ bonus.  Another Lou Dibella promoted fighter, Ivan Baranchyk did not receive his winners’ bonus either.

The Escrow arrangement between DBE/Prograis and WBSS was as follows:

The lawsuit effectively stalls any fight that the WBSS may have scheduled with Prograis.

Arguably, Prograis is one of the up and coming fighters to watch in the division.  Looking to capitalize on his success, he’s looking for a guaranteed payday – something the lawsuit contends that the WBSS cannot do for him.  According to the lawsuit the WBSS missed several deadlines of an escrow agreement in which it was to

The scheduled fight for Prograis-Taylor was supposed to occur in early October.  Yet, Comasa, the Swiss-based owner of the WBSS never set the date with DAZN, the official streaming platform for the event.

According to The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger, the WBSS is trying to avoid litigation by attempting to schedule the fight.

Payout Perspective:

The lawsuit forces the hand of WBSS as there should be pressure from DAZN in making the fight. But, the issue of missed escrow payments should concern Prograis and DAZN. For Prograis, the cost of litigation outweighs the potential of not being paid for his next fight. While litigation is something that should be avoided at all costs, this seems to have worked in making WBSS make a move on ensuring compensation for Prograis. The fact that a resolution is being talked about so quickly may give rise to the fact that WBSS is hoping to avoid losing this fight and the fighter.