Standing 8 Court Legal Briefs: March 2013

Adrien’s Latest Groaners: March 18, 2013 may not go down as one of WBC Lightweight Champion Adrien (The Problem) Broner’s best days. The day started with the well-publicized divorce of HBO and Golden Boy Promotions, Broner’s promoter. Broner seemed well on his way to being the latest in an accomplished and elite string of HBO mainstays following explosive wins over Vicente Escobedo, Antonio DeMarco, and Gavin Rees in his last three bouts. But if Golden Boy is no longer with HBO, neither is their signee Broner. While Broner will likely be able to pick up where he left off on Showtime, it may ultimately not prove to be as easy to bounce back from his arrest in Miami Beach, which also made headlines on March 18, 2013. While details were sparse at the time this column was written, Broner was apparently charged with battery after biting a security guard, a charge that could theoretically pose a major “Problem” to his continued rise through boxing’s ranks.

Fury Becomes #LoserbyTweetKO: Before 8 Count News revamped its website, Standing 8 Court posted an article about the potential legal implications of professional boxers (and other athletes) speaking out of turn in social media. Count undefeated heavyweight contender Tyson Fury among those who apparently did not read the October 9, 2011 article before it went off-line. It was reported this week that Fury, preparing for his April 27, 2013 U.S. debut against Steve Cunningham, was fined 3,000 pounds by the British Board of Boxing Control after making homophobic and otherwise offensive remarks on his Twitter account about domestic rival David Price and British light-heavyweight Tony Bellew. Tyson, if you are reading this, please feel free to e-mail me at the address below for a copy of the “@LosersbyTweetKO.” Standing 8 Court could have saved you some money this week.  

…and Speaking of British Heavyweights Talking Out of Turn: It was reported in mid-February that former WBO Heavyweight Champion Herbie (Mr.) Hide, best known in the United States for being dribbled off the mat in a KO loss to Riddick Bowe in 1995, was under investigation in Britain for supplying drugs in his native Norfolk. Hide came under investigation after reporters for widely read British tabloid The Sun filmed Hide claiming that he could fix fights and reported that he offered to put them in touch with a drug dealer. Like Fury, Hide would be best served keeping certain things to himself around either social media or people in the media.

Can Diaz Get Nicked Over Tax Claims?: Following his loss to Georges St-Pierre in UFC 158 last weekend, Nick Diaz was widely quoted as stating that “I’ve never paid taxes in my life. I’m probably going to go jail.” Why anyone would publicly make such statement (perhaps he wasn’t thinking straight after the lopsided loss) is anyone’s guess. But here’s what is certain; whatever money has not been paid to the IRS to date should probably be paid by Diaz to a worthy criminal defense attorney, a tax attorney, and/or an accountant. He should also decline to make any further comments about his tax history going forward. Otherwise, his acknowledgment that he may have to trade the Octagon for a correctional facility one day may very well become a reality.

Will Sexual Reassignment Lead to License Revocation for Fox?: It was widely reported this past month that Championship Fighting Alliance women’s feather contender Fallon Fox was having her MMA license reviewed by Florida officials following her revelation to Sports Illustrated that she is a transgender female. In the event that Florida revokes her license, it will be interesting to see what kind of claims she may be able to assert in any legal action that would inevitably follow. In many states, including New York, a license to compete in combat sports is considered a privilege, not a right. As a result, a given jurisdiction may only need a rational basis to reject or revoke the license of a given competitor. But would there be a rational basis here? Functionally, Fox is a woman and has been since her 2006 sexual reassignment surgery. Standing 8 Court will continue to keep an eye on this apparent matter of first impression for a U.S. athletic commission.

Chavez, Jr. Smoked Over Marijuana Test: In early March, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., who nearly smoked Sergio Martinez in the epic 12th round of their September 15, 2012 middleweight title bout, got himself smoked by the Nevada State Athletic Commission following a positive marijuana test, his second positive drug test in Nevada in less than four years. Chavez was fined $900,000, or 30% of his three million dollar purse for the Martinez fight by the Nevada in a ruling that should send a clear message to boxing’s recreational drug users to sober up when it counts. Why marijuana, by its nature a depressant that tends to slow someone’s reaction time, would be treated the same as a performance enhancing drug, such as Furosemide, the substance Chavez tested positive for the last time around, is a debate for another day.

Capes Fails Audition for “Splash”: “Splash,” the latest reality television program to showcase a random combination of celebrities participating in something outside of their usual comfort zone, in this instance high diving, debuted this week on ABC. While it is unlikely that cruiserweight journeyman Nicholas (Turbo T) Capes was ever in the running to join such accomplished talent as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Louie Anderson on the show, he is lucky his own dive will likely not be subjected to the critique of any judges. Capes, 0-4 (all losses by stoppage), was suspended by the North Dakota State Athletic Commission in mid-February after being accused of taking dive 13 seconds into his bout against former NFL defense end Ray Edwards. If it were to ever be revealed that the dive was the result of anything more than fear or utter incompetence, i.e. the result of influence from gamblers, Capes could theoretically face criminal charges. More likely, however, is that he will quietly return to the ring at some point to continue getting aced by more boxers looking to build their records against soft opposition.

Paul Stuart Haberman, Esq. is a New York and New Jersey-based health and sports law attorney. He is also a New York State licensed boxing manager and the Chairman of the Sports Law Committee of the New York County Lawyers Association. Paul can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and followed on Twitter at @Standing8Court. ©

How Boxers Can Get Goosed When They Duck

A Look at the Potential Contractual Implications of Refusing Bouts

One professional boxer accusing another of ducking him in order to drum up interest in a potential bout is almost as old as the sport itself. While some may argue that certain ducking accusations in recent times were legitimate, like those lodged both against and by Floyd (Money) Mayweather, Jr. during the ultimately unsuccessful multi-year effort to make a super-fight with Manny Pacquiao, while others are seemingly improbable, such as “Fast” Fres Oquendo’s recent claims of being ducked by Wladimir Klitschko, most such claims constitute little more than empty banter with little risk of adverse fallout. However, when the claim of ducking a specific opponent or a certain level of opposition is made behind the scenes by a boxer’s manager or promoter, the potential fallout can be significant. A quick look at a few potential scenarios that may arise when such claims are made follows.

Minimization of the Bout Minimum            

It is commonplace for promoters and managers to commit themselves to securing a minimum number of contests for a boxer during a given contract year. Also commonplace is the reservation by a promoter or manager of the right to count a bout rejected by the boxer against the total number of bouts the boxer was guaranteed for a given contract year. Many times, a boxer will have a “reasonable” right to turn down a particular bout or opponent without having it counted against the total number of bouts he is guaranteed for a year, for example if it is not scheduled far enough in advance. But if a boxer turns down a reasonable, bona fide offer for a bout for no legitimate reason, he may find himself wondering at year’s end why he was guaranteed five fights for the year, but only actually participated in two. Indeed, it is the stuff management and promotional contract disputes are made of. A boxer needs to think twice, however, about seeking to get out of an agreement after a year in which he was given less than his guaranteed minimum number of bout if his manager or promoter can readily turn around and document a series of rejections.

A Spot on the Shelf

Relatedly, if a boxer is routinely turning down offers to fight, and those offers count against the total amount of bouts guaranteed for the year, he may find himself on the shelf rather than in the ring for a given contract year. Indeed, professional boxing has no shortage of fighters looking for a pay day if one boxer or another turns down a bout for no legitimate reason. This does not mean that a boxer should take fights that are not in his best interest or are otherwise not being offered at the right time. Such offers are an everyday occurrence in boxing. It just means that he needs to be ready to explain to his manager or promoter why he does not think a particular bout is right. The prospect of being shelved can, in part, be staved off in the negotiation stage with a manager or promoter, where the projected career path can be discussed and demands can be adjusted to reflect the intentions of all parties involved.  

                Undesired Free Agency

                Whether by an express clause or an implied contractual provision of good faith, a boxer could find his management or promotional agreement terminated if his rejection of bouts ultimately makes him a liability, a detriment to business interests, otherwise unworthy of any further effort because of his bad faith of them. While a boxer may intentionally try to do things to make certain managers or promoters release him because of other issues, a boxer should not covet a reputation for being a pain in the hind-parts. A perceived victory over a manager or promoter one day that was achieved by being a hard case with them when it came to accepting bouts can turn into a very real defeat if they cannot obtain a worthy replacement for either once their reputation for difficulty makes its rounds.

                In the final analysis, whether or not a boxer accepts or rejects a certain bout should ideally be based upon well-reasoned and honest decision about whether the boxer thinks he is ready and the situation is appropriate when a given bout is offered. It is a decision he ultimately may have to live with for a few while until the next opportunity arises. If he and/or his management or unable to articulate a good reason for the rejection of a bout, perhaps the boxer has to ask himself what he really wants to have such a physically taxing sport as a source of income.

Paul Stuart Haberman, Esq. is a New York and New Jersey-based health and sports law attorney. He is also a New York State licensed boxing manager and the Chairman of the Sports Law Committee of the New York County Lawyers Association. Paul can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and followed on Twitter at @Standing8Court. ©

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