Now that super featherweight Rances Barthelemy (20-0, 12 KOs) has claimed the IBF championship belt from Argenis Mendez in a July 10 bout held in Miami and promoted by Mike Tyson’s Iron Mike Promotions, the stakes have been raised in a lawsuit filed weeks before by Barthelemy’s co-promoter, Bad Dog Productions, LLC, and the litigation is now sure to heat-up. The lawsuit, filed in Miami-Dade circuit court, asserts serious claims against the fighter, Barthelemy’s other promoter Warriors Boxing, and advisor Al Haymon.
The six count Complaint filed by attorney Jorge L. Fors, Jr. of Coral Gables, Florida, alleges that Barthelemy, Warriors Boxing, and Al Haymon essentially locked-out the Plaintiff, Bad Dog Productions, by prohibiting Bad Dog from promoting the fighter’s increasingly lucrative bouts beginning with Barthelemy’s IBF title elimination bout against Thailand’s Fahsai Sakkreerin in June of last year that ended with Barthelemy dropping his opponent in the second round.
“We want nothing but the best for this fighter,” said Richard Dobal of Bad Dog, “it’s a shame it had to come down to this but, after exploring every possible resolution to the problem, we were left no choice but to take legal action when it became apparent that everyone, including our partners, Warriors Boxing, were trying to shove us out of the picture once Barthelemy started living up to the championship potential we saw in him from the beginning… we simply could not allow Warriors who suddenly became empowered by Al Haymon to intimidate us into walking away from Barthelemy after all the hard work we put into getting the fighter to where he is today.”
The lawsuit points to Al Haymon as a possible catalyst for Bad Dog’s ouster, alleging that the media-shy Haymon inked a deal with the fighter around the same time period, whereby he purportedly became Barthelemy’s “adviser” though, as the lawsuit alleges, Haymon acts more like a “promoter”, which is a defined term under the Muhammad Ali Act, a federal law that prevents boxing “managers” from serving as “promoters” and vice-versa.
This is not the first case where Haymon, who has inked agreements to “advise” a stable of prominent fighters, has been named in a suit due to his mysterious relationship with professional boxers. Only a few months ago in April, Main Events, a New Jersey boxing promotion company filed a lawsuit against Haymon and others decrying Haymon’s dealings in this capacity.
Bad Dog’s attorney, Jorge L. Fors, Jr., commented, “I believe this case represents one of many to come that will call into question this newly created “adviser” role in boxing. It is a handcrafted relationship, designed to allow a self-labeled ‘adviser’ to pull strings, controlling a fighter and his promoters, while staying conveniently outside the mutually exclusive definitions of a ‘promoter’ and a ‘manager’ under federal law. Those rigid definitions exist for a reason.”