Top Rank Lawsuit Alleges that Waddell & Reed and Al Haymon Conspired To Monopolize Fight Business

Lawsuit: Investment giant bankrolling Haymon to "rig the boxing industry''

Jul 01, 2015, 12:00 ET from Top Rank, Inc.

LOS ANGELES, July 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Top Rank, Inc., the nation's premier boxing promotion company, today filed a federal antitrust lawsuit seeking more than $100 million in damages and an injunction to stop the predatory practices of concert promoter-turned-boxing manager Al Haymon and the investment firm Waddell & Reed.

"Al Haymon and Waddell & Reed are engaged in a sophisticated scheme to gain control of the boxing industry,'' said Daniel Petrocelli, lead attorney for Top Rank and one of the nation's top trial lawyers.  "As the lawsuit explains in detail, they are violating federal law, defying state regulators and absorbing significant short-term losses to drive legitimate operators out of the business."

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court of Los Angeles by global law firm O'Melveny & Myers, details an expansive illegal scheme allegedly being perpetrated by Haymon and Waddell & Reed including:

  • Simultaneously managing boxers and promoting fights in violation of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act passed by Congress in 2000 to protect fighters;
  • Forbidding boxers under contract to Haymon from being promoted by Top Rank and other promoters;
  • Paying boxers not to spar with fighters promoted by Top Rank;
  • Refusing to permit boxers to fight others not controlled by Haymon;
  • Blocking Top Rank and other promoters from television opportunities;
  • Preventing Top Rank and other promoters from access to major venues.

According to the complaint, Kansas City-based investment group Waddell & Reed has committed more than $400 million to these efforts and works closely with Haymon in executing the illegal plan.

Top Rank is seeking more scrutiny from regulators.                                      

Just this week, the company controlled by Haymon and Waddell & Reed was publicly criticized for illegally sabotaging competitors' efforts to secure venues in California.  The lawsuit notes that in April 2015 the Association of Boxing Commissions asked U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to initiate a DOJ investigation into the predatory practices of Haymon and Waddell & Reed.  The President of the World Boxing Organization, Francisco "Paco'' Valcárcel, applauded the request.

"For decades, the boxing business earned a poor reputation because of some unsavory characters,'' Petrocelli said. "Congress stepped in and enacted laws to clean up the industry.  Top Rank is trying to ensure that Al Haymon and Waddell play by the same rules as everyone else.''


SOURCE Top Rank, Inc.