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« | Home | »

More on the Juanito Ibarra lawsuit against Tito Ortiz and MMA web sites

By Zach Arnold | June 6, 2009

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Read my initial post on the story here.

According to the lawsuit filing, here are the following people Ibarra sued: David Carpinello, Justin Bolduc, Punch Drunk Gamer, Yahoo Sports, Cage Potato, Serge Marches, Darragh Creamer, Fight Sports Magazin, Kris Karkoski (MMA Frenzy), Jim Bankoff, Tyler Bleszinski, Lauren Fisher, Bloody Elbow (SB Nation), Josh Kampschmidt, Robyn Lass, Ballhype, Pramit Mohapatra (Fight Ticker), Matt Boone (MMA News), Chris Howie, Sam Caplan (Five Ounces of Pain), and The Houston Chronicle. The boilerplate statement made in the lawsuit about the defendants is that the defendant “is, and at all times herein mentioned was, an individual, residing and/or transacting business in the State of California.” The filing also claims that Ibarra’s lawyers believe that some of the people they are suing used fake names (alter egos) and will be revealed whenever possible.

Here is the crux of the lawsuit filing claim:

At the time of Defendants’ publications of these false and defamatory statements, implications and meanings, Defendants knew of their falsity or were made with reckless disregard as to their truth or falsity and failed to use reasonable care to determine the truth or falsity of each statement set forth above.

The statements made above would be highly offensive to the reasonable person.

Plantiff is a private citizen and his reputation is not a matter of public concern.

Defendants’ false and defamatory campaign of self-promotion was published continously over the internet twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and continues unabated to this day.”

  1. How is Ibarra’s legal team going to be able to prove malice here?
  2. How is Ibarra a private citizen given his public profile and the multiple interviews he has done over the years?

    In the lawsuit filing (point 32 in the introduction), the filing itself shoots down the fact that Ibarra is a ‘private citizen.’

    32. During the last 28 years, Plaintiff has been engaged in the pugilist and the mixed martial arts industries. Plaintiff has trained and/or worked with more than fifteen world champions in such fields and both Olympic Gold medal winners and Amateur champions. In addition, Plaintiff is the founder of USA MMA, Inc., a non-profit organization that organizes amateur MMA shows nationwide, the co-founder of the National Trainer and Cutman Association, the founder of the World Class MMA and Boxing Inc. fitness club and has been the recipient of numerous awards in the industry.

    33. During the period from July, 2005 through July, 2008, Plaintiff was the trainer and manager of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (“Jackson”), a well known mixed martial artist and a prominent figure in the Ultimate Fighting Champion industry. During this period, Jackson obtained six straight wins, including a UFC championship. On his sixth win, Jackson became the first and only undisputed light heavyweight champion of the world.

    He’s a public figure and the standard of libel/defamation shoots up significantly in the legal system here in the States.

Most MMA web sites, if they operate like I do, probably would have given a chance for Ibarra to get his side of the story out if he wanted. His legal team is going to have to prove that the bloggers and web sites he has named in this case somehow refused to give his (Ibarra) side of the story. In this day and age, you can hire any sort of PR firm who will give out statements to all sorts of writers to refute charges made against you. To file this lawsuit at this time considering when Tito Ortiz’s remarks were initially made, I mean…

IF YOU ARE ON THIS LIST OF DEFENDANTS, I want to hear from you personally. Also, if you are a lawyer out there reading this on the West Coast (I’m looking at you, Todd) and would like to comment on this case in-depth, I’d like to hear from you as well.

After reading this laundry list of defendants in the Ibarra lawsuit, all I can say is that this is not the way I would have handled this situation.

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 20 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

20 Responses to “More on the Juanito Ibarra lawsuit against Tito Ortiz and MMA web sites”

  1. Grape Knee High says:

    Am I allowed to call Ibarra a “total douchenozzle” or would that invite a lawsuit? I am asking only hypothetically, of course.

  2. Fluyid says:

    Grape Knee High has just been added to the list. :(

  3. robthom says:

    Wow!

    He should sue fightlinker too, just to cover all his bases.

  4. Fightlinker says:

    He will never find my true alter ego. I am a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a website.

  5. [...] sites Tito’s claims were repeated in, it turns out that he’s suing EVERYONE at once. Here’s the list of defendants: According to the lawsuit filing, here are the following people Ibarra sued: David Carpinello, [...]

  6. Brandt says:

    I’m pretty sure that I have called him an idiot on multiple e-occasions. Oh noes, lawsuit!

    Juanito Ibarra went from an elitist parasite to pure garbage. There, now I’ll get sued.

  7. Aw, I’ve not been sued :(

  8. Fluyid says:

    Can I get sued for appearing on the same discussion thread as you guys slamming him?

  9. jr says:

    Did Ibarra technorati himself?

  10. v says:

    Juanito has more integrity than most.

    For those who just don’t understand….
    Only the websites and magazines that refused to tell his side of the story are being served with court papers. Most websites have removed the story and offered Juanito a chance to talk. Since Juanitos attorney served legal docs.

    The real story is that no one wanted to hear the truth. Just the lies and the black gossip.

    Rampage turned into a demon after the Forrest fight and turned on Juanito. Juanito did nothing to him. Nothing but be a friend. Juanito treated him like a son….and Rampage screwed him.

    After the Tito interview no one would discuss or consider hearing the truth. Therefore leaving everyone to believe that Juanito was a bad person and a theif.

    If you all had a chance to spend a few minutes with Juanito YOU ALL would know that this story told by Tito [really by Rampage] is a manufactured lie.

    The Truth will set you free…..even in court!

    If this happened to you…what would you do. Let the liars continue to lie?
    Or defend yourself? Hmmmmm….hard question.

  11. Rob Maysey says:

    I have reason to believe that is not true above. One of the websites did remove the link in question–which was posted with a neutral byline and no editorial content, and appears on the list of defendants anyway.

    I am not sure about the offering to tell the other side of the story, or if that request was even made of the website in question.

  12. robthom says:

    “…YOU ALL would know that this story told by Tito [really by Rampage] is a manufactured lie.”

    Theres somebody who still believes things that come out of tito’s mouth?!

    Wow.

    I have any idea what tito allegedly said because I dont listen to those things.

    All I know right now is that ibarra appears to be petty and litigious, which is no better than tito in my book.

  13. Banned In DC says:

    Would this be subject to an Anti-SLAPP motion?

  14. sooodbyjuanito says:

    As one of the parties sued by Juanito I can say that V is full of shit. We pulled the story down — a story that ran with no editorial comment whatsoever, just Tito’s quote and got sued anyway.
    Also note the timing, Juanito waited to file until Tito was a free agent. He’s trying to get paid by taking a slice of Tito’s new contract.

  15. Fluyid says:

    “Also note the timing, Juanito waited to file until Tito was a free agent. He’s trying to get paid by taking a slice of Tito’s new contract.”

    Explain what you mean, please. I’m dense and don’t understand your point.

  16. Dr. Montgomery says:

    In order to salvage Rampage’s career after the “delirium” talk, etc, someone had to be thrown under the bus. It wasn’t going to be Rampage — he makes people money because he is top tier talent in this game.

  17. sooodbyjuanito says:

    re: Fluyid

    Juanito timed his suit — which refers to events and statements of at least 8 months ago — to coincide exactly with Tito’s becoming a free agent. That’s shrewd timing since Tito’s been prevented from earning money by the UFC still having an option on him. Now he’s on the market and likely to cut a lucrative deal very soon. Great timing for a lawsuit.

  18. JudgeIto says:

    Couple of points:

    -Malice only require recklessness or an extreme disregard for a know risk (in this case the facts not being true).

    -All of those websites are being sued for their publishing of the libel. It seems weird, but those who publish libel are too liable.

    -I’m surprised the attny for Juanito didn’t plead in the alternative if Juanito was a public figure. Problem with public figures is that it opens the door to First Amendment concerns. This will likely be the Defendent’s arguments. Courts treat public figure news as broad. See: the tabloids at your supermarket.

    -I wonder if the fake names alluded touches upon the story you had up a week or two ago, Zach?

    -Regarding the facts, people may think of Juanito as being thin-skinned here, but this is the classic type of defamation case. Tito is going to have to prove the truth of his statements. If Juanito can win, it in effect clears his name (though not necessarily on the Underground).

    OK, back to studying for the bar…

  19. Mark says:

    Also, if you are a lawyer out there reading this on the West Coast (I’m looking at you, Todd) and would like to comment on this case in-depth, I’d like to hear from you as well.

    What happened to that lawyer on the West Coast that you used to do a certain podcast with? Or was Jeff his kayfabe name and Todd is who you are referring to?

  20. PDG says:

    Some background information:

    —–Original Message—–
    From: admin@punchdrunkgamer.com [mailto:admin@punchdrunkgamer.com]
    Sent: Monday, May 18, 2009 1:15 AM
    To: Samuel J. Smith
    Subject: Re: [Fwd: Defamation Claim; Demand For Retraction]

    Attention Mr. Samuel Smith,

    We have reviewed your request and we are standing by the story. In
    addition to having the interview with Tito Ortiz, we also conducted a
    reasonable investigation and confirmed there are several sources who
    provide similar sets of facts to support the statements made in the
    story.

    At this time PDG (PunchDrunkGamer) will not be offering a retraction of
    this story. Mr. Ibarra is more then welcome to offer his side of the
    events which, following reasonable investigation to confirm accuracy
    could appear on the front page of PDG.

    Thank You,

    PunchDrunkGamer Inc.

    To the Representatives of Punch Drunk Gamer: Unfortunately, your
    Company has refused to retract the defamatory “story” even though we
    have put you on notice that there is no basis to the story and it is
    defamatory. Can you please identify yourself and provide us your
    address and telephone number so that we may know who we are
    communicating with? Should you have any questions, please feel free to
    contact me. Sammy

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