By Zach Arnold | May 25, 2016
The Nevada State Athletic Commission officially suspended California promoter Roy Englebrecht for 18 months after he provided false & misleading information to the commission regarding information put on boxer Zab Judah’s fighter application form regarding child support he owed to the state of New York. Additionally, Englebrecht will be put on one year’s probation when he re-applies for a Nevada license, be obligated to pay attorney fees for his disciplinary hearing, and make restitution to fighters who lost money due to a Las Vegas show getting canceled by the Athletic Commission a few months ago.
The big question, unresolved, is whether or not California will recognize Nevada’s suspension. Unlike fighters, there is no reciprocity provision mandating state athletic commissions honor promoter suspensions. Given that Englebrecht’s base is California and the majority of his business is done in California, the Nevada suspension is more or less toothless if California decides to ignore Englebrecht’s suspension over acts of moral turpitude.
The war to settle the score
Rarely do you see “liar, liar, pants on fire” anger on display from an Executive Director towards a promoter but Nevada boss Bob Bennett and state AG Caroline Bateman held nothing back in Wednesday’s disciplinary hearing against Roy Englebrecht. They didn’t call him a liar but used as many words as possible to insinuate he was one.
- Zab Judah was scheduled to fight in Las Vegas
- On the fighter application form, it stated that he did not owe back child support
- New York authorities claimed Judah owed $274,000 in back child support but reached an agreement with him in February which would allow him to fight and his purse money to be forwarded to NY authorities
- When Bob Bennett found out about the back child support, he pulled Judah from the Vegas card promoted by Roy Englebrecht
- Englebrecht told Bennett that he had filled out Judah’s fighter application form
- Bennett immediately contacted Nevada’s commission chairman regarding the admission of perjury and forgery
What Wednesday’s disciplinary hearing revealed was an incredible tale of multiple parties involved in an event collapse built on numerous promises not honored.
According to Englebrecht, he paid the fighters booked on the canceled Vegas card 50% of their purses — $22,000. He also paid for MRIs — $3,300. He also paid back the production company — $6,000. His 8-fight event at The Downtown Las Vegas Events Center was cancelled, worth $60,000.
AG Caroline Bateman charged Englebrecht with perjury, forgery, and ID theft counts in violation of Nevada state law. Attorney and Nevada commissioner Pat Lundvall grilled Bateman over the evidence available, by a clear and convincing standard, to administratively prosecute Englebrecht over three felony counts. Lundvall challenged the standard of demonstrating intent plus an overt act within a specification of four different legal categories.
After Englebrecht’s punishment was voted on by the Athletic Commission, Lundvall stated that she was not comfortable pursuing the felony counts because the record of facts and fact-finding is not currently fully developed but that as facts come out, other authorities (read: criminal) may further pursue action if warranted.
The prosecution side revealed that different Social Security Numbers were allegedly used by Judah on different fighter applications for both 2015 and 2016. Englebrecht claimed that Judah gave him the information over the phone to fill out his 2016 fighter application. There was a claim that Englebrecht had copied information from a prior Judah fighter application to fill out for the 2016 application but it was pointed out that the usage of different SSNs would lend more credence to Englebrecht’s claims of doing paperwork on behalf of Judah without copying prior fighter applications.
The difference in SSNs used in 2015 and 2016 applications along with “a huge discrepancy” in the variation of Judah’s signature on both forms is what raised the red flags to Bob Bennett.
Englebrecht’s defense opens up a can of worms
Two months ago, Englebrecht appeared in front of the Nevada State Athletic Commission during a hearing to extend his temporary Nevada suspension until a formal disciplinary hearing was held. At that March meeting, Englebrecht — under oath — admitted that he had made a mistake. I used the term that he fell on his sword.
It turns out that Englebrecht’s attorney, former Nevada Gaming Commissioner Joe Brown, was reading what we wrote carefully because he cited our remarks in front of the Athletic Commission on Wednesday. Brown made the citation to note that Roy had created his own problem in presenting a robust defense due to self-incrimination. Brown did what any good attorney would do in this situation and focused directly on intent in response to the perjury, forgery, and ID theft charges.
Brown said that Englebrecht did not intend to deceive the commission. He said his client filled out a fighter application on behalf of Judah by obtaining information from Judah over the phone in a three-minute call. Judah supposedly told Englebrecht that he did not owe child support. There was a belief that the letter from New York authorities regarding a settlement to pay future fight purses to cover child support owed was a letter that would clear Judah from further legal problems and that the state of New York did not want Judah suspended from fighting. They wanted the money and for Englebrecht to direct the purse money to go to New York authorities. Englebrecht stated on Wednesday that he had received a copy of the New York letter in February and had forwarded it to the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Brown said that his client has paid a huge price and “he’s already punished himself.” Roy made “one very dumb mistake” and was humbly before the commission to ask for mercy.
Bob Bennett pulverized Englebrecht and Brown over this remark by pointing out the fact that Englebrecht has continued to run events in California after being suspended in Nevada.
Follow the money
Where the wheels fell off in Wednesday’s hearing was over how much Zab Judah was going to get paid, who was paying him, and where that money was headed.
Englebrecht told the Athletic Commission that Judah was going to fight in Vegas for $5,000 instead of $15,000 and that his manager made a request for Englebrecht to pay the Zab Judah Foundation $20,000. This raised a big problem for Bob Bennett, who pointed out that the opponent for Judah on the Vegas card was going to be paid more than Judah himself — $15,000 — and that the co-main eventers were going to get $10,000 each.
Nevada State Athletic Commission chairman Anthony Marnell remarked that in the two years he’s been on the board, he’s never seen an instance where the A-side fighter was paid less than the B-side fighter. Englebrecht claimed that in order to find a challenger for a world champion like Judah, you have to overpay and that this practice often happens on club shows and that he is a club promoter.
Questions: Did Roy Englebrecht make the side-arrangement to pay Zab Judah money to his Foundation before or after finding out about the New York letter on how much money Judah owed in child support? Would paying money to the Zab Judah Foundation be a way to avoid money being paid for back child support owed?
Englebrecht told the Athletic Commission that as soon as Bob Bennett contacted the Nevada commission chairman about discipline, he (Englebrecht) contacted Andy Foster immediately to tell him what was going on so that Andy wouldn’t read about his impending troubles first in the press.
Bennett accused Englebrecht multiple times of misleading both him and the Athletic Commission. He disputed Roy’s claim that Judah was hard to reach and that he had to work directly with the manager. Bennett said Judah hasn’t fought in two years, has been a fighter for nearly 20 years, and fully understands how the licensing process works and should theoretically be very easy to get a hold of because he (Bennett) managed to contact Judah himself. Englebrecht’s defense to the perjury charge is that he was under a time crunch to get paperwork filled out and processed before the event. Bennett was arguing that the fighter’s medicals were the higher priority.
Bennett also roasted Englebrecht’s claims about an 8-fight card at the DLVEC, stating that the athletic commission had not approved 8 fights for the card.
Then a stink bomb dropped.
In discussing how Roy Englebrecht became a promoter for Zab Judah, Englebrecht disclosed that New York-based promoter Greg Cohen had given Judah a $20,000 signing bonus in 2015 and that Judah was living off of that money. This raised the ire of Pat Lundvall, who asked why this money wasn’t disclosed to the Nevada commission given the money Judah owed the state of New York for child support. Why was this undisclosed?
Anthony Marnell proceeded to go full blast about a conversation he had with ownership of the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center. Marnell stated that a ton of economic promises & deals were made for future televised fights and that none of this was ever disclosed to the Athletic Commission. Marnell also noted a ton of mismatches. He was furious about misrepresentations being made by various parties and insinuated that Mr. Englebrecht was doing the work on behalf of others who were pulling the strings behind the scenes.
The punishment phase
When it came time to debate punishment, attorney Pat Lundvall said that she could not administratively punish Roy Englebrecht for perjury, forgery, and ID theft. Instead, she stated that Englebrecht should be punished for providing the Athletic Commission with false and misleading information.
In essence, she was making her own statement about Attorney General Caroline Bateman overcharging Englebrecht without having enough evidence to match a clear and convincing standard of proof.
Lundvall wanted a two year suspension. Marnell suggested a one year suspension. A compromise was made for an 18-month suspension, which will last until October of 2017. When Englebrecht re-applies for licensure, he will be put on a one-year probationary period where the commission will “put a lot of optics” on how Englebrecht does business in the state.
The question is whether or not Englebrecht bothers to return to Nevada and whether California even bothers to acknowledge Nevada’s suspension given how much money Englebrecht produces for the California State Athletic Commission.