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Judge brutally & viciously eviscerates Golden Boy’s antitrust lawsuit against Al Haymon

By Zach Arnold | January 26, 2017

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Not even a week after Golden Boy signed a two year contract with ESPN, Oscar De La Hoya’s world is on the rocks. He got cited for DUI, no-showed a HBO presser to promote a Fantasy Springs event, and got his antitrust lawsuit against Al Haymon terminated in Federal court.

In one of the most direct & blunt Motion for Summary Judgment rulings I can ever recall reading, Los Angeles Federal Judge John F. Walter essentially agreed with every point raised by Al Haymon’s legal team as to why the Golden Boy anti-trust lawsuit should be terminated. So much so, in fact, that one came away with a clear impression that even if Golden Boy had produced the evidence they had promised the court, it wouldn’t have mattered because the evidence didn’t meet the legal standards to prove the merits of their causes of action.

My charitable interpretation of what the judge told Golden Boy:

This Motion for Summary Judgment ruling was a complete and total public repudiation of Golden Boy attorney Ricardo Cestero.

Barriers to entry

Golden Boy argued that Al Haymon using PBC to sign exclusive deals with TV networks created a barrier to entry. Team Haymon argued that PBC TV deals created no barrier because Golden Boy & Top Rank could still do business in the regular channels that carry boxing. Judge Walter stated that Golden Boy failed to properly define the boxing market or show that Al Haymon created barriers for Golden Boy for doing business in the boxing marketplace.

It should be noted that ESPN claimed they started negotiating with Golden Boy after Al Haymon reached a settlement with Bob Arum in his Federal court to eliminate the PBC exclusivity clauses in television contracts.

Haymon boxers and coercion

Golden Boy argued that Al Haymon’s stable of boxers were pushed into deals that benefitted him and tied up fighters from working with other promoters like Golden Boy. The judge ruled against this argument, stating Golden Boy provided no declarations or depositions from any boxers on this matter and that Haymon’s fighters made more money as a result of working with him because fights he signed with other promoters were lucrative.

Judge Walter turned the tables against Golden Boy and used their own words against them:

In fact, the evidence suggests that it is Golden Boy, not Defendants, that has refused to deal with the Haymon Entities during the pendency of this lawsuit. Indeed, in May 2015, Robert Diaz (Golden Boy’s matchmaker) received a suggestion from the manager of then Golden Boy-promoted heavyweight, Luis Ortiz, to try to place Mr. Ortiz in a bout that is featured within a PBC show. Mr. Diaz responded, “Are you serious? You do know we have sued Haymon right?”.

Venue blocking

Golden Boy argued that Al Haymon allegedly (with intent) booked arenas that they were wanting to use for shows and then canceled those arena bookings after he supposedly achieved his desired result of keeping GB out of the arenas they wanted to run.

Judge Walter argued that there are plenty of arenas in Southern California available for booking and that their argument of Haymon locking up only one venue doesn’t satisfy the argument they brought to the court.

In other words, even if Haymon was guilty of locking up venues it simply wasn’t possible for him to lock up *every* venue and that Golden Boy had plenty of opportunities to conduct business as usual.

Predatory pricing

Golden Boy argued that PBC, as a monopoly, would sign all the top fighters in boxing and push promoters to the side in order to dominate market share and take over the boxing market to control salaries and prices for consumers.

Judge Walter sided with Al Haymon. PBC aired on free television, lost a lot of money, and that there’s no evidence a jury would discover showing that Haymon could ever recover his financial losses to complete the circle of predatory pricing.

Ali Act violations

Golden Boy argued that Al Haymon blatantly violated the Ali Act by acting as both a manager (Haymon Sports) and as a promoter (PBC). Haymon argued that Golden Boy had no standing to raise the issue of the Ali Act because the Ali Act is meant for usage by government agencies or by boxers who have suffered financial damages, not promoters.

The judge sided with Haymon on the issue of standing, stating that the Ali Act was not intended to compensate promoters for lost profits.

“In this case, after conducting substantial discovery, Plaintiffs have been unable to present any evidence of harm to competition. Instead, Plaintiffs have merely presented evidence of harm to themselves.”

State vs. Federal causes of action

Judge Walter dismissed the Federal causes of action raised by Golden Boy against Al Haymon. He dismissed their state causes of action (Unfair Competition Law) without prejudice, meaning Golden Boy could conceivably file suit against Al Haymon in state court if they wanted to.

Bottom line

Oscar De La Hoya’s lawsuit against Al Haymon had the big names and pizzazz to grab everyone’s attention. In reality, it was unlikely the lawsuit would destroy Al Haymon in the first place. And the final result is that the discovery process revealed or confirmed pretty much what you thought about both sides heading into the case. Al Haymon legally admitted that he is a manager and our records requests with the various state athletic commissions proved that he was applying for licensure in Nevada. If a fighter is going to argue that Haymon is both acting as a manager and as a promoter, at least there’s documentary evidence of him legally admitting to being a manager. Find the documentary evidence of Haymon admitting or applying to be a promoter and maybe you could pursue some sort of action against him.

Although Defendants deny that Haymon Sports acts as a promoter, Haymon Sports has indicated that, at some point in the future, it may decide to become a promoter. Although the Court recognizes that there is a genuine dispute as to whether Defendants act as promoters, this dispute does not preclude the Court from granting summary judgment as to Plaintiffs’ federal claims for relief.

The Golden Boy suit was not the lawsuit that was going to destroy Al Haymon. The lawsuit that has had a direct impact on Al Haymon is the Kansas shareholder derivative lawsuit against the hedge fund that backed Al Haymon’s PBC venture. It was filed in April of 2016 and took a few months to make a real impact before everything changed on the PBC front regarding the amount of shows booked. Going after Haymon’s cash was always the most effective legal (python) strategy. Nothing has changed on that front.

Topics: Boxing, Media, Zach Arnold | 12 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

12 Responses to “Judge brutally & viciously eviscerates Golden Boy’s antitrust lawsuit against Al Haymon”

  1. Joe Bricks says:

    That shareholder lawsuit is nonsense as well… if you think it has legs, you aren’t very bright.

  2. Jonathan Store says:

    You continue to insinuate that the shareholder suit is going to “choke” haymon’s cash. Read the documents, the business is ALREADY FUNDED. There is no choking they already have the money. That bs shareholder suit won’t last a minute, there is no suitability issues and now no anti trust issues and it doesn’t affect haymon anyway only the fund’s board.

  3. Joe Bricks says:

    Exactly Jonathan.

    Anybody who thinks that the bogus shareholder suit has any merit or legs is a moron.

  4. Jonathan Store says:

    Totally agree. Big axe to grind in the analysis here. Between the court docs and waddell’s public filings its very easy to understand how the money flowed from waddell to haymon and the interest charges on the money they invested. As for the bs shareholder suit, good luck proving one investment of $550 mln on a $45 billion fund is the reason the fund has bad performance. The suitability threshold is enormous otherwise shareholders would sue mutual funds every day. If one only reads the funds prospectus it clearly lays out the fund can make private investments and has made them in the past (it owned forumula 1 and made a ton of money). Anyway Zach has an axe to grind and the analysis is bogus. At least Paul Gift tries to be balanced.

  5. Joe Bricks says:

    The shareholders sure made out well on the F1 deal… their suit is likely fueled by some boxing morons.

  6. Jonathan Store says:

    No doubt….no doubt… the GB docs are really revealing about the industry and media collusion and not a stretch to think the boxing morons found the class action morons. The amount of mistakes in the class action motion were frightening (down to spelling) and the boxing lemmings wrote them verbatim.

  7. Zach Arnold says:

    Glad to see someone from Team Haymon (or big supporters of him) commenting in such a flurry. Hi!

    Hate to break it to you, but I’m no friend of any promoter in the business. The same accusations you’re leveling against me is what the supporters of PRIDE did a decade ago when I covered their scandals.

    Easy to claim the Kansas lawsuit has no merit… just as easy to claim that it’s had an impact.

    • Joe Bricks says:

      No “Team Haymon” over here… just a guy who thinks like a man and not an emotional lady.

      Man logic says there is no case.

      Female logic speculates on nonsense.

      Pretty sinple.

  8. Jonathan Store says:

    Team Haymon? Ha. I can read the question is can you. If you read the docs in the GB case with the witness statments from employees, the business is fully funded. If you read Waddell’s public statements, business is funded. So your conclusion is they are going to choke off funding? I can also read a fund prospectus. The reason you can’t sue a mutual fund every time it loses money for bad investments is the suitability threshold is extremely high and as I pointed out, the brief (where you claim to be some sort of expert) was riddled with mistakes that you can match up in the GB documents, public statements as well as public statments by the PBC employees in the SBJ article. So if you are really doing your work, as opposed to just throwing out blind conclusions that the shareholder suit is going to choke off funding, you should be accurate. Again, whether PBC succeeds or fails depends on many other things than the “shareholder bomb” lawsuit you continue to claim. Just be accurate.

    • Jonathan Store says:

      You also claim that April suit had something to do with PBC boxing schedule, wouldn’t the right conclusion be the cash burn (again easy to follow on Waddell’s statements) has more to do with pace of shows? So how does one explain the re-acceleration in the pace of shows? The correlation of lawsuit to shows is only that, correlation its not causation that is a leap you made. There are many accurate critiques of PBC, bad fights, too many channels, etc but the guessing of strategy and cash burn you can’t possibly know and neither can I. I can however read a bogus class action lawsuit (they happen everyday) and a shareholder class action for suitability is one of the hardest to win.

    • Joe Bricks says:

      Stop owning the simple writer Jonathan!

      You’re killing me over here LOL

  9. Chris says:

    Good read Zach.

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