Rising super middleweight prospect Diego Pacheco has sued his management team, Split-T, on the grounds that his current contract with the company was formed on an illegitimate basis and is therefore invalid, BoxingScene.com has learned.
In an eight-page lawsuit filed on May 10 with the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, a copy of which was obtained by BoxingScene.com, Pacheco alleges that Split-T, among other improprieties, was never properly licensed as a manager within the state of California, Pacheco’s home state and where he turned professional with the company. Per California law, all major participants of a boxing card – from the fighters to the managers to the cutmen – must be licensed with the California State Athletic Commission, the body responsible for overseeing combat sports in the state.
Founded by David McWater in 2015, Split-T is incorporated in Delaware and operates in New York. Its most notable client is WBA/WBO/IBF lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez.
In addition, the 20-year-old Pacheco (12-0, 9 KOs) claims that he was still a minor – 17 – at the time that he entered into a boxer-manager agreement with Split-T, which was executed in his hometown of Los Angeles. The age of majority in California is 18.
Pacheco also alleges that Split-T was never registered to transact business within the state, which violates the California law that stipulates that a foreign company that wishes to do business in the state must register with the California Secretary of State, or else it forfeits all “corporate powers, rights, and privileges.” According to the suit, Pacheco fought three times in California under the guidance of Split-T.
“The above cited violations of law necessarily render the Agreement invalid and unenforceable, both by the express terms of the CSAC’s own regulations and by the recognized principle that a contract which violates the law cannot be enforced in an action founded upon the contact,” reads the suit.
Reached for comment, Split-T’s McWater denied the charges.
“We were always licensed [in California],” McWater told BoxingScene.com. “It’s certainly not the licensing [that’s the issue]. A) We were licensed there. Someone from the company is always licensed there. And B) it doesn’t affect anything. You can get licensed anywhere for $15. It takes about five minutes.
“This has to be a mistake for him career wise, I honestly don’t know. The irony is that he’s on the verge of getting what I do best, big television contracts. We’re about to be at a place where I’m about to make you a lot more money than I usually make for you.”
Reached for comment, Pacheco’s attorney, Brandon Smith, showed BoxingScene.com his email exchange with a program analyst at the CSAC verifying that Split-T had never taken up a manager’s license within California.
“Prior to filing the lawsuit on behalf of Mr. Pacheco, I contacted the California State Athletic Commission and they confirmed that Split-T Management (David McWater) was not a licensed manager in the State of California,” Smith said in an email to BoxingScene.com. “Licensing is the issue, because a boxer-manager contract entered into by an unlicensed manager is illegal and void.”
McWater suggested that former Split-T agent Tim VanNewhouse may have been partly responsible for prompting Pacheco to launch the suit. After six years with the company, VanNewhouse decided to strike out on his own earlier this spring. VanNewhouse was the agent responsible for bringing Pacheco into the Split-T managerial fold, in addition to a slew of other boxers.
“I can’t figure out if [Pacheco] doesn’t want to pay me or if he wants to go to Tim VanNewhouse,” McWater said. “When [VanNewhouse] left nobody else – the nine guys he brought in – had a problem with it.
When contacted by email, VanNewhouse dismissed McWater's claim.
“I have nothing to do with Diego’s lawsuit with Split-T,” VanNewhouse told BoxingScene.com. “I wish the kid the best in his career.”