Mahmoud Charr was dealt a blow in his ongoing lawsuit against Don King and other parties.
A Motion to Dismiss filed by the World Boxing Association was ruled in the sanctioning body’s favor. The matter was finalized in a Broward County court Wednesday afternoon, thus removing the WBA from four separate counts in which the organization was previously named by Charr as an alleged co-conspirator.
An amended complaint filed by Charr last July named both the WBA and Gilberto Jesus Mendoza, WBA president, personally as parties to four of the seven counts originally filed by the boxer against Don King Productions and Epic Sports. An ongoing lawsuit originally filed by Charr in August 2021 sought judgments in excess of $12,500,000 from the seven counts filed:
- Violation of the Muhammad Ali Act (Charr vs. King, DKP, Epic, WBA and Mendoza);
- Violation of the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act (Charr vs. King, DKP, Epic, WBA and Mendoza);
- Breach of Contract—Promoter Agreement (Charr vs. DKP and Epic);
- Breach of Contract—Purse Bid Agreement (Charr vs. DKP);
- Tortious Interference with Business Relationship (Charr vs. DKP and King);
- Breach of Contract—WBA Rules and Decrees (Charr vs. WBA);
- Civil Conspiracy (Charr vs. King, DKP, WBA and Mendoza)
The WBA argued that Charr did not successfully exhaust all avenues to remedy the problem.
“Defendant WBA argues in its Motion to Dismiss that Plaintiff Charr had an obligation to pursue administrative remedies in a timely fashion before bringing this suit,” U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas stated in his official ruling, according to court records obtained by BoxingScene.com. “Chapter F of the WBA Rules sets forth a multi-tiered administrative procedure for challenging a rating decision.
“After receiving the answer of the [WBA] in response to the request [for reconsideration], the boxer making the requests or on whose behalf the request was made may then file an appeal of the decision. The appeal “may not be considered unless all applicable administrative procedures have been met and all administrative reviews have been exhausted.”
The heart of the lawsuit stems from Charr’s claim that King prevented the Germany-based heavyweight from proceeding with an ordered title consolidation bout with Trevor Bryan, who was the interim titlist at the time of their first attempted title consolidation bout. The two were due to fight on January 30, 2021 in Hollywood, Florida and again in a rescheduled bout for last January 30 in Warren, Ohio.
Both attempts fell through, with Charr stripped of his secondary version of the WBA heavyweight title as a result of the fallout. Charr was due to make $1,500,000 for the fight in 2021, per the terms of a purse bid won by Don King Productions and which he now seeks to recover “in addition to any other relief the court seems proper.”
Charr never defended his version of the heavyweight title due to a number of circumstances, the extent of which was the result of two years’ worth of delays surrounding his ordered fight with Bryan who held an interim title at the time. The most extreme incident took place in the weeks and days leading to his canceled January 2021 fight with Bryan. Charr was denied due to a failure to secure a travel visa, prompting the WBA to declare the title vacant and demote the Syrian heavyweight to ‘Champion in Recess.’
The vacant belt was made available for Bryan’s bout with late replacement Bermane Stiverne. Bryan went on to win the January 2021 fight by eleventh-round stoppage, upgrading his WBA interim title to the ‘Regular’ belt. He was due to face Charr earlier last year, only for history to repeat itself and Charr ultimately removed from the mix.
Bryan instead faced unbeaten Jonathan Guidry, whom he outpointed in a strangely scored split decision this past January before losing the title to England’s Daniel Dubois via fourth-round knockout on June 11 in Miami.
By that point, Charr already filed his multimillion-dollar lawsuit against DKP and Epic Sports.
Charr (34-4, 20KOs) initially won the belt in a twelve-round, unanimous decision win over Alexander Ustinov in November 2017. Just three fights have followed—a second-round knockout over unbeaten Christopher Lovejoy last May in Cologne, Germany; a third-round knockout of Nikola Milacic this past May 28 in Hamburg; and a second-round knockout of Nuri Seferi last December 21, also in Hamburg.
All three bouts came after Char was downgraded to WBA Champion In Recess and then removed from the equation altogether, which he and his team believed to have directly affected his brand and earning potential.
“As a result of the illegal and overt acts committed by King, DKP, Mendoza, and WBA officials in furtherance of this conspiracy, Charr sustained damages including, but not limited to, the loss of his title as the rightful WBA Heavyweight Champion,” Charr’s legal team—Jared Lopez and Patrick English—argued in a 91-page amended complaint adding the WBA and Mendoza to its original filing.
Based on its policy requiring exhaustion of all means required to appeal a decision, the WBA successfully argued that the four counts in which the organization was named as co-conspirators were not applicable.
“Defendant WBA contends that Charr’s claims against WBA must be dismissed for failure to state a claim under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) because he has made no effort to comply with the contractually required remedies contained in the WBA Rules,” noted judge Dimitrouleas. “The Court agrees. The Amended Complaint fails to adequately allege that this condition precedent to suit has been satisfied, which is fatal to these claims. Charr’s response of futility is unavailing. This argument is impermissibly raised in the response brief, as it was not pled in the Amended Complaint.
“Moreover, “[t]he futility exception, however, requires more than that the grievance procedures be unpromising. [Charr] must ordinarily at least have attempted to use the administrative remedies as set forth in the WBA Rules and have been denied meaningful relief. Accordingly, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff’s claims against Defendant WBA. The Court need not address the remainder of Defendant WBA’s arguments asserted in support of dismissal.”
While the WBA is no longer on the hook, Mendoza is still named as a party along with DKP and Epic. Boxing Scene has learned that Mendoza will similarly seek a dismissal, though the long-reigning WBA president was unavailable for comment due to legal reasons.
DKP and Epic previously filed a Motion to Dismiss, which resulted in the dismissal of two counts in the originally supplied complaint. Charr’s team was granted a Motion to Amend Complaint, at which time the filing last summer included the WBA as a whole and Mendoza personally as co-conspirators to sabotage his title reign and impact his earning potential.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox