Mahmoud Charr continues to press forward with his multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Don King.
In fact, he’s gone out of his way to name co-conspirators in his latest filing.
A Motion to Amend Complaint filed by Charr and his legal team has named the World Boxing Association as a whole and its president Gilberto Mendoza Jr. as parties to an existing seven-count civil lawsuit initially filed last August. The amendment was filed on Monday with the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida in Fort Lauderdale, alleging that Mendoza and the WBA have assisted Don King Productions and Epic Sports—Charr’s co-promoter through a partnership with DKP—in his claims of breach of contract, tortious interference, and civil conspiracy.
The role played by the WBA and Mendoza—as it is alleged by Charr and his attorneys—is a quid pro quo with King ensuring that Charr would be removed from an ordered title fight with Trevor Bryan and his secondary WBA heavyweight title reign.
“The WBA is one of four ratings associations in professional boxing. It is generally considered a corrupt organization,” alleges Charr’s attorneys Jared Lopez and Patrick English in a 91-page complaint, a copy of which was obtained by BoxingScene.com. “This is in large part due to the WBA’s practice of accepting payments and/or gifts from promoters and “fixers” in exchange for fraudulently improving the rankings of fighters. This pay-to-play scheme enables less talented or unqualified fighters to participate in more profitable bouts (including, in some cases, title bouts), which in turn increases the profits collected by their promoters and/or “fixers” who engage in these illicit back-door dealings with WBA officials.
“These illicit deals are executed in many forms: In some cases, promoters and “fixers” make payments (or provide things of value) directly to WBA officials. In other instances, promoters and “fixers” will disguise such economic incentives as “donations” or “gifts” to third-parties, which in turn launder these incentives to WBA officials. Although Mendoza purports to take no salary or emoluments as president of the WBA, this is false: Mendoza is among the WBA officials who have and continue to receive economic incentives through illicit back-door deals with promoters and “fixers” participating in this scheme—this includes King and DKP.”
Charr seeks 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)
“Upon information and belief, King and DKP have engaged in these deals with Mendoza since at least 2015 by making payments and/or providing gifts to Mendoza through at least one third-party: Sports Consulting Services, LLC (“SCS”),” alleges the complaint. “Mendoza’s son and at least one other WBA employee are believed to have been employed by and/or maintained an ownership interest in SCS since August 2018. In other words, it is believed that all payments and/or gifts provided to SCS by King and DKP from August 2018 to the present have been passed along to Mendoza and other WBA officials in exchange for Mendoza and the WBA fraudulently improving the ranking of King’s and DKP’s fighters during this period.
“Additionally, King and DKP have participated in this ongoing pay-to-play scheme by providing economic incentives directly to Mendoza under false pretenses: For example, in one instance, King and DKP disguised payments (or other economic incentives) to Mendoza as “wedding gifts” that were given by King and DKP to Mendoza in or about February of 2020 in exchange for Mendoza and the WBA continuing to improve the rankings of King’s and DKP’s fighter, Bryan. Furthermore, King and DKP have executed these illicit back-door deals by allowing the WBA to retain money “deposited” by King and DKP for scheduled bouts, which should otherwise have been returned by the WBA to King and DKP under league rules. Additionally, other “fixers” have also admittedly supplied female companionship to WBA officials to “sweeten” these deals.”
The breach of contract counts involving the promotional and purse bid agreements along with tortious interference and civil conspiracy were filed in the original complaint. The civil conspiracy claim was amended to include the WBA and Mendoza, along with new charges on the Muhammad Ali Act and RICO Act Violations and WBA Rules and Decrees breach of contract.
On the claim of Civil Conspiracy, Charr’s legal team alleges to have learned that “King, DKP, Mendoza, and WBA officials entered an agreement to illegally exert undue influence over the WBA for the malicious purpose of causing the WBA to strip Charr of his WBA Regular Heavyweight Champion title without cause and in violation of WBA rules.
“At all times material hereto, King, DKP, Mendoza, and WBA officials worked in concert to perpetrate the illegal and overt act of exerting undue influence on the WBA for the malicious purpose of persuading the WBA to strip Charr of his Heavyweight Championship title without cause and in violation of WBA rules. In major part, this was because Charr declined to give future promotion rights to King and DKP, something which he was not obligated to do under 15 U.S.C. § 6307b(b).”
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. The two were due to fight last January 30 in Hollywood, Florida and again in a rescheduled bout for this past January 30 in Warren, Ohio.
Both attempts fell through, with Charr having been 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, 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 30 fight with Bryan which Charr was denied due to a failure to secure a travel visa, prompting the WBA to declare the title vacant and which was made available for Bryan’s bout with late replacement Bermane Stiverne.
According to the complaint—and with ten submissions of contracts and email chains as proof—there was plenty of blame to share for that development.
"After winning the $2 million purse bid for the rescheduled Charr/Bryan Bout and realizing the bid was excessive, King and DKP intentionally and unjustifiably interfered with Charr’s business relationship with the WBA to prevent the fight from going forward, first, by refusing to sign the standard WBA Bout Contract as was required for the fight to occur," suggested Charr's legal team, with submitted documents to support such claims. "Additionally, DKP and King intentionally and unjustifiably interfered with Charr’s business relationship with the WBA by coercing Charr into signing the noncompliant DKP Bout Contract, which violated WBA rules and contained terms prohibited by the Muhammad Ali Act, 15 U.S.C. § 6307b(b).
"DKP and King further intentionally and unjustifiably interfered with Charr’s business relationship with the WBA by refusing to submit the executed DKP Bout Contract to the WBA and withholding a copy of the contract from Charr, despite his requests, to prevent Charr from obtaining his P-1 Visa and traveling to the United States to participate in the Charr/Bryan Bout."
Charr's legal continued to argue that "DKP and King intentionally and unjustifiably interfered with Charr’s business relationship with the WBA by exerting undue influence over the WBA after Charr was prevented from defending his title by causing the WBA to improperly strip Charr of his title as the reigning Regular Heavyweight Champion. As a result of King and DKP’s unlawful interference, the WBA cancelled the rescheduled Charr/Bryan Bout causing Charr to sustain damages including, but not limited to, $1.5 million in lost income that King and DKP were obligated to pay Charr for his purse in that title fight."
Bryan went on to win the fight by eleventh-round stoppage, upgrading from WBA interim titlist to its secondary titleholder. He was due to face Charr earlier this 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.
Charr initially won the belt in a twelve-round, unanimous decision win over Alexander Ustinov in November 2017. Just two fights have followed—a second-round knockout over unbeaten Christopher Lovejoy last May in Cologne, Germany, and a third-round knockout of Nikola Milacic this past May 28 in Hamburg. Both bouts came after he 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.”
As was the case from the initial filing, Charr demands a jury trial for all seven counts.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox