Don King Def. Shine Fights, MMA Fans, and Common Sense Via KO

Elton HobsonCorrespondent IMay 15, 2010

At 1:20 PM, Broward country circuit court judge Marc C. Gold handed down the “judge's” decision in the Don King/Shone Fights legal battle. The result: Don King via thundering Unanimous Decision. Or rather, via sneaky, dishonest, and downright dirty (and utterly successful) legal manoeuvring.

In case you haven’t heard, Don King Productions filled for an injunction against Shine Fights, alleging that their boxing contract with Mayorga gave them exclusive control over what fights of any kind the boxer took. Never mind the fact that Mayorga has been tied up in court with King for years trying to get out of his boxing contract, or that it is generally acknowledged that King is using said contract to freeze Mayorga out of boxing.

So the judge agrees, a court order is issued, and the entire event collapses as a result. Fighters training for weeks see it all go for naught. Money spent on camp and training full time is not recouped. Even worse, there is no payoff, no release after weeks of hard preparation. There is just frustration.

I interviewed Travis Galbraith a few days ago, and he legitimately had not heard of this injunction before I mentioned it to him. The frustration was plain and evident in his voice. His fight with “Ninja” Rua was the biggest of his career. As of this moment, it is a phantom, an apparition, a victim of greed and legal wrangling and actions all taken outside of the cage.

If there’s a lesson in this whole Shine Fights/Don King fiasco, it’s this: be thankful for what you have. Like Joni Mitchell said, you don’t know what ya got ‘till it’s gone.

No one is a bigger lightning rod for criticism in the MMA world then Dana White. The bald headed, profane president of MMA’s powerhouse promotion is an easy target for fan and media scorn.

Let’s be honest, he’s not exactly the image of a polished executive. There’s no denying what’s he’s done for the sport, but we know his mouth gets him into trouble sometimes. Then there’s his pride, which has gotten him into protracted (and pointless) legal battles with stars like BJ Penn, Tito Ortiz and Randy Couture.

Okay, so Dana can be a dick. He’s also mostly upfront and honest with his fans, a rare commodity among sports execs (though I don’t agree with his definition of “big announcement”). And, let’s not forget, above all else—he is not Don King.

In 1966, the then-35-year-old King served four years in prison after he viciously stomped employee Sam Garrett to death. Garrett owed King $600. And you thought you were hardcore.

Over his long and very lucrative career in boxing, he has been accused of fight fixing, fraud, threatening fighters, and having ties to organized crime. He once testified before Congress on his relationship with mob boss John Gotti (he plead the fifth, by the way). He has been successfully sued by Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Chris Byrd, and the aforementioned Mayorga.

No less an authority on crazy then “Iron Mike” once said he was “a wretched, slimy, reptilian motherf*****r. He would kill his own mother for a dollar.”

On a purely rational level, you have to hand it to him. The judges decision to enforce the injunction clearly shows that King has something in the contract to stand on. Yet he waited until a week before the event goes down before he takes action.

This both kneecaps Shine Fights, who is left scrambling at the last minute, and grabs him additional headlines. The case itself has yet to be resolved, as this was only an injunction. King had to make a down payment of $2 million to the court in “damages” in case the court ruled in Shine’s favour.

Price of killing a promotion, I suppose. I don’t know how the case will play out in court. I know King would have no problem paying $2,000,000 just to make a statement about a fighter.

So remember folks, the next time you go to attack Dana White or Scott Coker (more on that later) or even Mark Pavelich, think of Don King.

Think of the graft and corruption that seems to dominate the boxing world today, and be glad MMA hasn’t reached that level yet. Think of fighters like Braulio Estima, Travis Galbraith, Murilo Rua, Din Thomas, and all the rest who put in the work, showed up to fight—and had their livelihoods denied by an egotistical promoter on a power trip.