Sues Riddick & Terry Bowe, Goosen Tutor and Fox Sports
Lion Heart Press Release:
Lion Heart Boxing Productions, Ltd. announced today that it has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Utah against Riddick Bowe and Big Daddy Productions for breach of contract and against Goosen Tutor Promotions and Fox Sport Network for interference with contract as a result of Riddick Bowe’s failure to honor his contract with Lion Heart Boxing Productions for a bout in Salt Lake City.
In conjunction with its lawsuit, Lion Heart Boxing is asking the Utah court to enjoin Bowe from fighting on April 7, 2005 for Goosen Tutor Promotions at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, a show that is supposed to be aired by Fox Sport Network until Bowe fulfills his contractual obligations to Lion Heart Boxing Productions.
Ancillary claims brought by Lion Heart Boxing Productions include defamation claims against Bowe, his wife Terri and his manager Jimmy Adams, unfair business practices claims against Bowe, Goosen Tutor, Big Daddy Promotions, and Fox Sports and an assortment of other ancillary claims.
This lawsuit is the latest in a drama that started when Lion Heart Boxing Productions learned on March 14, 2004 that Riddick Bowe was scheduled to fight on the April 7, 2005 and may not be fighting on Lion Heart Boxing Productions’ boxing show scheduled for March 25, 2005.
To quell rumors that the announcement of Bowe’s May 7, 2005 fight meant that he would not be fighting on March 25, 2005 for it, Lion Heart Boxing Productions issued a press release on March 16, 2005 to confirm that Lion Heart Boxing Productions had a signed contract with Riddick Bowe and that Lion Heart Boxing Productions expected Riddick Bowe to appear on its March 25, 2005 show, “A Night of the Heavies,” which was be held March 25, 2005 at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Goosen Tutor and Fox Sports countered with a press release of their own stating that Bowe’s “second” comeback fight would be on the April 7, 2005 Goosen Tutor show, in a fight against Ogden, Utah’s own Billy Zumbrun, who also was scheduled to appear on the Delta Center show, thereby precluding the possibility of a Bowe appearance on March 25, 2005 for Lion Heart Boxing Productions.
While Bowe denied that he intended to breach his contract with Lion Heart Boxing Productions, Bowe and his team turned down all opponents submitted by them by Lion Heart Boxing Productions including, but not limited to, the following Danny Sheehan (10-31), Billy Zumbrun (18-5), Javier Mora (18-2), James Brock (9-20), Marvin Hunt (11-14), Gary Winmon (25-15), Tony LaRosa (32-23), Charles Wilson (13-5), Derek Berry (7-2), John Carlo (12-1), Jason Williams (9-3), James Walton (19-7) and Chauncy Welliver (21-3). The only opponent Bowe was willing to fight was Kerry Byles (6-5). Bowe also refused to travel to Salt Lake City, Utah for a press conference to announce the March 25, 2005 fight or make any appearances to help promote the fight. To boot, Bowe demanded more money and a host of other concessions that were not part of the original contract, all in efforts to avoid his contract.
Despite several extension of the deadline for agreeing on an opponent and resolving outstanding issues by the Utah State Commission, Lion Heart Boxing Productions was unable to get Bowe to agree to an amended contract or honor his original contract and appear in Salt Lake City for a press conference or other appearances scheduled by Lion Heart Boxing Productions and the Delta Center. Late Wednesday (at 3:30 P.M.), March 22, 2005, when it became apparent that Lion Heart Boxing Productions could not get Bowe to travel to Salt Lake City on that date or get him to agree honor the terms of his contract, despite Lion Heart Boxing Productions succumbing to many of Bowe’s ever increasing demands, Lion Heart Boxing Productions was forced to inform the Commission that it was apparent that Lion Heart Boxing Productions could not reach a new agreement with Bowe, that Lion Heart Boxing Productions could not get Bowe to come to Salt Lake City to help promote the fight or even assure Salt Lake City’s citizens that he would fight, that Bowe had refused to abide by his original agreement and as a result would not be fighting for Lion Heart Boxing Productions on March 25, 2005.
When it was determined that Bowe had no intention of fighting in Salt Lake City, Lion Heart Boxing Productions wanted to proceed without Bowe but the Utah Athletic Commission would to allow Lion Heart Boxing Productions to do so. The Commission maintained that there would be “No show without Bowe.” As a result, the whole fight had to be continued and postponed. An agreement was reached between Lion Heart Boxing Productions, the Delta Center and the Utah Athletic Commission to postpone the March 25, 2005 fight to May 14, 2005.
On March 18, 2005, Richard Weinsoft, the Executive Director of the Utah Athletic Commission, had informed Edward Mendy that the Commission had held an emergency meeting of its commissioners and had determined that if Bowe did not fight on the March 25, 2005 card, the Commission would withdraw its sanction on the fight as the commission believed that the vast majority of the announced 1,500 people who purchased tickets during the first week of sale did so on account of the fact that Riddick Bowe was fighting. The commission also extended to Monday, March 21, 2005, 3:00 P.M. Mountain Standard Time, the deadline within which the parties would agreed on an opponent and sort out their outstanding contract issues. The Commission even extended the Monday deadline, all to no avail.
While the Lion Heart Boxing Productions fight was unraveling, Bowe was in California training for and promoting the April 7, 2005 fight.
Lion Heart Boxing Productions seeks injunctive relief in its lawsuit because it feels that, given Bowe’s present physical condition, alleged “brain damage” and diminished skills as represented by his own attorneys and management, a fight against Billy Zumbrun is a very risky fight for Bowe. If the April 7, 2005 is allowed to take place, Lion Heart Boxing Productions expects that Zumbrun would either defeat Bowe or that a win by Bowe would exact such at high price and impose such a high physical toll on him that should Bowe win, Bowe would still not be able to honor his contractual obligations to Lion Heart Boxing Productions. As a result, Lion Heart Boxing Productions believes that unless the April 7, 2005 fight or any other Riddick Bowe fight against any opponent with a better skill level than Kerry Byles is enjoined, Lion Heart Boxing Productions would suffer irreparable as it would lose the opportunity to promote a commercially viable fight with the former two-time heavyweight Champion of the world, if Bowe could fight at all, a harm no amount of money could cure.
Bowe’s failure to appear in Salt Lake City has left a bitter taste in the mouth of its residents. Few even believe that Lion Heart Boxing Productions had a signed contract with Bowe. Many believe that Lion Heart Boxing Productions simply advertised Bowe’s name as a publicity stunt, to gain free publicity for the March 25, 2005 event.
When it seemed that Bowe would not show in Salt Lake City, Lion Heart Boxing Productions asked the Utah Athletic Commission to suspend or otherwise sanction Bowe for breaching his contract with Lion Heart Boxing Productions. The Utah Athletic Commission, however, held that it could not suspend Bowe or otherwise sanction him as it had no jurisdiction over Bowe. Though Bowe applied for a boxing license with Utah Athletic Commission, he never paid for the license application fee. Lion Heart Boxing Productions’ offer to pay Bowe’s license fee was politely turned down. Because a license was not issued to Bowe, Utah Athletic Commission felt that it had no authority over him. The only other remedy available to Lion Heart Boxing Productions was to file a lawsuit to enforce its rights.
Edward B. Mendy, the company’s spokesperson states “We are saddened that we have to resort to a lawsuit to get Riddick Bowe to honor his legal obligations and to redress his wrongs to us. However, if we did not do this everyone in the fight game will think that they can continue to thumb their nose at us and that we would not do anything about it. Bowe personally assured me several times that he would fight for Lion Heart Boxing Productions on March 25, 2005, in Salt Lake City, Utah. I believed what he told me and thought that Bowe would do the right thing and fight both in Utah for us and in California for Goosen Tutor. Believing what Bowe told me, I maintained to the end that Bowe would show up to fight in Salt Lake City. His actions, however, indicated that Mr. Bowe never had any intentions of honoring his contract with Lion Heart Boxing Productions, Ltd. He made a fool out of all of us, particularly me. As the Utah Athletic Commission would not suspend or otherwise sanction Bowe for breaching his contract with Lion Heart Boxing Productions, Lion Heart Boxing Productions had no choice but to get the Courts to sanction Bowe for us. Obviously, we cannot determine the outcome of this litigation but are confident that we will prevail.”
Mendy continued, “That Goosen Tutor and Fox Sports Network are willing to have Riddick Bowe fight for them on April 7, 2005 at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula and screw Lion Heart Boxing Productions just because they offered him a better deal is a sad commentary on the state of boxing. Dan Goosen supposedly prides himself on being a self-professed straight-shooter. ”
On Tuesday, March 15, 2005, promoter Dan Goosen of Goosen Tutor announced that Former Heavyweight Champion Riddick Bowe will fight on April 7 at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula and that Riddick Bowe (41-1-0, 33 KOs) will take on Billy Zumbrun (17-5-1, 9 KOs) in a bout to be televised and carried on Fox Sports Net's “Best Damn Sports Show Period.”
Lion Heart Boxing Promotions believes that Goosen’s actions in enticing both Bowe and Billy Zumbrun, who was also scheduled to appear in the Salt Lake City show, constitute unfair business practices and an intentional interference with its contract with Bowe. Lion Heart Boxing Promotions, through its lawyers in New York, put Dan Goosen on notice of its contract with Bowe and asked Dan Goosen to cease and desist, obviously to no avail.
For more information about the case or Lion Heart Boxing Productions, Ltd., please call Edward Mendy, Lion Heart Boxing Productions’ Event Coordinator, at (917) 605-0250.