Upstart MMA promotion Shine Fights suffered a tremendous setback over the weekend when a judge ruled in favor of Don King Productions (DKP), who represents boxer Ricardo Mayorga. Mayorga was slated to fight MMA veteran Din Thomas in the "Worlds Collide" main event, but after DKP's injunction was granted, the fight was canceled, and subsequently the N.C. Boxing Authority pulled the plug on the entire event.
On Saturday morning Broward County, Fla., Judge Marc Gold ruled against Shine Fights since Mayorga was under contract with DKP. Mayorga is in a three-year contract with DKP that was inked last October, so fighting in an MMA event would possibly have been a breach of contract.
"The court found that Mayorga is not a legitimate mixed martial artist and that Shine was not legitimately promoting him as one for this event," DKP attorney Alex Brito told Sherdog.com, "and that the only reason anyone was attending this 'Worlds Collide' event was to see how Mayorga fared as a boxer against an MMA fighter."
Shine Fights initially planned to continue with the bout, but then canceled it and shifted the Murilo "Ninja" Rua and David Heath fight to main event status. Then shortly before the show was scheduled to start at the Crown Center in Fayetteville, the N.C. Boxing Authority canceled the show in its entirety.
"I'm still kind of at a loss as to why the commission canceled the event," Shine Fights CEO Devin Price told MMAjunkie.com. "Believe me, on Monday morning, that's going to be the first call I make."
Price never made it to Fayetteville, which has led to some speculation that the event was canceled since the fighters' purses were unavailable.
"I spoke with the commissioner briefly," Price told MMAjunkie.com. "The issue was in the state of North Carolina, you have to pay into the commission, and then the commission pays the fighters, or something along those lines. Obviously, I was not present because I was tied up down in Florida, and that had to be done before 6 p.m.
"I thought we worked through that process and everything, but then the commission saw that we were without the main event, and he got concerned and didn't want to move forward, which we're all surprised at. Pay-per-view was willing to move forward. They had no problems. We were ready to go. We were literally ready to go."
Price was also empathetic toward the fighters.
"In this situation, I feel badly for the fighters," Price said. "They're the ones that are really getting the rawest deal out of this whole thing. They really are. These guys trained, busted their butts, and were ready to go. I think it's not fair for the commission to have denied them that opportunity.
"We're going to take care of the fighters. We've always been a 'fighters and fans first' organization. We are financially going to take care of the fighters to some extent. We're going to make sure they're taken care of financially. We're not going to be one of these promotions to say, 'Oh, it didn't happen. We're out of here.' We're going to make sure the fighters are taken care of."
It remains to be seen exactly what this means in true dollars and cents, but on Sunday Shine Fights broadcaster Karyn Bryant tweeted her two cents.
"Shine fighters told they'll get paid 25 percent of show money at 2:30 a.m.," Bryant tweeted. "Been waiting for hours."
Shortly thereafter, Bryant switched gears slightly to say that might not be the case for all of the fighters on hand.
"Not everyone gets 25 percent," Bryant tweeted. "Different contracts, different money."
Per MMAspot.com, Shine Fights also promised full refunds to fans who purchased tickets to attend the event.
The N.C. Boxing Authority could not be reached for comment.