A Florida judge on Saturday barred former boxing champion Ricardo Mayorga from competing on a Shine Fights mixed martial arts card, ruling Mayorga’s participation was primarily because of his notoriety as a boxer and that it thus interfered in Don King Productions’ exclusive boxing promotional contract with him.
Mayorga was to fight Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Din Thomas in the main event of a pay-per-view card later Saturday at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, N.C.
King, who has promoted Mayorga continuously since 2001, sought an injunction to bar Mayorga from competing, arguing that his contract covered all combat sports and that King would be irreparably damaged if Mayorga competed in the MMA fight.
Broward County Circuit Court judge Marc H. Gold required King to post a $1 million cash bond in case Shine wins an appeal and can prove damages. In less than two hours, King brought the money in cash stashed in two duffel bags to the court.
“I felt like Clint Eastwood speeding down the highway with a fistful of dollars,” King said.
After more than eight hours of testimony Friday and Saturday, Gold ruled in favor of King, ruling that Shine is guilty of tortious interference and that Mayorga is in breach of contract.
The North Carolina Athletic Commission decided late Saturday afternoon to cancel the entire cards. Fans who purchased tickets can receive refunds through Ticketmaster, but is unclear if Shine will try to reschedule the card or if the fighters who were prepared to fight on Saturday will be paid.
When King attorney Robert Zarco advised Gold that Shine planned to have Mayorga compete regardless of his ruling, Gold said from the bench, “If my orders are disobeyed, there will be serious sanctions from this court.”
King told Yahoo! Sports that Mayorga owes him several hundred thousand dollars and that he is concerned that if Mayorga was injured in the MMA fight, he would be unable to repay the debt. King also said he is working on arranging a championship bout for Mayorga against World Boxing Association middleweight champion Felix Sturm.
Gold said that Mayorga’s notoriety as a boxer has helped build interest in Shine’s MMA card.
“The question is, why are fans coming to this match? And the answer is because he is a headline boxer,” Gold said. “Boxing and MMA are in competition with each other the way this fight is taking place.”