Something about Impact FC never seemed right. Out of nowhere, Impact popped up putting on back-to-back cards in Australia loaded with high-priced former UFC and PRIDE talent with no apparent path for success. It had the potential to be disastrous internally, but at least the shows went off without any major issues. Well, that’s what we thought at least.
According to a report on Cage Potato, none of the fighters on either card have been paid in full and some haven’t been paid at all.
We learned of the situation Wednesday from one of the affected fighters who wished to remain anonymous, but have since been able to confirm the story with more than a dozen others, including Karo Parisyan, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Jesse Taylor and Brian Ebersole, that none of the cards’ participants have received their complete fight purses .
Although most commissions require that fighters be paid before the promoter leaves the arena the night of the show (some even hold onto and distribute the money themselves) none of the men who fought on either show received checks before flying home from Australia. A handful of them have since received partial payment – the most being 75% of what was owed, however most of the fighters we spoke to have yet to receive a dime, despite multiple phone calls they have made and emails they have sent to promoters Tom Huggins and Andrew McManus asking that they be paid.
As for who’s to blame, it appears we have a good old fashioned case of finger pointing between the two individuals involved — Tom Huggins, the matchmaker, and Andrew McManus, the financial backer with a background in concert promoting.
McManus, who had no prior experience in MMA, claims Huggins made false promises about what level of returns he should expect from sponsorships and gate revenues, and added that Huggins is a 50% shareholder in Impact FC and therefore should be on the hook for the fighter’s salaries as well.
“[Tom] Huggins has run back to Brazil and is uncontactable, whilst I (who never negotiated, contracted or was a party to any deal) have now been left trying to find funds to pay the men whilst all the false promises of sponsorships (never happened) and late gate sales and walk up all turned out to be lies,” McManus wrote.
“You are one of the few people who has been able to get Huggins to respond whilst he hides in his Brazilian province. The fact is that Tom Huggins is a 50% shareholder in Impact MMA (Aud) LLC with his shares held in his name.(This can be, if necessary, proven and identified). A joint venture agreement with terms not accepted or agreed to was created by Huggins yet has NEVER and will NEVER be signed or agreed to,” McManus stated. “His failure to deliver on all parts of the failed venture should give him a conscience whilst me or my company has never been involved with the port of cage fighting previously and went ahead under promises and guarantees of delivery by Huggins.”
Meanwhile, Huggins, who seems to be avoiding McManus at all costs, says he has a written agreement that proves McManus is responsible for all financial costs, including fighter salaries, related to the event.
“That statement is categorically untrue. I can provide you with the agreement between Andrew and myself, which clearly demonstrates that my responsibility was to procure fighters and make matches for the event within a given budget. The agreement clearly shows that ALL of the financing for the events, including fighter purses, was the responsibility of McManus,” Huggins wrote in his reply. “That being said, I feel that at the end of the day McManus being the professional that he is will fulfill his obligations and that the fighters will be paid.”
McManus denied ever signing such an agreement in his quote above.
Of course, this wouldn’t be an issue if the event had been successful, but as anyone who followed MMA in the past few years knows just because you put former UFC talent in a cage doesn’t mean you’ll make UFC money. Word is gate sales were “atrocious,” plus one of CP’s sources indicated that numerous sponsors backed out at the last-minute after the UFC threatened to ban them if they supported Impact.
At the moment, it’s unclear how this is going to play out, but if you ask me, Huggins and McManus need to get the fighters paid in full ASAP and worry about who owes who later.
Update: Fighters Only has an update on who’s been paid and who hasn’t.
Ken Shamrock has been paid his whole purse and so has Pedro Rizzo, according to Cage Potato, but Murilo Bustamante is yet to receive anything according to MMA Weekly. Today, Fighters Only learned that Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley has thus far received only a fraction of his promised purse.