Main Events files suit over alleged interference with Stevenson-Kovalev
NEW YORK -- New Jersey based promoter Main Events filed a civil lawsuit on Tuesday against promoter Yvon Michel, Groupe Yvon Michel Inc., advisor Al Haymon, Golden Boy Promotions, light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson and Showtime alleging breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, tortious interference and interference with prospective economic advantage. In the complaint -- a copy of which was obtained by SI.com -- Main Events seeks unspecified damages and punitive damages against all parties.
In a telephone interview, Main Events CEO Kathy Duva said that the company was seeking damages "in the millions."
In its filings, Main Events accuses Michel of reneging on an agreed upon deal for Stevenson to defend his title against Sergey Kovalev, a Main Events promoted fighter. Main Events cites emails exchanged between Michel, Duva and HBO executive Peter Nelson that confirm a binding agreement. According to the lawsuit, HBO had agreed to pay a $2.4 million license fee for the fight.
Further, Main Events contends that Haymon, with knowledge of an agreed upon deal between Michel and Main Events, and in an alliance with Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, willfully interfered with the agreement in order to negotiate a fall fight between Stevenson and Bernard Hopkins on Showtime.
Main Events claims that Showtime, specifically Executive Vice President Stephen Espinoza, made an offer for Stevenson-Hopkins with "the clear intent of disrupting a Stevenson-Kovalev bout."
"What is it they say, 'I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore,'" Duva said. "There are rules. There is a reason why there are rules. We had the biggest fight of the year made, and somebody with an agenda [Haymon] that has nothing to do with me or my company tore it apart for no reason. I have to stand up for myself and for my fighter. That's what happens when the big guy comes in and tries to squeeze you out."
A spokesman for Showtime told SI.com that the company does not comment on pending litigation.
When reached by telephone, Michel declined comment.
Schaefer told SI.com that it was "very far fetched to think Golden Boy is a part of this. We had nothing to do with it."
Haymon -- who does not speak publicly to the media -- could not be reached for comment.
Duva said that the goal of the suit was not to force Stevenson to face Kovalev, though she said they would still welcome the fight. Rather, the lawsuit was about "letting people know you can't come in and screw up everybody's plans because you want to."
"This world in which mega promoters come in and stomp out smaller promoters is bad for the sport," Duva said. "Trying to create this UFC model is fundamentally wrong. I don't know how one person can represent everyone. As a medium-level promoter, I can go out and advocate for my fighters. These people, they came along and upset everything. We had a deal. This is not OK. My father told me to stand up to bullies, and I'm OK doing that."