The majority of the fighters who competed on the Impact Fighting Championships' two scheduled July MMA events in Australia have not been paid by the promotion. The list of unpaid fighters includes Karo Parisyan, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Jesse Taylor and Brian Ebersole.
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.
What they have received are two ostensibly different accounts of who is to blame and who is responsible for the situation.
Impact’s purported financial backer, Andrew McManus who also owns and operates an Australian-based concert promotion firm claims that he was duped by Huggin:
"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."
Huggins, who has managed a number of fighters including Jorge Gurgel, Mario Sperry and Murilo Bustamante and has been involved with a number of MMA promotions in some capacity in his nearly 16 years in the sport -- most recently as the executive production consultant for the Brazilian-based Bitetti Combat organization, had this to say in response to McManus’ email:
“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. 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.”
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