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UnderGround Forums >> Rick Hawn plans to donate extra check to charity


1/29/13 6:34 AM
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Nexuscrawlers
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from MMAjunkie:

Dispute settled, Bellator's Rick Hawn plans to donate extra check to charity

by Steven Marrocco on Jan 28, 2013 at 1:10 pm ET

rick-hawn-3.jpgA check from a sponsor dispute arrived Saturday for Bellator's Rick Hawn. 

The $1,500 he was supposed to receive for a losing effort against lightweight champ Michael Chandler won't stay in his bank account, though. Another check already made it to him. 

"When Bjorn Rebney heard about the whole situation, he was upset about it and he decided that Bellator would cover the total cost of what I was missing," Hawn told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). The Bellator CEO confirmed the promotion's contribution.

The 36-year-old former Olympian now plans to donate the extra money to a charity for animals or to a homeless shelter. 

"It would be something I'd be happy to do," Hawn (14-2 MMA, 6-2 BFC) said.

"How Rick handled this situation, deciding to give a large part of the additional check he finally received from them to charity, speaks to his great character," Rebney told MMAjunkie.com. "Rick will be back better than ever, and you'll be seeing a lot of him and his KO power on Spike."

The promotion wasn't the only one to rally around Hawn. He received dozens of support messages from fans, who in turn bombarded the sponsor with phone calls, emails and Facebook messages to pay the $1,500.

Some of them included death threats, according to the sponsor, Mark Gingrich of HTFU apparel.

Gingrich this past week said he agreed to pay the check despite his belief that an agreement with Hawn hadn't been honored. He did not, however, agree to the fighter's demand that he make a public apology. 

"I felt that the verbal agreement that we had was not lived up to, (and) I canceled the check based upon that," Gingrich said. "They made it look at lot worse than it actually was. The company has taken nothing but threats and accusations. My company's image is being jeopardized, all for $1,500." 

Less than a week after his Jan. 17 loss at Bellator 86, which came via second-round submission, Hawn tweeted a portion of an email from Gingrich informing him payment had been stopped on the check, which was part of a sponsorship deal verbally negotiated five days prior to the event by his representative, Mike Russell.

There was no contract between Gingrich and Hawn, though Russell said a series of emails and Facebook messages constituted a formal agreement and threatened to sue when the check was voided. Gingrich threatened legal action in response. 

Gingrich and Russell agree the sponsorship's value was $3,500 – $1,500 by check and $2,000 in HTFU apparel – but disagree on what was promised in return. 

Gingrich claims Hawn and Russell promised to have the fighter and his cornermen wear HTFU hats and shirts at all times during Bellator 86, which took place at Bren Center in Irvine, Calif., and boasted a main card aired on Spike TV.

When only one cornerman donned an HTFU shirt during and after the fight, and only Hawn wore an HTFU hat, Gingrich believed the deal had been breached and canceled the $1,500 check. 

"I not 100 percent privy to how corners work," said Gingrich, whose sponsor roster includes a track and field athlete, BMX rider and crossfit competitor. "But under my understanding, the corner is a part of the team that's a part of the representation of Rick. So I would just assume that corner would be representing who Rick represented, not their own affiliation or best interest."

Hawn and Russell, however, claim the deal never included the cornermen. Russell noted that the fighter's head coach, Firas Zahabi of Montreal's Tristar Gym, already had an existing sponsorship with MMA brand Headrush. 

Zahabi sent an email to Gingrich informing him of a previous sponsorship and demanding payment be made to Hawn.

"The deal was I wear it, and I fulfilled my part of the bargain," Hawn said. 

Gingrich's full email informing Russell of the alleged breach, which was obtained by MMAjunkie.com, also cited FedEx expenses of $200 getting the apparel to Hawn, travel expenses for travel to the event, and production costs of $1,000 for the apparel. 

Gingrich also wrote of being snubbed by Hawn before and after the event's weigh-ins.

Hawn believes Gingrich overstated his case. He said the sponsor was already traveling to Los Angeles for a fitness expo and tacked on the short drive to the fight; added his name to an existing HTFU shirt; and approached him to talk while he was cutting weight. 

"I cut 25 pounds, and after the weigh-ins I was rehydrating with my corner, and I guess Mark was wanting to hang out and shoot the s---, but I just wasn't in the mood," Hawn said. "So he claims I was ignoring him, but the fact of the matter is I was trying to rehydrate. I had a pretty big fight the next day."

Hawn nevertheless maintains he did his best to accommodate Gingrich and gave him an extra fight ticket on top of the one he had agreed to provide. He said he wore HTFU shorts to the event's weigh-ins and wore a hat during the fight because he liked the product. 

"I think his thought process was it was the whole package," Hawn said of Gingrich.

Hawn expressed concern that his recent run-in might affect future relationships with sponsors, but was also hopeful that Bellator's recent crossover from MTV2 to Spike TV would help bring in more potential sponsors. 

Gingrich regrets the way the dispute unfolded and wishes the two sides could have resolved the matter with a phone call before it spilled into public. He added he would no longer sponsor MMA athletes.

Hawn, meanwhile, has requested a fight as soon as possible from Bellator.

"I never said anything that wasn't true, and this was all factual stuff," Hawn said. "The reason why I'm having this discussion is that I don't want people to actually think that's who I really am. If you ask people who have sponsored me in the past, I do what it takes and what I can for them. I'm very appreciative of what they do."

1/29/13 6:41 AM
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Hocky Balboa
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Very hawnorable thing to do. Phone Post

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