MANHATTAN (CN) - A heavyweight boxer sued Don King, claiming the promoter violated the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act by forcing him to sign with Don King Productions to get a match.
Haitian-born Bermane Stiverne sued King, Don King Productions, Elite Sports and Entertainment Management, King's stepson Carl King and Dana Jamison, a King associate, in Federal Court.
Stiverene claims he met with the defendants on April 26, 2011 to sign a bout agreement with Ray Austin, who had King Productions as his exclusive promoter.
"When he arrived at the meeting, however, Stiverne was informed that he would not be permitted to sign the bout agreement with Austin unless and until he first signed an exclusive promotional agreement with DKP," the complaint states. "In fact, before they would present to Stiverne the bout agreement with Austin, Don King and DKP required that Stiverne sign three contracts at that meeting which related to either promoter or management services with Don King, DKP, Don King's step-son, Carl King ... and Carl King's company, Elite Sports and Entertainment Management, Inc."
Stiverne claims he had no choice but to sign the agreements because it was a mandatory bout for the WBC Silver Belt. Without first fighting for the Silver Belt, Stiverne says, he would not be eligible to fight WBC World Heavyweight Champion Vitali Klitschko.
The defendants' tactics violated The Professional Boxing Safety Act of 1996, also known as the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, in several ways, the complaint states.
Stiverne says the act prohibits the defendants from requiring him to sign an exclusive promotional agreement as a precondition for a bout with another boxer promoted by the same promoter; prohibits the defendants from requiring future promotional rights from a boxer as a precondition for a mandatory bout under the rules of a sanctioning organization; and it requires a firewall between boxing promoters and managers.
Stiverne seeks rescission of contracts and damages.
He is represented by Jonathan Plaut, with Cohan Rasnick Myerson Plaut, of Boston.Follow @@joeharris_stl
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