Al Haymon gets summary judgment in antitrust fight with Golden Boy

U.S. District Judge John F. Walter of the Central District of California, issued the summary judgment on Thursday in a 24-page written order.

“ … (I)n this case, where the undisputed evidence demonstrates that Defendants’ conduct has resulted in an increase in televised boxing matches and improved compensation for boxers, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs have failed to present sufficient evidence to defeat summary judgment,” Walter wrote in his opinion.

He also said Golden Boy failed to prove it had been competitively harmed.

“In this case, after conducting substantial discovery, Plaintiffs have been unable to present any evidence of harm to competition,” he wrote. “Instead, Plaintiffs have merely presented evidence of harm to themselves.”

Walter cited a ruling by the Ninth Circuit in U.S. vs. Syufy Enterprises in making his ruling. In that case, the opinion said, “When a producer is shielded from competition, he is likely to provide lesser service at a higher price; the victim is the consumer who gets a raw deal. This is the evil the antitrust laws are meant to avert. But when a producer deters competitors by supplying a better product at a lower price, when he eschews monopoly profits, when he operates his business so as to meet consumer demand and increase consumer satisfaction, the goals of competition are served.”

“On behalf of our clients, Haymon Sports, LLC and its CEO, Alan Haymon, we are very pleased with the decision of the Court to grant summary judgment and dismiss all of the meritless claims filed by Golden Boy Promotions,” Williams’ statement read. “The Court’s ruling makes clear that the efforts by Haymon Sports were intended to, and actually did, increase competition in the boxing industry, to the benefit of the boxers, other promoters, and the fans.

“Golden Boy’s invocation of the Ali Act — which the Court recognized exists to protect boxers, not promoters – was especially hypocritical given that the Court cited evidence that confirms Haymon Sports has consistently looked to protect the interests of its boxers against one-sided and oppressive promoter contracts.”

Golden Boy spokesman Stefan Friedman said he was disappointed by the ruling.

“We are obviously disappointed with the judge’s ruling,” Friedman said in a statement. “However, our top priority at Golden Boy is putting on the best fights for the fans and promoting the best shows in the business – we will continue to focus our energies on working with anyone and everyone to make the best fights happen.”

In its suit, Golden Boy alleged that Haymon had served as both a manager and a promoter and that in violation of antitrust law he attempted to tie his boxing management services to the rejection of competitors’ boxing promotion services.

The concept of tying in antitrust law prevents a company from forcing a consumer to buy an unwanted product in order to purchase a product it wants.

Golden Boy alleged that in order for Haymon to agree to manage a fighter, the fighter had to also give Haymon control of choosing his promoter.

Haymon argued that he was simply trying to get the best deal for his fighters by not getting them tied up with long-term promotional agreements. By not having a long-term deal with any promoter, he is able to get his fighters the best deal for a given fight because he can increase competition among promoters.

“The judge recognized that Mr. Haymon was trying to get the best deal for his fighters and avoid those one-sided long-term promotional contracts, which is the same kind of contract that [current Golden Boy CEO] Oscar De La Hoya sued Top Rank to get out of [when he was an active boxer],” Williams told Yahoo Sports.

The judge noted that no boxer testified in that manner.

Top Rank had sued Haymon on similar grounds, but settled the case last year.