Nasir and Matt put on their gloves to spar over the class action filed over Manny Pacquiao’s shoulder and the defamation claim filed against Floyd Mayweather.
Full Podcast Transcript
NASIR: All right. Welcome to our podcast where we cover business in the news and add our legal twist to that business news. My name’s Nasir Pasha.
MATT: And I’m Matt Staub, and I was hoping to find, you already started talking when I thought of it, I was hoping to find the classic bell sound that you hear when a boxing…
NASIR: I was thinking the same thing, ding-ding-ding-ding! Yeah, yeah, yeah, we can just have Matthew add that.
MATT: Yeah, that’s true.
NASIR: Our sound producer.
MATT: At the beginning.
NASIR: At the very beginning. But then, if we’re talking about it now, how about we just do it now? Like, right now. Let’s start.
MATT: Well, I think we’re going to talk about a story that I haven’t seen anything in the media about and there was this boxing match between some guy, Floyd Mayweather.
NASIR: Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier?
MATT: Yeah, and Manny Pacquiao. No, I’m just kidding. Obviously, this was just blown up. I mean, I don’t even know when they even announced this but it seems like it was years ago. There’s been so much story on it but we’re going to talk about the legal side because these lawsuits that are popping up are more recent. We’re recording this – when is this? – five days before it’s actually going to be released so there could be many more lawsuits that are filed in-between now, right now and when this gets released. So, update yourselves appropriately, and the reason I’m saying that, there’s a couple of lawsuits that are involved but one of which is this crazy trend that these class action lawsuits are being filed against mostly Pacquiao but some of them include him, Mayweather, HBO, the broadcasters, everyone involved.
NASIR: I think I got sued a couple of times, too.
MATT: A lot of named defendants. So, this lawsuit, the class action lawsuits are in relation to I guess, after the fight, Pacquiao said that he has had a shoulder injury that happened in April. He was fighting injured and they wouldn’t allow him a shot before the match to whatever. But this class action suit is saying, “Oh, well, you know, if you were injured, we wouldn’t have paid the $100 or whatever it was for the fight. We wouldn’t have paid for this.” The people I guess that went to the boxing match is even worse because those were some expensive tickets. But I haven’t looked too much into these actual complaints and I think I saw up to seven class action lawsuits that have already been filed kind of with this same sort of idea. But this is just so crazy to me. It’s obviously people that are upset. From what I heard – I didn’t see the fight but from what I heard – it just wasn’t very good.
NASIR: I saw parts of it. I think it was pretty much what I expected it to be. I’m surprised everyone was surprised. I think we even talked about this. In fact, I remember listening to our podcast that these over-hyped fights tend to be a non-event in the sense that it’s just kind of, you know, whatever.
What I think a lot of people are accentuating is this May 1st form that Pacquiao signed – which was May 1st would have been I think it was the Friday before, the day before the fight – and him checking “no” on pretty much everything except the meds that he took beforehand describing if he has any injuries or things like that. You know, like, hey, this is the proof that he misrepresented, almost as if, like, everyone was relying on this form and, on May 1st, before they ordered, they’re like, “Okay. Let me take a look at the pre-fight medical questionnaire before I order this fight.” But, I mean, there’s some truth to that, right? I mean, if he would have disclosed it, HBO and all the other news articles that were abuzz about this fight would have said, “Oh, he is injured,” and Mayweather was already a little favored so maybe people thought, “Well, it’s not going to be as interesting,” but do you really think that would have happened? I don’t think so.
MATT: No, it’s so ludicrous. These people that paid for the fight, I mean, it’s mostly I think people that paid for the pay-per-view. I don’t know. I’m sure there’s people that attended it that are complaining as well but they still would have paid for it.
MATT: People – for whatever reason – love to watch these big fights and this was obviously the most hyped fight since, I mean, probably since Tyson twenty years ago with some of his bigger ones. I mean, the problem with this lawsuit is I was going to say a slippery slope but it’s not even a slippery slope. It’s just like a free-fall if these lawsuits would end up working out and they would be able to collect, you know, some sort of judgment against Pacquiao and everybody else. Like, you could say this for anything. What? Are you going to buy a ticket to a basketball game and, like, “Oh, this player didn’t disclose that he was hurt and I definitely wouldn’t have bought this ticket if I would have known this”? I mean, you can just keep going on and on and on with this so I think it’s pretty crazy. There’s no way these people knew about the form that he signed.
NASIR: Yeah, and legal issues can get kind of murky because let’s say you have a class action from those that paid in pay-per-view. The main legal issue is, “Okay. How can you sue Pacquiao?” There’s no contract between you and them. You’re not paying them directly for the ordering of the pay-per-view though they do get a percentage, I believe. That’s kind of a separate issue. One lesson though, I think this is a very good representation of what is out there in the industry in the sense that, how many times do we get a question asked, “Can I be sued for this?” right? For a lawyer to respond to that, sometimes, you can respond in a very sarcastic manner and say, “Yeah, you can be sued for anything!” which is 100 percent true because you can always find a lawyer to file a lawsuit because even the most ridiculous ones – and I personally think this is ridiculous – even if there’s legal recourses that are enough to file a lawsuit, it just seems so ridiculous to me. And so, at the least, take that as a lesson that just because you may not have any legal liability, if there’s a perception that you did someone wrong, someone can always find an attorney to sue you.
MATT: You’re exactly right and it’s taking whatever actions you can to make a potential lawsuit very unattractive. But, you know, you can still do whatever you want at the end of the day. If they want to sue you, they will, and that’s what happened with this. Obviously, another part that plays into this is the massive pay-outs that these boxers receive. I’m sure that kind of factored into it as well. I think I saw somewhere that Mayweather was getting close to $200 million or something outrageous.
NASIR: You know, despite what I just said, I am starting another class action against another sports team in New England, actually.
MATT: The Deflate Gate?
NASIR: yeah, the Deflate Gate, because, you know, I bought some nachos that day to watch the game and that was a complete waste of money, you know? If I knew that they were going to deflate the balls and all that, then I would not have bought those nachos.
MATT: I mean, we laugh at that but there’s probably going to be some sort of lawsuit because these people are just…
NASIR: Oh, yeah, all the fans and, by the way, this isn’t the first time that something like this happened. It was against New England, too. Remember the New York Jets and New England game where I think New England was accused or they were found guilty – I’m not sure which, at least I’ll just say “allegedly” for now – they were spying.
MATT: The Spy Gate? Yeah.
NASIR: Yeah, they were spying on the other team’s radio.
MATT: If I recall, they were filming the opposing team, like, practicing or running their plays and then using that information to then use it to their advantage during the games and they were found, it’s a very grey area because basically the NFL immediately destroyed all of the tapes for whatever reason so, like, all of the evidence was gone and then they penalized New England, the team that did it. It was like a really weird thing. It’s like, “All right, well, they did it! Let’s just destroy all the evidence and then penalize them.” It’s like, well, that makes no sense but I don’t think a lot of things involving the NFL make sense.
NASIR: Yeah, but they faced lawsuits because of that too from ticket holders and, of course, those were both tossed. I mean, I don’t know the specific circumstances. I don’t expect anything much different in these cases as well. But, by the way, did you hear on another, NFL is going to be abandoning their non-profit status, I think. Did you hear about that?
NASIR: We’ve talked about that in the past and that’s interesting.
MATT: I wonder if Goodell can be paid, the commissioner can get paid more than his $44 million now per year.
NASIR: Yeah, are they going to increase that? Exactly, that’s interesting.
MATT: The other lawsuit – I’m sure there’s more than this but the other lawsuit that’s getting talked about involving this fight – or at least the participants – is this defamation lawsuit. For those of you that don’t know, Mayweather’s been involved with some domestic violence issues in the past. It was a big thing leading up to the fight.
NASIR: He’s been convicted though, if I recall. I think he actually spent a couple of days in jail.
MATT: He served jail time, yeah.
NASIR: Yeah, it was something minimal but yeah.
MATT: He still kind of denies it. I mean, we’re not going to get into that but there was a report or an interview that was done where one of the people involved where they were talking about one of the incidents and he said that, “I had to restrain her because she was on drugs,” and all these things and just tried to spin himself into the good guy or at least not the bad guy.
NASIR: I had to restrain her and then kick her around a little bit because she was on drugs. Yeah, that seems plausible.
MATT: Yeah, you’re only a professional boxer who’s 48 and 0. But, yeah, you’re probably in danger of being abused but, you know, whatever. So, now there’s a defamation lawsuit that’s…
NASIR: I think $20 million.
MATT: $20 million which I guess, at his pay-outs, close to $200 million from this fight. But I found this pretty interesting that one of these people that was involved in this domestic violence issue is now seeking defamation now. I mean, it has to be because he just got a massive pay day, right? I mean, I assume that has some connection to it.
NASIR: Yeah, maybe, or I don’t know when he made the interview and so forth. It’s old news that people in boxing, you know, it’s old news about all this which I think is a very fair criticism of Mayweather and this whole boxing thing in the first place. It kind of reminds me of Bill Cosby because, if you recall, all the allegations against him, some of the problems of the statute of limitations because some of these incidents are supposed to have occurred a long time ago. But what’s interesting is that those states that are outside the statute of limitations and those alleged victims, they’re actually suing for defamation because all Bill Cosby has to do is basically deny it and basically say that person’s a liar and so forth and then that so-called victim can say, “No, well, I’m going to sue you for defamation because it’s true,” and under that premise seek damages which is a very interesting way to pursue your allegations.
MATT: Well, the strongest defense to a defamation claim is the truth, right?
NASIR: Yeah, that’s right – 100 percent. He might have some problems with that, I was going to say.
MATT: Oh, I’m not speaking to the credibility of those claims but yeah.
MATT: I definitely understand it but how these claims pop up, like, in this case, this is like decades later, isn’t it? The Bill Cosby stuff?
NASIR: Yeah, some of them. Yeah, some of them, definitely. I think there are also a couple that may be within or some states that don’t have statute of limitations and they’re being pursued and so forth but who knows?
NASIR: That’s going to last a long time, I assume. This is, again, way off topic but I always hear people talking about him and they always ask, you know, “Do you think he did it or whatever?” Of course, you know, when people are talking about this stuff in the media, they always have to be careful and saying “alleged” and so forth. But there are some people that just stopped doing that, you know? Because they’re like, “Oh, okay, after this number of women, I’m going to stop saying ‘alleged’ from now on.”
MATT: He’s got bigger issues to deal with than trying to go after all these different media people for not saying “alleged.”
NASIR: That’s true. Because what is he going to do? If he sues, the other party can just prove that it’s true and then he’s done.
MATT: Even if he would be able to prove that nothing happened, he’d have to relive everything by going through a lawsuit so it just wouldn’t really make sense.
NASIR: Yeah, very good. So, I think that is our episode for today. We went a full ten, twelve rounds there.
MATT: Looks like I won in a unanimous decision, 116 to 112, all right.
NASIR: Very controversial though, however.
NASIR: Unanimous decision.
MATT: If you want to talk about legalities, boxing is the most corrupt sport by a landslide.
NASIR: Oh, yeah.
MATT: It’s so crazy. Their scoring doesn’t make any sense. It’s like, “Oh, well, I’m going to write 10 and 9 down every round and then I can just do whatever I want,” and it’s just completely subjective, apparently.
MATT: I can’t be bought out.
NASIR: I’ve seen a couple of UFC fights that were a little off too so it kind of just depends. I feel like it’s kind of the same kind of culture mentality there.
MATT: I mean, every sport has some sort of subjective aspect to it. You like soccer. It’s like, if you call a foul on somebody.
NASIR: The fouls, yeah.
MATT: Yeah, it’s like, well, that’s subjective on whether it was actually a foul or not.
NASIR: Or the yellow card and red card is probably the most controversial because that has such dire consequences. You know, a ref may be taking out his card all the time where another ref may not at all, you know?
MATT: That’s why I watch tennis because there’s pretty much no subjective aspect to it, especially now that they have any ball that’s close to the line, they can challenge it and they have the Hawk-Eye that comes in and shows exactly where the ball hits.
NASIR: Why don’t you just watch golf then? Or chess? That’s not subjective either.
MATT: Chess? Yeah.
NASIR: Or checkers. Checkers is probably the least objective or least subjective.
NASIR: Yeah, bowling, you could cross the line and get a foul.
MATT: They have sensors for that.
NASIR: Oh, that’s true. Yeah, but, you know, those sensors can be manipulated.
NASIR: All right. So, should we just continue to talk about random sports or do we end it?
MATT: I think we’ll close it up here.
NASIR: Okay. All right. Have a good one day. Have a good one day, everyone.
MATT: Keep it sound and keep it smart.