Hip-hop mogul Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports is being sued by a pair of boxing promoters for $US20 million.
The suit claims that Jay Z’s company tried to poach a world-class fighter, Demetrius Andrade, away from an existing deal Andrade had with other promoters. Roc Nation Sports is accused of later backing out of the deal, and dumping the fighter altogether.
According to the New York Daily News, Joe DeGuardia with Star Boxing and Artie Pelullo with Banner Promotions claim that Roc Nation Sports wanted the currently undefeated Andrade, 27, to become the sports management firm’s first signed fighter last September.
Roc Nation allegedly agreed to pay Andrade $US550,000 to drop out of a fight already negotiated by Andrade’s two existing promoters, which was already set to air on Showtime last December.
It was part of an effort, the suit alleges, to “interfere” with the plaintiffs’ “Exclusive Promotional Agreement” with Andrade, and facilitate a buyout of his contract so that Roc Nation Sports could sign him.
According to The Daily News, reps for Roc Nation told Andrade that by dropping the Showtime fight and his existing promoters, the company could negotiate a bigger, better fight deal with HBO.
Label reps allegedly took Andrade and his family under their wings; inviting them to the company’s headquarters where they met president of Roc Nation Sports, Juan Perez and others.
The fighter eventually pulled out of the match, allegedly under pressure from Roc Nation, but was never paid, the suit claims, and “no serious efforts” were made to buyout Andrade’s contract.
According to The Daily News, the filing seeks $US20 million and punitive damages on the basis that Roc Nation acted “wilfully, maliciously, recklessly, wantonly and with intent to injure Star Boxing and Banner Promotions.”
The boxing promoters also claimed their relationship with Showtime has been irrevocably damaged, according to the New York Business Journal.
“Roc Nation’s promise to Andrade was made under false pretenses, namely, that Roc Nation was negotiating to purchase Andrade’s contract from the promoters and thereafter would negotiate a more lucrative bout for Andrade on HBO,” the official filing states. “Ultimately, Andrade agreed to Roc Nation’s false inducements and spurned the professional boxing match the promoters had negotiated with Showtime.”
Business Insider has reached out to Roc Nation and will update the post accordingly.
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