Charr suffers legal loss as WBA dismissed from lawsuit; charges against DKP remain

By Scott Shaffer


Charr suffers legal loss as WBA dismissed from lawsuit; charges against DKP remain

Former WBA regular heavyweight champion Mahmoud Charr a/k/a Manuel Charr has lost his lawsuit against the WBA because he failed to follow the WBA's rules for internal appeals before suing. In legal terms, Judge William P. Dimitrouleas of the Southern District of Florida dismissed the lawsuit for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Charr was stripped of the WBA secondary title after a 2021 dispute with promoter Don King. Charr still has his lawsuit pending against Don King Productions and King himself, but the WBA may never have to answer Charr's claims that King and his company illegally provided the WBA and its president Gilberto Mendoza, Jr. with money and things of value in exchange for making King's boxer, Trevor Bryan, the mandatory contender for Charr's title. Charr was supposed to defend his title against Bryan, but with King balking at puttig on the fight, Charr was stripped of his title and Bryan instead fought a hand-picked opponent (Bermane Stiverne) to win Charr's title without having to face Charr. 

The WBA issued a news release stating, the "court’s lengthy document explains that the plaintiff could have followed the regular procedures of the WBA’s internal rules, but by not doing so, three charges Charr’s team had filed against the organization were dismissed."

Paraphrasing the court's decision, the WBA argued that because it was sued based on allegations that it failed to follow its own rules, Charr also had to follow WBA rules, including the WBA rules which require him to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to bringing suing in court. Upon consideration, the court agreed with the WBA that "regardless of the form or theory of the individual claims pled against WBA, each of Charr’s claims against WBA is rooted in allegations that WBA violated or failed to enforce its own rules and regulations governing the purported actions and events at issue. Defendant WBA contends that Charr’s claims against WBA must be dismissed for failure to state a claim... because he has made no effort to comply with the contractually required remedies contained in the WBA Rules. The court agrees. The Amended Complaint fails to adequately allege that this condition precedent to suit has been satisfied, which is fatal to these claims. Charr’s response of futility is unavailing. This argument is impermissibly raised in the response brief, as it was not pled in the Amended Complaint... the futility exception, however, requires more than that the grievance procedures be unpromising... Rather, [Charr] must ordinarily at least have attempted to use the administrative remedies as set forth in the WBA Rules and have been denied meaningful relief... Accordingly, the court will dismiss [Charr's] claims against the WBA.
FEB. 6, 2023: Here are excerpts from heavyweight Mahmoud Charr's most recent court filing in his lawsuit against the WBA and its president Gilberto Mendoza Jr., as well as Don King Productions and its principal, promoter Don King. Charr, the former WBA regular heavyweight champion,was stripped of his title after a Don King-promoted bout fell through in 2021. The WBA is seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed, and here is Charr's overview as to why the motion to dismiss should be denied: "The WBA’s motion to dismiss heavyweight Mahmoud Charr's lawsuit begins by falsely alleging that Charr was stripped of his WBA regular title because he did not obtain a visa to enter the United States in time to defend his title. This argument amounts to a classic case of victim blaming. The WBA knows that Charr was prevented from obtaining his visa by co-defendants Don King and Don King Productions, Inc. (“the King defendants”) as part of an illicit pay-to-play scheme devised by the WBA and the other defendants in this case. This scheme [allegedly] involved the King defendants illegally providing money and things of value to the WBA and its president Gilberto Mendoza Jr. to artificially elevate the rankings of the King defendants’ fighter, Trevor Bryan, so that the WBA and Mendoza could later replace Charr with Bryan as the new WBA regular champion.
"The WBA nonetheless argues that it stripped Charr of his title because he and his promotional team failed to obtain a visa in time for the title bout against Bryan. However, the evidence attached to the Amended Complaint proves this is false. More specifically, the WBA’s standard purse bid contract states that the “Promoter” (in this case the King defendants) is responsible for obtaining a fighter’s visa.
"Still, the King defendants refused to execute the standard purse bid contract and thereby prevented Charr from obtaining his visa (which could only be issued if Charr presented a signed copy of the contract to authorities). Once it was clear the King defendants blocked Charr from traveling to the United States to defend his title, the WBA, consistent with its role in the scheme, provided no opportunity for Charr to appeal this obstruction. The WBA  immediately stripped Charr’s title and sanctioned a new bout between Bryan and another of the King’s fighters, Bermane Stiverne. The WBA similarly inflated Stiverne’s rankings so that he could face Bryan in the bout as Stiverne was otherwise unqualified to contend for the WBA regular heavyweight title. 
"The timeline of events exposes the WBA’s involvement: As alleged, in the weeks leading up to the fight, Charr repeatedly asked the King defendants for a copy of the signed bout contract so he could obtain his visa from German authorities. His last request was made to the King defendants on January 26, 2021. Despite being aware of Charr’s troubles obtaining a visa as a result of the King defendants’ obstruction, the WBA proceeded to strip Charr of his title on January 29, 2021 (three days later) and thereafter anointed Bryan the new WBA regular heavyweight Champion. At least one WBA official later confirmed it was Mendoza’s decision to strip Charr of his title. In other words, even if the WBA had afforded Charr an opportunity to file an appeal based on the King defendants’ obstruction, the WBA, Mendoza, and the King defendants maneuvered the situation to ensure any appeal would be futile as they knew Mendoza had the final say and the WBA rules did not award damages to a fighter in this situation. 
"To no surprise, the WBA spins a completely different narrative in its motion while ignoring the fact that its Rules concerning the ratings criteria for fighters were clearly violated by inflating the rankings of the King defendants’ fighters, Bryan and Stiverne. Because Charr has pled sufficient ultimate facts to support his claims, and because these claims arise from tortious conduct committed by the WBA in Florida and from the WBA’s violations of federal statutes (neither of which implicates WBA rules and/or the WBA’s internal dispute process), the Court should deny the WBA’s Motion to Dismiss Counts I, II, VI, and VII."