In a written order by Judge John H. Walter, the antitrust claims Bob Arum has levied against Al Haymon has been dismissed. This is a major setback for Arum's lawsuit as the antitrust claims were a core aspect of his $100M lawsuit against the Premier Boxing Champions founder.
The judge has also granted co-defendant Waddell & Reed's motion to be removed from the lawsuit, affirming that they should not be directly involved in the litigation. Waddell & Reed is the investment firm that poured over $400M from one of its hedge funds to bankroll Haymon's PBC series.
"The Court concludes that Top Rank has failed to allege sufficient facts to suggest that the Waddell Defendants entered into an illegal agreement to restrain trade," Walter wrote in his 24-page ruling, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN.com.
Judge Walters did, however, give Arum until Oct. 30 to file an amended complaint against Haymon, something Arum fully intends to do.
As for the antitrust claims, the crux of Arum's lawsuit against Haymon and his investors was based on his assertion that Haymon purchasing millions of dollars worth of airtime on numerous networks was monopolistic in nature, and therefore violated federal antitrust laws. Arum also alleged that Haymon's business practices violate that Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, which prohibits a person from acting as both a manager and promoter. Arum accuses Haymon of functioning in both capacities for his stable of 200+ fighters and only hires "sham promoters" in order to skirt the law. The problem with these allegations for the judge was that Arum has yet to provide adequate evidence that his promotional company, Top Rank, has been injured by Haymon.
"The Court concludes that Top Rank has not adequately alleged injury to itself," Walter wrote. "Top Rank alleges that the Haymon Defendants engage in unlawful conduct in the form of exclusionary 'tie out' contracts, the use of 'sham' promoters, predatory 'payola practices,' and venue blocking. However, as the Haymon Defendants point out, Top Rank has failed to allege how it has been injured by the alleged conduct."
"Indeed, it has not identified a single bout that it has attempted to promote but was precluded from promoting by the Haymon Defendants, a single venue from which it has been blocked, or a single network that has refused to broadcast a fight promoted by Top Rank. Top Rank correctly argues that competitors who are 'frozen out' of a market by an antitrust violation have suffered antitrust injury and possess antitrust standing. However, Top Rank has failed to allege any facts demonstrating that it has actually been 'frozen out' by any of the Haymon Defendants' conduct."
This may also spell a setback for Golden Boy Promotions, who have a $300M lawsuit against Haymon and Waddell & Reed themselves.