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Daniel Franco sues Jay Z and Roc Nation over his brain injury

Franco claims Roc Nation Sports’ negligence led to his traumatic brain injury in 2017.

Andre Ward v Alexander Brand Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

Former featherweight boxer Daniel Franco has filed a lawsuit against his former promotional company Roc Nation Sports and its founder Jay Z, alleging negligence on their part which he believes lead to his unfortunate brain injury in a 2017 fight against Jose Haro.

Franco would suffer two brain bleeds in that outing and was placed in a medically induced coma as doctors tried to save his life. The fighter would later reemerge from his coma just over a week later, but obviously not without lingering consequences. And adding insult to injury was the fact that Roc Nation Sports failed to step up for their fighter, with Franco’s father claiming the company basically shunned them while they simply tried to raise money to cover Daniel’s overwhelming medical bills.

The lawsuit Franco has now filed against the company and its figurehead claims they were negligent for booking Franco in three fights within 79 days, knowing he wasn’t physically prepared to fight so often in that time frame.

“The actions of Defendants were an extreme departure from what a reasonably careful person or corporation would do in the same situation to prevent harm to its boxers,” said the lawsuit, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN. “Roc Nation and other Defendants recklessly disregarded the health and safety of Franco.”

Furthermore the lawsuit alleges that Roc Nation was made aware that Franco was ill with the flu leading into a March 23, 2017 fight against Christopher Martin, leaving him unable to train for several weeks. When Franco and his team informed Roc Nation that they needed that fight to be canceled or postponed due to the circumstances, they were told that Franco must follow through with the fight as scheduled or he would have difficulty securing future fights. Franco acquiesced and was knocked out in three rounds.

Franco would then be scheduled to fight 50 days later, in a bout he won, and then less than a month after that his promoter demanded he face Haro in a June 10th fight that would ultimately be his last — at least inside of the ring.

“Roc Nation knew, or should have known, that fighting Haro on June 10, 2017 put Franco at a high risk of harm and danger given the Martin knockout and the high number of fights. Defendants acted wrongfully and negligently when they scheduled and promoted the June 10, 2017 fight so soon after the other two fights, including the Martin knockout. Defendants also did not adequately ensure that Franco received appropriate medical clearance prior to scheduling the June 10, 2017 fight.”

The lawsuit follows up by stating that Franco’s skull fractures and brain bleed likely occurred in the two fights immediately preceding the Haro fight in June, and that had an MRI or another brain imaging scan had been performed those injuries would’ve been revealed beforehand.

Franco, 27, continues to suffer from persistent neurological issues as a result of his brain trauma, including trouble with his speech, balance, motor functions, and a weakness throughout the whole right side of his body, making it extremely difficult for him to engage in routine daily activities. Franco has undergone three additional brain surgeries since the original, and continues to be missing a portion of his skull which requires him to wear a protective helmet. All the while the medical bills have continued to pile up, and Franco’s family say Roc Nation have continued to ignore them.

Roc Nation, naturally, has declined to comment on the situation.

Franco continues to have a Go Fund Me page up, where they’ve managed to raise a little over $69,000 in generous donations to assist with Franco’s medical expenses. We at BLH wish Franco and his family all the best as they try to recover.

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