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Exclusive: Impact FC Hasn’t Paid Its Fighters; Promoters Blame Each Other

(So does the "FC" stand for "Financially Challenged," "Financial Crisis" or "Fighters Cheated?") 

If you were one of the many people who had serious doubts that both of the upstart Impact Fighting Championships promotion’s two scheduled July MMA events would go off without a hitch and the issue would somehow relate back to Paulo Filho, you were right, except for the fact that the beleaguered Brazilian is not at all to blame for the controversy surrounding the shows.

The issue that has affected not only Filho, but also the majority of the fighters who competed on the pair of Australian cards, is that none of them have been paid by the promotion.

We learned of the situation Wednesday from one of the affected fighters who wished to remain anonymous, but have since been able to confirm the story with more than a dozen others, including Karo Parisyan, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Jesse Taylor and Brian Ebersole, that none of the cards’ participants have received their complete fight purses .

Although most commissions require that fighters be paid before the promoter leaves the arena the night of the show (some even hold onto and distribute the money themselves) none of the men who fought on either show received checks before flying home from Australia. A handful of them have since received partial payment – the most being 75% of what was owed, however most of the fighters we spoke to have yet to receive a dime, despite multiple phone calls they have made and emails they have sent to promoters Tom Huggins and Andrew McManus asking that they be paid.

What they have received are two ostensibly different accounts of who is to blame and who is responsible for the situation.

Impact’s purported financial backer, Andrew McManus who also owns and operates an Australian-based concert promotion firm and is the former promoter of the failed World Wrestling All-Stars professional wrestling organization that dissolved in 2003 after only two years of existence, claims that he was duped by Huggins.

Here is the statement he made to us via email:

“[Tom] Huggins has run back to Brazil and is uncontactable, whilst I (who never negotiated, contracted or was a party to any deal) have now been left trying to find funds to pay the men whilst all the false promises of sponsorships (never happened) and late gate sales and walk up all turned out to be lies,” McManus wrote.

A source close to the situation indicated that the UFC purportedly contacted any sponsors of the event who also sponsored UFC or WEC shows and told them in no uncertain terms that if they backed Impact, they would no longer be welcomed as a ZUFFA sponsor. As such, several sponsors pulled out last-minute, adding to the promotion’s financial issues.

Huggins, who has managed a number of fighters including Jorge Gurgel, Mario Sperry and Murilo Bustamante and has been involved with a number of MMA promotions in some capacity in his nearly 16 years in the sport — most recently as the executive production consultant for the Brazilian-based Bitetti Combat organization, had this to say in response to McManus’ email:

“That statement is categorically untrue. I can provide you with the agreement between Andrew and myself, which clearly demonstrates that my responsibility was to procure fighters and make matches for the event within a given budget. The agreement clearly shows that ALL of the financing for the events, including fighter purses, was the responsibility of McManus,” Huggins wrote in his reply. “That being said, I feel that at the end of the day McManus being the professional that he is will fulfill his obligations and that the fighters will be paid.”

As of the time of writing, we have yet to receive a copy of the contract from Huggins, but we were told in a subsequent email that he will be sending along a scanned copy of the document so he can clear his name.

We requested a copy of the document from McManus, but he says that he never signed the written agreement he alleges was drafted by Huggins long after the terms of their venture had already been established. He also said that Huggins is not responding to telephone or email inquiries from his office, the fighters or their management.

“You are one of the few people who has been able to get Huggins to respond whilst he hides in his Brazilian province. The fact is that Tom Huggins is a 50% shareholder in Impact MMA (Aud) LLC with his shares held in his name.(This can be, if necessary, proven and identified). A joint venture agreement with terms not accepted or agreed to was created by Huggins yet has NEVER and will NEVER be signed or agreed to," McManus stated. "His failure to deliver on all parts of the failed venture should give him a conscience whilst me or my company has never been involved with the port of cage fighting previously and went ahead under promises and guarantees of delivery by Huggins.”

Huggins’ Linkedin profile, which lists him as the “Promoter, Owner, President at Impact FC,” does little to refute McManus’ claim that he was much more than just a matchmaker for the promotion, as he indicated to us yesterday.

It’s likely safe to say at this point that the organization won’t be putting on a September show in Brazil as previously planned.

We’ll have more as the story develops.


Cagepotato Comments

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fatbellyfrank- July 30, 2010 at 5:25 pm
@ Boner, yeah I agree those Austrians are sick fucks, what was that little Austrians name, Adolf Hitler or something?
PS Couch has still got your name on it Bro
Nicole Kidman is releived you would never fuck with the Drover
ghostboner- July 30, 2010 at 2:43 pm
@FBF - Oh no no no I meant Austrians. You know, Aussie, as in some criminal fucker from Austria. You know, like the VonTrapp family or something. Not Australia. I would never fuck with the Drover.
jzdelona- July 30, 2010 at 12:15 pm
"A source close to the situation indicated that the UFC purportedly contacted any sponsors of the event who also sponsored UFC or WEC shows and told them in no uncertain terms that if they backed Impact, they would no longer be welcomed as a ZUFFA sponsor. As such, several sponsors pulled out last-minute, adding to the promotion’s financial issues."

Damn! ImpactFC has got that chinless hairless wonder pretty fucking scared if he gotta sabotage the fight like that. Its a shame, i hope everyone gets paid but people really need to look at the peice of dogshit in the oatmeal instead of Impact FC. They lined up their backers, they had their ducks in a row etc and it was like a pudgy pasty middle age dude came over and kicked it over like kicking over a little kid's sand castle. Jeez!!

UFC is turning into a monopoly-the fucking Wal-Mart of MMA. Is that what we want? Theyre threatened obviously by the list of UFC champions, old and young they do bring attention, and who knows what other petty reasons...oh, say maybe they wanted to punish a fighter publicly by suspending him then the fighter instead of sitting moping over punishment had no problem getting work elsewhere and someone didnt like that. What an insecure and crude little man that would be to resent that...

UFC may treat their fighters like shit, but yes they do get paid. That and flashy lights are the only advantage they have though. For a first time show Impact FC put forth a good effort, and probably dont bully their fighters, treating them like animals to be used and discarded. So to prevent any possible edge from this tee tiny company I guess a financial sabotage was in order.
As far as the waffling complaints of Mcmanus there is a difference b/t a prediction and a promise. Gate sales and walk up are predictions, therefore if inaccurate do not consist of a lie. And having seen Huggin's dedication to the sport and esp the fighters stemming from his longtime history with the sport from the early days, it is very likely he is pulling a rabbit out of a hat somewhere, a very expensive one, in order to make this right in case Mcmanus truly is a flake.
I'm sure everyone will get paid, but in the meantime its unfair to see a promising start up stomped on by the all-powerful Zuffa plushies and maybe the anger needs to be directed towards the true source of the ugliness. And in case anyone is wondering, no I do not work for, represent, or am associated with Impact FC, Mcmanus, or Huggins in any way. Its just that such a blatant display of a huge monolithic corporation attacking a start up company is a damn shame. Without competition and variation it would be like closing down your favorite family-run corner ethnic bistro and everyone in the world shopping only at Sam's Club and eating at McDonalds every day.

spermburger- July 30, 2010 at 4:37 am
Looks like Bob Sapp was right.. He must have got all that knowledge by eating a financial planner.
fatbellyfrank- July 30, 2010 at 1:13 am
@ Mruss, if ya need any extra research, or a driver, assistant in the pursuit of this story, just drop me a line
fatbellyfrank- July 30, 2010 at 1:11 am
@ Boner, my bad, obviously responding to you my friend
fatbellyfrank- July 30, 2010 at 1:05 am
^^ theivin, lyin, cheatin, Kangaroo fucken potato stealin fucken lowlifes the lot of us Drano, and we love it!.
As for Dana gettin a bit heavy, don't know about Huggins but McManus is a fucken class A shyster, he pretty much fucked over the majority of Wrestlers he dealt with and now it seems he's gonna do it to these guys.
If theres a way to keep fuckheads like him away from MMA ( as he stated himself, he's never been involved in MMA) then I reckon we use it,
ghostboner- July 30, 2010 at 12:57 am
While I agree with ccman for the most part, this one just seems vindictive. They are on the other side of the world, and I really don't think they pose any threat to the UFC. Maybe Dana just wanted to fuck Karo to get even for the multiple dickings Karo gave him.

And agentsmith, I really hope that link is to Enry Iggins...
ghostboner- July 30, 2010 at 12:52 am
We all know those Aussie chaps are a bunch of criminals....

MRuss I'm glad you signed this so I can berate you for your hair or something.
Dick_Gozenya- July 29, 2010 at 5:06 pm
Wow, sounds like everybody's feeling a real IMPACT on their wallet. It's a KO to the bank account...

... and I'm spent.
fatbellyfrank- July 29, 2010 at 3:59 pm
OK, my two cents worth, this McManus guy is a fucken dick, he did the exact same thing with that wrasslin show he tried to do, sign up every has been and freak show, circus around the country for a month and hold out on paying.
I agree with UFC playing heavy with these fuckers, there not interested in promoting MMA just makin a quick buck with bullshit shows.
There are a couple of promotions here in Australia who put on regular cards and promote MMA, CFC and XtremeMMA spring to mind, both these promotion s try to get some US talent on some of their cards but use em against local fighters and everyone wins, the veteran gets a pay day, our guys get to step up to better opposition and the promotions build return business.
People like McManus should just pack up the snake oil wagon and get the fuck out of MMA
fatbellyfrank- July 29, 2010 at 3:52 pm
@Fiveforfive, sure as shit was dude, keep an eye on your wallet !
ccman- July 29, 2010 at 1:25 pm
I find it insanely ammussing how we love a sport where people compete to harm the oppenent as much as possible and we cheer, but use the same mentallity in business and your all tree huggin "spread the wealth" commies fresh off the commune.
fiveforfive- July 29, 2010 at 12:33 pm
OMG LOL check out bloodyelbow, they are saying YOU GUYS did some EXCELLENT REPORTING. This is making me feel wierd.
fiveforfive- July 29, 2010 at 12:22 pm
Wasn't Australia founded by bandits and convicts?
rearnakedchickenchoke- July 29, 2010 at 10:56 am
those of us old enough to recall and experience the dotcom bust remember that FC = fuckedcompany(.com). (they were a site that chronicalled the downfall of many such companies). But it sounds like the shoe fits here as well. R.I.P. FC.
glassjawsh- July 29, 2010 at 10:54 am
am i the only who see's the part about choking off (heh ive done that to a girl before) other promotions revenue streams and thusly leading to the fighters not getting paid as wal-mart style evil? it's cool to be #1 and all (im actually all for it) but once you mess with these guys ability to pay the bills (especially after services have already been rendered) then you are racheting up the shitheadedness to evil soulless corporation levels.
Almost North- July 29, 2010 at 10:28 am
Dana, please focus your satanic powers on Strikeforce not regional organizations.

Now Karo's entire extended family will starve.

Josh Barnett will shrink like Mario getting hit with a turtle shell.

Sokoudjou will only be able to pay enough to his hype team to be mildly overrated.

Filho will have to buy off-brand coco puffs.

Jesse Taylor will have to go back to stealing alcohol from frat parties.

Thats on you Dana.
El Guapo- July 29, 2010 at 9:12 am
"Dude, brrro, dude. Where's my pay, brrro?" -The Heat
Chiggs- July 29, 2010 at 9:10 am
Hah! I got to the Name Andrew Mcmanus an quit reading and caring right there. That dude is a fuckin scummy pro wrestling/Music Promoter who screwed around a ton of bigger name wrestlers after starting the WWA and fucked around the Jarretts(owned TNA wrestling) He also has been known to screw around music talents an venues as well. Another Promotion bites the dust I guess...
Lysol- July 29, 2010 at 9:06 am
A promoter screwing its fighters? Please pardon my terrible acting while I pretend to be surprised
J-Dog- July 29, 2010 at 8:55 am
Agreed w/ agentsmith. The UFC's strongarm tactics are not very appealing. I'm a big UFC fan, and I think they are the best organization by far... but come on! When the UFC releases fighters and they tell them to go get some wins in the "minor leagues" so they can try to come back to the UFC later, where the hell are they supposed to go if the UFC is constantly trying to squash all the minor league organizations?
agentsmith- July 29, 2010 at 8:40 am
Bad Higgins! hxxp://
ReX13- July 29, 2010 at 8:39 am
agentsmith>> agreed. Not like Impact FC was stealing the UFC's thunder down under.
ReX13- July 29, 2010 at 8:35 am
Stupid "your comment was flagged as spam". Now i look like a dumbass with a double post.