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Jury Rules for Paradigm in Breach-of-Contract Claim Against Manny Pacquiao

Mehdian Law Firm

Manny Pacquiao, former eight-time boxing champion and former senator of the Philippines, was named defendant in a breach of contract lawsuit filed by his representative, plaintiff Paradigm Sports Management, in the Superior Court of Orange County, California.

The case arose under complicated circumstances. Paradigm, which is a sports management company, had signed Pacquiao in February 2020. There were talks of a possible megafight. However, since losing to Yordenis Ugas in 2021, Pacquiao hasn’t fought. He was scheduled to face welterweight champion Errol Spence, but Spence was injured and withdrew, and Ugas replaced him. Paradigm sought, but was not able to obtain, an injunction to stop the bout, which TGB Promotions presented.

TGB Promotions mostly works with Premier Boxing Champions (PBC). Pacquiao had previously had fights with PBC in 2019, and according to TGB’s attorney, TGB had an ongoing contractual relationship with the boxer that predated the contract for representation that he had with Paradigm. TGB attributes Paradigm’s failure to get an injunction to stop the bout their ongoing relationship with the boxer.

At trial, the plaintiff claimed that Pacquiao had not operated in good faith and hadn’t disclosed to it an arrangement with TGB Promotions. They also argued that the defendant wasn’t credible on questions of their contract. During the trial, evidence was presented that allegedly showed a Facetime conversation Pacquiao had with an executive previously at ESPN. In the face of that evidence, Pacquiao denied he knew through that executive was.

The plaintiff’s attorney also said that even though the boxer had an obligation to TGB Promotions, he accepted $3.3 million from Paradigm and yet refused a bout to face Mikey Garcia that Paradigm had arranged before the lawsuit was filed. Pacquiao’s business associates advised against the fight, and so the boxer worked with PCB instead and signed for a fight with Spence. Garcia, for his part, said that a deal was not reached, and he left Paradigm.

Ruling 9-3 in favor of Paradigm, which had represented Pacquiao, the jury issued a verdict against Pacquiao and rendered a judgment of $5.1 million, made up of $3.3 million in actual damages and $1.8 million in punitive damages. The jury ruled that the boxer acted in bad faith.

Pacquiao did not make it clear whether he will appeal. His legal team has insisted that a crucial piece of evidence should have been considered and wasn’t. After Paradigm closed its case, the boxer’s legal team put forward a motion for nonsuit, arguing that the contract between Pacquiao and Paradigm was invalid because it hadn’t been filled out on the requisite California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) paperwork. The sides hadn’t gone before the commission’s executive officer Andy Foster for his signature, which was also required.

In a prior case involving MMA world champion Ronda Rousey and her manager, Rousey’s legal team made a successful argument to invalidate the agreement on the same grounds. However, Rousey was licensed by CSAC at the time of the dispute, while Pacquiao was not, so it’s not clear what the ruling would be in Pacquiao’s case.

If you have a dispute involving breach of contract call experienced Los Angeles business litigation attorney Ben Mehdian to develop a fearless strategy to handle your case. Contact us at (844) 463-4342 or (310) 889-0706 or via our online form to schedule a consultation and protect your business.

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