WBKFF, the bare knuckle fighting promotion that held its first card on November 9 in Casper, Wyoming, has reportedly failed to pay many of its fighters that competed on the card.
BJPenn.com’s Tom Taylor was able to confirm with a number of fighters who competed on the card that payments are still outstanding. Several of these fighters claimed none of the fighters involved with the card have been paid.
I've now spoken with a number of the fighters who competed on the first @WBKFF card, all of whom say they have not yet been paid. Several have told me nobody has been paid.
— Tom Taylor (@TomTayMMA) December 12, 2018
Future Legend, the management company of WBKFF main event fighter Phil Baroni, confirmed Baroni is still awaiting payment. Future Legend also claimed that, other than a few partial payments of small amounts such as “$400”, no other WBKFF fighters have been paid. Furthermore, the management outfit confirmed that one fighter who won a new Mustang for the card’s Fight of the Night honors, has had the car repossessed for nonpayment.
“None of them got paid,” Future Legend told BJPENN.com. “The other kid that won the Mustang, that car got repo’d. They didn’t pay for it.”
The Hilton Garden Inn Casper, the hotel that hosted the WBKFF staff and athletes throughout fight week has also allegedly not been paid in full for services rendered. The hotel sales team was not available for comment at the time of this writing.
This news, while extremely disappointing, is not entirely shocking. In the days leading up this fight, former football player Shawne Merriman withdrew from his scheduled WBKFF fight citing contract issues. Days after Merriman’s withdrawal, Bellator veteran Brennan Ward withdrew from his planned main event battle with Johny Hendricks for the same reason.
Despite these setbacks, the first WBKFF card went ahead. Shortly after this card occurred, Bas Rutten, who was appointed the WBKFF President, issued a lengthy statement detailing the turmoil that led up to the event (read it in full here).
The official WBKFF website, which was active mere hours before this article was published, seems to have been deactivated.
BJPenn.com is able to confirm that multiple fighters involved with this card will be pursuing legal action against the promotion.
Stay tuned for further updates on this situation as they emerge.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 12/12/2018.