Wyoming Athletic Commission issues statement on WBKFF fighters not getting paid

WBKFF
Image: Christopher Cook / WBKFF on Instagram

On November 9, upstart bareknuckle fighting promotion World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation (WBKFF), held its first event. While this event generated significant public interest, in ended in chaos, as many of the fighters who competed on the card were not paid for their work.

This week, the Wyoming Athletic Commission, the commission that oversaw the bout, issued a statement on this ugly ordeal (h/t Focus Fights).

Here’s what the commission has to say about WBKFF.

To the Fighters and Managers of the WBKFF event on 11/9/18:

We appreciate your inquiries. We can provide you with some general information regarding your requests. There is a bond in the amount of $10,000 in which the Wyoming Board of Mixed Martial Arts is the obligee. The Bond is coverage of fees owed to the Board. Whether or not this applies to fighter purses isn’t clear and we are working to clarify this. The Board is not a party to the contracts between fighters and WBKFF and therefore cannot get involved in the underlying contractual dispute. Accordingly, the Board has limited authority in this matter. WBKFF should provide copies of fighter contracts to the named party in the contract if you do not have that information. If WBKFF refuses to provide your fighter contract to you, please let us know.

It is our current understanding that WBKFF is willing to pay their debts as they have indicated a willingness to take a line of credit if necessary to perform on their outstanding obligations. We have been informed that this cannot happen, however, until the company is at least six months old, which means it cannot happen until late January. For your informational purposes only, WBKFF should be receiving their ppv money in approximately 90 days.

While the board works to clarify whether the bond can cover fighter purses, fighters are still free to pursue their own contractual remedies against WBKFF if they so desire. Wyoming statute currently requires the Board have a bond not exceeding $10,000 per event. To date, we have not encountered fighter payment issues as in the present matter and therefore we have not encountered issues relating to bonds, especially as it relates to using the bonds in favor of fighter purses. However, in light of the current situation, statutory changes have been proposed which would clearly delineate that fighter purses are within the purview of the bond and ensure the bond covers fighter purses in case a similar situation arises in the future. 

What do you make of this WBKFF situation?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 12/20/2018.