Bellator title challenger Rick Hawn says one of his sponsors cancelled his check after he lost to Michael Chandler in the promotion's debut on Spike TV. The sponsor has since replied, saying that Hawn will be paid.
Rick Hawn has proven himself a solid lightweight through his time on the regional circuit followed by a Bellator 155 pound tournament win. That win landed him in the top 20 of almost all lightweight rankings, no small accomplishment.
But Hawn's opportunity to try to wrest the lightweight title away from Bellator champ Michael Chandler did not go well. Hawn was trucked by the champ, who put on a stunningly dominant performance in the main event of Bellator's debut on Spike TV.
Rick coming up short in his title bid was apparently enough for one sponsor to decide that he doesn't deserve to get paid. Hawn posted the following on his Twitter account:
So one of my main sponsors from my fight canceled his check cuz he wasnt happy with the outcome or my performance. Read his explanations below.
"At this point, a stop payment has been placed on check which cannot be cashed or deposited now"
"I will not comment on Rick and his fight. That is not my place. But what I will tell you is this: I took a huge chance with him. TV exposure was great…but it only holds weight if he wins or puts on a good show. Neither happened. At the end of the day…not one sole (sp) will run to [my] store and buy product because they [saw my logo and saw] Rick loose (sp) the fight. I've made it my career and business to know what nets a return on investment for the brand…and this is the number 1 reason why I DO NOT hand out money or product to fighters."
Its funny how all my pics wearing his product are still up on his company pages even after he says and does all this stuff!!
A lawsuit is pending so I cannot comment on who it is just yet but stay tuned.
The only way this behavior would be even slightly acceptable were if the deal specified that he only got paid in the event of a win. If that deal were signed, Hawn should fire his manager immediately. But the fact that there was a check which the sponsor placed a stop on would seem to disprove that idea.
So what we're left with is a sponsor who got what he paid for, which is his brand exposed on what very well may be the highest rated Bellator show ever. It certainly is the highest rated show to this point, but there's a chance they never touch the numbers they did this past week again.
The idea that people would have only been interested in purchasing a product if they saw a guy win a fight where they sponsored him is so laughable as to not really deserve further comment.
A sponsor is paying for his brand to get airtime via placement on shorts or banners or whatever else. Hawn held up his end of the agreement, so I don't really see any way in which they won't win the lawsuit.
I do hope that no sort of out-of-court settlement takes place which prevents Hawn from disclosing who the company was publicly. It needs to be made public so that consumers are aware and can take actions to avoid such a vile business and so that other fighters are aware to avoid signing deals with them. Also, they should be publicly shamed for being in the "loose instead of lose" crowd.
More details may come out on this in the next few days, but it's unlikely there's some other "layer" to the story that puts Hawn in the wrong here.
UPDATE: It looks like Hawn will get paid after all. The sponsor in question (confirmed as HTFU) has agreed to pay Hawn after the news went public today.
According to HTFU CEO Mark Gingrich, the payment was stopped because of a verbal agreement whereby all of Hawn's corner would be wearing HTFU gear. The corner did not wear the gear, and so initially, Gingrich stopped payment, feeling that the terms of the deal had not been met. He has since changed his stance, and agreed to pay Hawn what was agreed on, telling MMA Fighting, "A new check has been issued to Rick... It has been mailed today."