Last week I interviewed UFC welterweight, Court McGee, and discovered that he had been having issues with a sponsor that he thought hadn't met their obligations to him. The amount was a substantial one, definitely enough to warrant some loud noises and harsh words.
When my interview went live, here on Bloody Elbow, a contingency of our readers, as well as members from the UG forum, took up Court's cause and made it their mission to help him recoup the money he was owed. They bombarded Stroops MMA with emails and phone calls, and brought attention to the situation.
Stroops took immediate action and reached out to McGee's management company, Paradigm Sports. This was something unheard of to them, and they set about getting the situation handled, thinking that it might be the result of a salesman within the company that might have made the deal without informing the corporate brass.
Upon further investigation of their accounts, they discovered that they had indeed paid the money they owed to McGee, via two checks to his former manager, Gary Ibarra. At the time of payment, Court was still with AMR, the sports management company headed up by Ibarra.
I spoke with a representative from Paradigm Sports Management, Ryan Beuscher, who stated that Stroops provided him with copies of the checks that were paid out last summer, as well as a representative of Stroops MMA, Gary Harker, Director of Education. Both provided statements regarding this unfortunate incident, so that Court's fans and our readers can know, unequivocally, that Stroops handled their obligation in a timely fashion, and maintained their integrity and sterling reputation.
From Ryan Beuscher, on behalf of Court McGee:
I want to apologize to Stroops for the misunderstanding. When I said they had not paid me, I fully believed that was the case. They have since provided me with proof of payment to my former manager in August 2012, however I was never made aware of the payment. Thanks to all of my fans for supporting me on this issue. I have the greatest fans in the world and am grateful for each and every one of you. I ask that you please stand behind Stroops and help to clear their name, as they had in fact paid me for this sponsorship.
--Court "The Crusher" McGee
From Gary Harker, on behalf of Stroops MMA:
As soon as we found about it, we contacted Court directly, as well as his old agent, Gary Ibarra. We didn't know he had a new agent. When we were connected to his new management, we let them know that if there was something we hadn't paid, to let us know, and we were more than willing to take care of it. We didn't have the contract in front of us, but we wanted to make sure that we made good on the contract, if we hadn't done so already. We strive to honor ALL our contract obligations with everyone we involve ourselves with.
Within minutes of the the first post about this, we were on the phone, tracking down information as to where we might have gone wrong or what steps we might have missed. Within 24 hours, we found that we had made payment to Gary Ibarra, who was Court's agent at the time. We cut two checks to him, that were to be paid to Court McGee, as per the contract agreement.
We want everyone to know that we're a strong supporter of Court, and that we plan to continue supporting him and working with him in the future. We want people to hear our side of the story, so they know that it was all just a misunderstanding between Court and his old management, so that there's no hard feelings. We look forward to continuing our good relationship with him.
It should be noted that Stroops' representative said they spoke with Ibarra, who told them he had received their checks and had satisfied his financial responsibility to McGee. Court maintains that he never received the money from Ibarra, and during the course of my interview with him last week, mentioned his issues with AMR and subsequent change in management.