World Series of Fighting is set to hold their fourth event in just under two weeks, but yesterday Jan Blachowicz went public with his complaints that WSOF had cost him a fight by having him sign a one fight deal only to change their mind and try to get him to sign a four fight/three year contract.
It's in these early days that we, as MMA fans and media, get the opportunity to learn about promotions, how they do business and about the people conducting that business -- similar to the MMA world being introduced to the classic story of Bjorn Rebney, Sugar Ray Leonard, a private investigator and a dead dog when Bellator got going.
While Ray Sefo is the public face of WSOF, a man named Shawn Lampman supposedly handles much of the promotion's day-to-day business. One source told me that Lampman is behind the business strategy of purchasing promotions for international expansion,which led to purchasing the promotion that put on last weekend's Ricardo Mayorga fight and turned it into a "World Series of Fighting" presents.
Lampman is a long time real estate developer in the Las Vegas area, he was formerly CEO and Founder of Las Vegas Gaming Investments -- as seen on his LinkedIn profile:
Las Vegas Gaming Investments and Lampman were in the news around North Las Vegas pretty extensively in the early 2000s as part of an ethics complaint against North Las Vegas mayor Michael Montandon (via Las Vegas Sun):
The complaint heightens an already complicated application by Station Casinos to build a casino on the Craig Ranch Golf Course. The council last month unanimously voted in favor of the project, which would result in Station giving up its rights to an already-approved casino site at Martin Luther King Boulevard and Coralie Avenue.
"Of course there is great concern if the mayor and Shawn Lampman are involved in a project together," Lewis said.
Lampman, a real estate agent with Las Vegas Gaming Investments, has represented the owners of the golf course -- Stimson Enterprises, Inc. -- each time items relating to the casino project have come before the planning commission or City Council.
According to the complaint, Lampman plans to buy 36 acres on the golf course from the Stimson family and resell the land to Station for a profit. Station will then build a casino on the property.
When Montandon voted in favor of the casino on the golf course last month he disclosed that he and Lampman had been business partners but no longer have a business relationship.
Montandon, however, did not disclose their relationship in September 2000 when he voted to rezone 36 acres on the golf course to allow for the construction of a casino.
Effectively, Montandon and Lampman became friends in 1997, bonding over their mutual enjoyment of riding motorcycles. On one ride, Montandon told Lampman he was interested in buying a parcel of land, the two men formed MMSL LLC in 1999 and purchased a 10 acre parcel of land with Lampman controlling 66.66% of the MMSL and Montandon controlling the other 33.33%.
Montandon failed to meet the terms of a promissory note for his third of the company and the default led to Lampman controlling the entire LLC. The two remained friends, but that was effectively the end of their direct business relationship.
But Montandon's failure to disclose his prior business dealings with Lampman ended up being found to be a non issue by the Nevada Commission on Ethics -- you can read the opinion on the decision here.
The next time Lampman's name made it to the news in a major way was in a 2007 lawsuit.
In this case, Lampman was on the board of a homeowner's association and was accused of taking money from the association account.
Fifty-seven Desert Carmel residents and "minority" lot owners sued Lampman, Bealmear and others in November 2007, claiming they had used their board memberships to enrich themselves at the expense of the community. They claimed the board members – the majority owners – had conspired to drive down property values to acquire more lots at a discount. They planned to re-subdivide and redevelop Desert Carmel, according to claims in the lawsuit.
Plaintiffs said the association made it all but impossible for minority owners to build on their own lots. On top of that, the association neglected maintenance and upkeep of common areas, closing two clubhouses and filling a swimming pool with dirt, according to documents filed by the plaintiffs.
Lampman denied that he or other board members sought to drive down property values. He and his partners invested $13 million in buying some 2,500 lots in a 2005 bankruptcy sale, he said.
In a Sept. 8 motion, however, plaintiffs’ attorneys said board members bled the association’s account by some $345,000 – leaving a balance of only $44,000. The complaint added: "They have spent nothing on maintenance or improvements for the community."
One of the more serious complaints accuses Lampman himself of stealing association funds. The Sept. 8 motion said he made 19 separate withdrawals totaling $665,000 beginning in September 2007.
In February 2008, the court appointed a special master to audit the association’s financial records. The DC board made the books available in May of that year – just after Lampman returned all the money.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys noted, "It certainly cannot be described as a coincidence."
Lampman's defense of taking the $665,000 was that he had his own personal account at the same bank as the association and that the nineteen separate withdrawls were accidental. Lampman called it "a bank error."
There were a slew of other complaints related to the case. The board appeared to neglect upkeep on the properties, with Lampman and the other defendants having majority control of the vote, they were able to control expenditures.
A judge declared them "grossly negligent" and took away control of the association from Lampman and his associations, putting the homeowner's association in receivership (control of a court appointed individual/individuals) in October of 2007. Bloody Elbow contacted the Pinal County Superior Court who confirmed that the association remains in receivership with that receivership making necessary payments for the association as recently as in the past few months.
Most recently, in April of this year, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported that Lampman was being charged by the government with not filing his tax returns from 2006 through 2008. During which time Lampman made a combined income of $8.7 million.
Bloody Elbow has reached out to WSOF to speak about Lampman, his history and his exact role in the company. WSOF has not responded as of the time of this writing. But we will follow up with any more details, statements or other information as they're available.