On April 3rd, Dana White and the UFC were named in a Clark County District Court of Nevada lawsuit that has roots in a notorious 2015 blackmail case involving a then-unnamed Las Vegas “businessman.”
The Las Vegas Review-Journal was the first to report on the filing.
That businessman has now allegedly been identified as UFC president Dana White.
Back in 2015, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on an extortion scheme that had been investigated by the FBI and resulted in the suspect, Ernesto Joshua Ramos, entering into a plea bargain.
According to the prosecutors, Ramos had obtained a video recording of his live-in-girlfriend having sex with the unnamed businessman, whom she had met while working as a dancer at a Las Vegas strip club. Ramos was accused of threatening the victim with the release of the sex tapes, unless he was paid $200,000.
The court had taken the unprecedented move of sealing the suspect’s identity, with the FBI complaint describing him as “a married Las Vegas resident who has two minor children and who is ‘part-owner of a well-known business’ with access to a company jet.”
In the new filing, Ramos names Dana White, UFC Holdings, and a number of unnamed individuals and companies as defendants.
In his claim, Ramos alleges that Dana White had met his girlfriend at Spearmint Rhino, where she worked as a dancer. White was apparently a regular client, having paid her as much as $200,000 for “entertainment” during his visits. But the two did not have any personal dating relationship before White invited her to attend UFC 179 in Brazil with him, with the UFC supplying a first-class ticket and an expedited passport.
The suit also alleges that “on the same trip, White’s in-laws and the co-owners of the UFC were accompanied by other eye candy to whom they were not married.” How that is germane to the case is not made clear.
Ramos claims his girlfriend traveled knowing that she was expected to have sex with White, which she did. She also recorded their encounter on her cell phone.
For this Ramos’s girlfriend was paid $5,000 before the trip, and the Spearmint Rhino was paid an additional $10,000 afterwards, $8,000 of which was paid to his girlfriend.
Ramos claims that he became upset upon learning of the sexual encounter and contacted White, who denied the incident. Ramos then forwarded White the video his girlfriend had recorded as evidence.
At this point, Ramos alleges that White and other officials either with or representing the UFC, engaged in what sounds like a conspiracy to suppress the release of the tape in order to protect the planned sale of the company.
According to Ramos’s complaint, either White or someone associated with the UFC contacted the FBI or the US Attorney and alleged that White was being extorted. Ramos claims they did so even though he had not asked for any money. The purpose of the complaint was to prevent him from revealing the incident or having the sex tape released to the public.
In the suit, Ramos alleges that the UFC’s motivation was its fear that negative publicity involving the face of the company would hurt the planned sale of the company. The owners of the UFC at the time were the Lorenzo Fertitta, Frank Fertitta, Dana White, and the Abu-Dhabi based Flash Entertainment, who eventually sold the promotion for $4 billion in 2016.
Ramos then accuses the FBI of setting up a sting operation for him, when they instead should have been investigating White for a violation of the Mann Act, after White had confessed to taking his girlfriend outside the country’s borders and paying her for the purpose of sexual activity.
According to Ramos, it was White who asked for an amount to keep the video out of the public. When Ramos, after being prompted, agreed to the $200,000 price, and then later received a check for that amount, he was arrested and charged by the FBI.
Ramos seems to suggest that his original attorney, Pete Christiansen, did not have his best interests at heart, as the plaintiff was apparently unaware that Christiansen was an acquaintance of White’s before representing Ramos. Ramos hired new counsel, Grabriel Grasso, who represented him when he was offered a plea agreement by the US Attorney’s office.
According to the complaint, White’s counsel called Ramos’s new counsel Gabriel Grasso and advised him that White would pay Ramos an amount that “could or would approach or exceed one million dollars,” for a nondisclosure agreement related to White’s actions.
Ramos does not claim he was offered any financial incentive to enter his plea, but instead for signing an NDA.
After pleading guilty, Ramos participated in a mediation with White on April 5th, 2016 to determine the amount of compensation for him. According to the complaint, “White failed to offer Ramos a cent.” He did offer to double the amount that had been paid to his girlfriend, which was $15,000 to that date.
Ramos alleges in his complaint that “the actions of White were fraudulent, oppressive and designed to encourage Ramos to plead guilty so he could negotiate a substantial settlement which would prevent the disclosure of his actions at trial for the personal benefit of White and his related businesses and interests.”
Ramos is therefore accusing White and his attorney of breaching their agreement, wherein he was to be paid a substantial amount of money if he did not disclose the encounter and forfeited the video. But after complying with the agreement and serving his sentence, the defendants have failed to pay him as agreed.
“I just found out that a bullshit lawsuit was filed against me yesterday,” White said in a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Adam Hill on Saturday. “This guy went to federal prison for trying to extort me over five years ago. Now, he’s hired a lawyer who is also a convicted felon, and he’s trying to extort me again for $10 million. He got no money from me last time, and he won’t be getting any money from me this time. I look forward to the court dismissing this quickly, so I can get rid of these scumbags forever.”
Bloody Elbow has also reached out to the UFC for a comment regarding this story, but is yet to receive a response.