Thomas was riding in his teammate’s car toward the Crown
Coliseum when he got word that his bout with Ricardo
Mayorga at Saturday’s ill-fated Shine Fights 3 “Worlds Collide”
in Fayetteville, N.C., was likely off.
Thomas’ suspicions were confirmed when he arrived to the venue and
co-promoter Dorian Price
approached the fighter with a look of desperation on his face.
“He said, ‘Listen, we’re sorry, man, but we had to pull the
fight,’” recalled Thomas, who’d spent the last two months training
for the 36-year-old boxer in what was to be Mayorga’s mixed martial
A few hours earlier, Broward County, Fla., Judge Marc Gold had
granted Don King Promotions’ injunction to prevent Mayorga from
legally fighting on the card, citing an exclusive contract the
Nicaraguan prizefighter had signed with DKP in October 2009.
Thomas said he’d been instructed at the hotel by Shine employees
that the fight would go on as planned, though the American Top Team
fighter was hearing that Mayorga himself has requested a copy of
the injunction be faxed to him so he could review the repercussions
that would fall upon him once he stepped into the cage with the
former UFC lightweight contender.
Thomas was backstage, waiting for Shine officials to find him and
his cornermen seats to watch the show from, when the North Carolina
Boxing Authority told matchmaker Ron Foster
that they were pulling the plug on the entire event.
“There were maybe a 100 or so fans already in the arena and lines
wrapped around both sides of the venue outside,” said Thomas. “It
was more people than I’d expected.”
On Monday, the North Carolina regulatory body told numerous news
outlets that Shine had failed to secure both a cageside physician
and pre-requisite bonds needed to cover the fighters’ payroll.
Thomas said he spoke with Shine CEO Devin Price on Monday and was
ensured he’d be compensated for his troubles sometime this week.
Thomas said he hopes to get paid 25 percent of the purse he’d
agreed to, though no figure had been formally established between
promoter and fighter. Thomas said he was unaware if other fighters
scheduled to fight Saturday would also be compensated. Sherdog.com
is awaiting a return call from Price on the matter.
“I just hope everybody gets something,” said Thomas, who was to be
joined on the card by fellow veteran Murilo “Ninja” Rua and 2004
Olympic judo newcomer Rick Hawn,
Shine’s Price has already vowed to get back on the horse and
promote his third event this summer. Thomas, who signed a one-fight
deal to face Mayorga, said he’ll pass on the show, but only because
he wants to redirect his attention back to his three ATT satellite
schools in Port St. Lucie, Stuart, and Longwood, Fla.
The 33-year-old Thomas, who began fighting professionally in 1998
and has experienced his fair share of less-than-stellar fight
promoters, said the event’s cancellation was par for the course and
was supportive of the fledgling Florida-based promotion.
“I think a lot of people were hard on Shine,” said Thomas. “I think
I did more press for this fight than any other. Before the fight
the question I most got asked was, ‘Will you really stand with
him?” and after it was, ‘How come they tried signing this guy?’ But
I think Shine was very confident in their legal stance. They played
the game and they lost.
“Honestly, I think they tried and as long as I get paid, I’m OK,”
continued Thomas. “I’m still kind of behind them and watched their
dreams go down the drain in 30 minutes. You gotta deal with the
Devil sometimes in this game, but these guys were cool.”