Shine Denies Commission’s Claim That Bond Wasn’t Secured

With a hastily uprooted show set to raise its curtain Friday in Oklahoma, Shine Fights CEO Devin Price’s mind is still on the circumstances surrounding the Virginia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Program’s inability to issue his organization a promoter’s license last week.

Last Thursday, the VPBWP informed Price and his staff that it hadn’t received the mandatory documents it needed to proceed with the event, including medical documents and test results, as well as the fighters’ win-loss records.

The promotion moved the event, which features an eight-man, one-night lightweight tournament, to the First Council Casino in Newkirk, Okla., this week, where it will be held on sovereign land out of reach from regulatory oversight.

Of particular note, the VPBWP said Shine failed to provide evidence that it had procured a surety bond, a requirement of the state to ensure the fighters’ purses, the payment of officials and the minimum gate fee tax is covered prior to the event.

In May, the North Carolina Boxing Authority cancelled a Shine Fights event, it said, for the same reason.

Price, who has undergone criticism in the aftermath of the cancelled show, challenged the Virginia commission’s claim on Tuesday.

According to Price, he e-mailed a copy of the requisite bond to VPBWP head David Holland on Sept. 1 and was told via e-mail response that it met the requirements.

Sherdog.com received an electronic scan of an $80,000 cashier’s check dated Sept. 1 addressed to the “Treasurer of Virginia.” Price said the check itself never made it to the commission’s offices, as the event was cancelled the next day.

On Wednesday, the regulatory body told Sherdog.com that this was the first time it had seen the electronic image.

“Virginia did not receive an e-mail with the image of the cashier's check. The first time David Holland saw the image was when I showed it to him (on Wednesday). Even if someone had sent a PDF of a bond, it would not satisfy the requirements," said Mary Broz-Vaughan, director of communications for the Dept. of Professional and Occupational Regulation, which oversees the combat sports program.

Broz-Vaughan said Holland and Price did have a conversation prior to Sept. 1 in which the commission employee said he’d allow the promoter to provide a last-minute cashier’s check in place of the bond required, but stipulated that the check would be held and in escrow and the funds not returned for 60-90 days once the fighters, officials and relevant site taxes had been paid.

“The impression our staff got from that conversation was that Shine wasn’t excited about having to wait through that period,” said Broz-Vaughan.

Price said this was “not true.”

“I had no problem handing over the check,” he said. “It was a cashier’s check. I knew it would be cashed and I wouldn’t get it back for a while.”

Still, Broz-Vaughan said that if commission staff had received the electronic image, Price would have been instructed to mail the check to its offices by 10:00 a.m. the next morning. In addition, Broz-Vaughan said Shine would have had to provide a notarized form with the check as well -- another document, she said, that never made it to the Virginia offices.

As for the other missing medical and historical documents, Price said it was something he’d “have to look into.”

Price’s recollection of events leading to his promotion’s hasty exit from the state tells a different story. Price, who promoted two previous events in Ohio and Florida last year, said he wasn’t informed about the “laundry list” of still-pending documents when he spoke with Holland that Wednesday.

“That’s not what David Holland told me,” said Price. “He said he was getting a lot of heat from the other commissions and had decided to change his mind (about the tournament format). He started to backpedal and we got nervous.”

Price said he had one night to discuss alternatives other than the proposed tournament with his staff before a scheduled conference call with Holland the next day. According to Price, Holland never answered his phone at the allotted time, but instead called him an hour or two later to tell him that Shine Fights would not be receiving its promoter’s license.

“We’re not interested into disparaging Price or getting into a ‘he said-she said’ situation,” responded Broz-Vaughan. “As of our final deadline last Thurs at 10:00 a.m., we didn’t have the necessary documentation need to move forward with the event.”
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