Update: Shine Fights Changes Venues, Criticizes Virginia Commission

By Loretta Hunt Sep 6, 2010
A Shine Fights event originally scheduled for this Friday at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va., has been relocated to the First Council Casino in Newkirk, Okla., the promotion confirmed on Monday.

On Saturday, reports circulated that the promotion was forced to change venues after the Virginia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Program took umbrage with the promotion’s decision to allow fans the ability to vote on the initial matchups in its featured lightweight grand prix and wouldn’t regulate the event.

On Monday afternoon, Shine Fights CEO Devin Price released a statement confirming that the Virginia regulatory body had denied the organization its promoter's license and called into question the state agency's handling of the situation.

"I was given verbal approval for our Sept 10 event by the Virginia state commission 32 days prior to the fight date." said Price in the release. "The commission did not express any problems with our event until certain members of the MMA community accused Shine of having reneged on our responsibilities following the cancellation of our May 15, 2010 'Worlds Collide: Ricardo Mayorga-Din Thomas' fight card in Fayetteville, NC. The Virginia commission was understandably concerned, but instead of allowing us to prove the concerns were unfounded, they refused to provide a license. And we could have proved this since on Friday [Sept 3] the North Carolina commission ruled that Shine had met all its obligations from the May 15, 2010 event."

The VPBWP did not initially return requests for comment.

In May, the North Carolina Boxing Authority cancelled Shine Fights 3 “Worlds Collide” just hours before the event was scheduled to take place at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, N.C. That same day, promoter Don King had successfully been granted an injunction by a Florida court that prevented Shine headliner Ricardo Mayorga, who was exclusively contracted for boxing with King, from competing in his MMA debut bout against Din Thomas.

The NCBA later told multiple media outlets that it pulled the plug on the event after Shine had failed to secure both a cageside physician and pre-requisite bonds needed to cover the fighters’ payroll.

Scrutiny surrounding the ill-fated event continues to follow the promotion. A number of fighters have claimed that they weren’t compensated at least their show purses for the event, claiming they fulfilled the necessary requirements to receive them. Shine did compensate select fighters on the card, including headliner Thomas, who said he was paid a percentage of his purse.

On Aug. 27, The Fayetteville Observer reported that the Crown Coliseum was still attempting to recoup around $42,000 from the promotion to cover staffing costs associated with the cancelled event. The article also stated that Shine Fights promoter Price had not responded to the venue’s requests for reimbursement.

Friday’s lightweight grand prix in Oklahoma will be held under a one-night tournament format, said Shine Fights COO Jason Chambers, with the finalists competing three times in one evening.

The matchups include WEC veterans Carlo Prater vs. Rich Crunkilton, Virginia standout Kyle Baker vs. Shine returnee James Warfield, American Top Team’s Marcus Aurelio vs. undefeated Dennis Bermudez, and EliteXC standout Charles "Krazy Horse" Bennett vs. UFC veteran Drew Fickett.

The Bennett-Fickett bout was advertised last week by the promotion as one that fans had voted for and assigned. Chambers said the event will also include an undercard comprised of local talent.

This article was updated at 5:05 p.m. ET with information from Price.
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