Mahmoud Charr sued Don King Promotions last year for what Charr claimed was a premeditated plan to deny him the visa he needed to defend his WBA “world” heavyweight title against Trevor Bryan, who was promoted by King. Gilberto Mendoza and the WBA have now been added to the complaint by Charr, who claims that they collaborated with King in a “pay-to-play scheme” in exchange for favorable rankings.
King has been paying off Mendoza since 2015, both directly and through Sports Consulting Services, a company connected to Mendoza’s son, according to Charr’s petition. The WBA allegedly allowed King to twice pull the rug out from under Charr by winning purse bids and then refusing to provide the necessary paperwork, which resulted in Bryan being pushed up in their rankings and Bryan being promoted.
Remember that this is only a motion at this point, and while Charr’s legal team has undoubtedly provided evidence, the public is not aware of it. All things considered, Bryan’s predicament stinks to high heaven.
Bryan was ranked ninth in the WBA rankings as of January 2017. He defeated Sandy Antonio Soto, ranked 2 to 20, in April. After a few months of fluctuating between 9th and 10th place, he suddenly leaps past Dillian Whyte and other competitors to reach 6th place in November. In December, around the time he defeated 2 to 24 Francois Russell, he climbed to fifth place. When the WBA decided to match him against BJ Flores for their interim title the following October, he was ranked fourth.
With a victory over 26 to 18 to 1 Jeremy Bates, Flores rose from unranked to eleventh. He gradually reduces his weight to under ten while defeating 13 to 6 to 2 Nick Guivas. The ranking movements have absolutely nothing to do with the Guivas battle.
The Charr fiasco is another example. The initial purse bid was made in May 2019, and the WBA allowed King to repeatedly default on his responsibilities for over three years before eventually removing Charr. The WBA declares Bermane Stiverne, a King fighter who had not won in five years, to be someone who “fits the standards to fight for the championship” if one of the scheduled fight dates falls through.
Jonathan Guidry receives the call when the other falls through. Guidry is unranked as of November 2021. Without having fought in the interim, he was placed 13rd the following month, ahead of Tony Yoka and Joseph Parker.
Whatever the validity of Charr’s precise accusations, it is undeniable that Gilberto Mendoza has been manipulating both his rankings and the WBA rules in order to benefit King. Mendoza has a long and illustrious history of blatant favoritism. He permitted two different fighters to compete for the “super” 130-pound title before “world” champion Andrew Cancio and has permitted Leo Santa Cruz to hold onto his featherweight title without having made a single defense since 2019.
There is a component of outright stupidity, as when the WBA once included a deceased man in their rankings, but it is impossible to deny that there is malice at work.