On May 2, 2015, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fought at the MGM grand. The fight was billed as the “fight of the century,” as Mayweather was an undefeated five-division world champion and Pacquiao was an eight-division world champion.   The fight was the highest-grossing fight in history, bringing in more than $400 million from PayPerView purchases alone.  The problem, however, is that it is also being called the “scam of the century.” This is not just because the fight did not live up to the hype, but also because Pacquiao may not have disclosed a shoulder injury before the event.

More than 32 class action lawsuits have been brought by fans angered at being forced to pay to view the lackluster match. The plaintiffs who are part of the class are seeking a refund, and possible defendants include Pacquiao, Mayweather, HBO, Showtime, and numerous cable companies.  There are, however, procedural legal hurdles that must be overcome before the plaintiffs will be able to successfully recover compensation in their civil suit.


Civil Lawsuit Alleges Fraud in Mayweather/Pacquiao Fight

A civil lawsuit is brought by plaintiffs seeking a monetary remedy for a loss they claim the defendants have caused them to experience. In this particular case, the lawsuit claims the money paid to watch the pay-per-view fight should be refunded because Pacquiao failed to disclose the injury to his shoulder prior to the big boxing match.

Days before the fight, Pacquiao signed a medical condition form from the Nevada Athletic Commission, which asked if he had any shoulder injuries or any other injuries. Pacquiao said “no” on the form, but it subsequently turned out his shoulder was injured at the time.  In fact, he had surgery on his shoulder shortly after the fight was over.  Pacquiao’s misstatement is being cited as grounds for the class action lawsuit against the boxer and other defendants involved in promoting and profiting from the fight. Some also allege Mayweather was aware of the shoulder injury and targeted the right shoulder during the fight.

Because millions of people paid as much as $100 each to watch on PayPerView, and millions of bars and restaurants paid much more, there are many possible plaintiffs who were harmed by the alleged fraud.  This is why the cases have been filed as class action lawsuits. Class action lawsuits make it possible for legal action to proceed in situations where an individual lawsuit would not make financial sense for plaintiffs to pursue. All of the many plaintiffs’ cases are grouped into one big lawsuit, and the plaintiffs all end up with a remedy as determined by a settlement or by the courts.

Each class action in this particular case is alleging at least $5 million in damages, which is the minimum threshold necessary for filing a federal class action lawsuit.  However, the class actions cannot proceed until some procedural hurdles are met. First, a federal panel of judges will need to determine if the multiple individual class actions that have been filed should be consolidated into one case before one judge. Next, a decision must be made on whether the cases should be certified as class actions. For a judge to certify a class action, the plaintiffs must have suffered substantially similar harms.

If the class actions are certified, the plaintiffs will have the burden of proving the case against the defendants and will need to demonstrate their right to compensation.  Filing a class action is a powerful tool to right legal wrongs, and an experienced attorney can help those who have been harmed to determine if they should join or file a class action of their own after they experience damages or losses.