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WBC ‘clarify’ Christina McMahon’s “scandalous and slanderous accusations”

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The World Boxing Council have released a statement lashing out at Monaghan super flyweight Christina McMahon.

‘Lightning’ had challenged for the WBC title in Mexico this past March, losing controversially to Zulina Munoz and taking umbrage with many of the questionable procedures which took place that night in Juarez. Team McMahon claim they were led to believe that a rematch was forthcoming and therefore kept their reservations under wraps, however with no progress on a rematch after over five months, they went public with their allegations through an exposé with Irish-Boxing.com.

McMahon was subsequently suspended – via Facebook mail – by WBC Female Championship Committee chair Malte Müller-Michaelis, while Mauricio Sulaiman has also responded incredulously to questioning on Twitter and has accused McMahon and her team of creating a case of “lies and threats” – although not specifying what the lies, or indeed the threats, are.

Now the WBC have released their first official statement in response to the controversy which has gained national traction in Ireland through the likes of The Irish Sun, The Irish Star, and Balls.ie.

McMahon has also started a petition, which can be signed here, for the WBC to order a rematch and has been given the backing of over 1,000 names.

The statement accuses McMahon of an ongoing “campaign to disseminate scandalous and slanderous accusations” – although it does not specify which of McMahon’s allegations are slanderous.

The Mexican-based organisation then reproduces a statement from May 1st which they claim to address the “factual background” the situation. Thirteen days ago Irish-Boxing.com pointed out some omissions from this statement, including the following:
– It did not address why “very experienced supervisor” Dr. Lorenzo Soberanes had not ensured that there was proper anti-doping testing measures in place on the night.
– It did not address why McMahon was assured on the night of the fight that Muñoz had given an unseen sample. Was Team McMahon simply lied to?
– It did not address why Muñoz’s sample was tested at the Laboratorio Médico del Chopo – which is not a World Anti-Doping Agency-approved facility.
– The claim that the WBC appointed an ‘officials panel’ to review the fight contradicts the e-mails of WBC Chief Legal Council Alberto León who told McMahon that “the WBC Female Committee reviewed a video of the subject fight and scored it without any sound to avoid biases.” The WBC Female Committee have no official experience whatsoever in judging and scoring bouts.
It did not address why there were no 30 or 7 day checkweights? Which is meant to be standard for all WBC title bouts.
It did not address why there was no rules meeting ahead of the fight?
It did not address why there were there no corner supervisors until they were insisted upon by McMahon?
It did not address why “very experienced supervisor” Dr. Lorenzo Soberanes did not have other gloves on hand in the venue?

The statement confirms that McMahon is suspended indefinitely, which is the first official confirmation of the ban since Müller-Michaelis’s Facebook message almost three weeks ago.

The statement in full reads:
The World Boxing Council considers it necessary to clarify Christina McMahon’s status with the WBC in light of recent events. Specifically, in the last few weeks, boxer Christina McMahon has used numerous media outlets to further her and her management’s campaign to disseminate scandalous and slanderous accusations against the World Boxing Council and its President through social media and the press.

The WBC Constitution unequivocally condemns her and her management’s actions. In fact, Article A. VIII of the WBC Constitution (Code of Ethics) specifically states: “Never – whether you are a boxer, manager, promoter, trainer, matchmaker, official, commissioner, or any member of the WBC – use the communications media to slur, slander, libel, or otherwise defame, humiliate, or insult other members of the boxing community and thereby damage the sport itself, but instead expose, respectfully, actions by persons who unfairly hurt others.” Ms. McMahon’s actions are in direct contravention to the Constitutional principles under which the WBC is founded. It is regrettable that for some reason she has chosen to relaunch the attacks towards the WBC, as more than 4 months ago , the WBC disclosed the facts, the actions taken and even the withdrawal of her appeal . The WBC respects all fighters and has been a leader in the Women´s boxing dignifying world wide , a leader in the fight against abuse of power and discrimination and a leader in clean boxing and antidoping testing. The WBC thoroughly looked into all claims made by McMahon and attended every single aspect of it.

In light of her continuing, persistent and unfounded campaign to smirch the WBC’s reputation and to contravene our organization’s constitutional principles, the WBC is left with no other recourse than to remove her from the WBC Ratings and suspend her indefinitely from any WBC activity.

The factual background that brought about Ms. McMahon’s unfounded allegations are set forth in a press release the WBC published on May 1, 2016, which is reproduced immediately below.

McMahon Withdraws her Appeal

On March 16, 2016, the WBC received a letter from Mr. Martin McMahon appealing the outcome of the WBC Female Super Flyweight World Title bout between Christina McMahon and Zulina Muñoz. In support of his protest, Mr. McMahon set forth the following three allegations: (1) lack of anti-doping testing; (2) glove manipulation; and (3) judges’ scoring.

The WBC’s preliminary investigation of what transpired the night of that fight revealed that apparently the event’s promoter failed to have the anti-doping sample collector present. Upon discovering that irregularity, and in order to attempt to remedy the situation, the promoter and the WBC Supervisor Dr. Lorenzo Soberanes, a physician and very experienced supervisor, attempted to obtain anti-doping cups. Due to the late hour (almost 3 AM), they could only obtain cups that were not suitable to perform the on site post-fight anti-doping tests.

Accordingly, and in light of Mr. McMahon’s protest,the WBC:

1. Ordered Champion Zulina Muñoz to take an anti-doping test as soon as possible after receiving the McMahon protest. The test was performed and came back negative in all counts.

2. Appointed a WBC officials’ panel to review the fight`s video. The panel’s report came back consistent with the official judges’ scoring of the bout; and

3. Investigated the allegations concerning the gloves that were provided to the fighters at the dressing room. After interviewing WBC officials present at the bout, the WBC found no evidence that anyone had tampered with the gloves.

Upon learning of the WBC findings, the McMahon camp requested a mediation under the WBC Rules & Regulations. Pursuant to Rule 5.2 of the WBC Rules & Regulations, the WBC instituted its pre-mediation procedures. The WBC communicated the procedure that would be followed pursuant to its Rules & Regulations. On April 27, 2016, Mr. McMahon communicated to the WBC that they were withdrawing from the WBC mediation process.

The WBC has supported Ms. McMahon’s boxing career. On May 2, 2015, she fought for the WBC Interim World Bantamweight Championship after coming from a 2-year absence from the ring. After winning that bout by majority decision, Mr. McMahon’s opponent protested the outcome based on an allegation of inconsistent scoring. The WBC reviewed the bout, confirmed Ms. McMahon’s win and ordered a rematch because it found that it was a very close and highly disputed fight. The winner of the rematch would then become the mandatory challenger against Yazmin Rivas.

The McMahon camp refused to follow the WBC order and did not agree to the WBC-ordered rematch. In order to accommodate the McMahon camp, the WBC supported her fight against Alicia Ashley for the vacant WBC World Super Bantamweight Championship. Ms. McMahon lost to Ashley and complained to the WBC about the commission-required medicals she had to pass in New York, which requires a special protocol for fighters older than 40 y ears old. Despite her loss the WBC continued to support Ms. McMahon to challenge Zulina Munoz.

While the McMahon’s camp latest protest was based in part on anti-doping, they justified withdrawing from the WBC mediation process alleging that the WBC does not ultimately follow the Court of Arbitration for Sport mediation rules. The WBC Rules & Regulations must govern mediation because anti- doping issue are expressly excluded from mediation under CAS. CAS Mediation Rule, Section A, Article 1, states: “Disputes related to disciplinary matters, such as doping issues… are excluded from CAS mediation.” The WBC mediation process, to the contrary, permits mediation to address disputes related to doping issues. In short,the McMahon camp rejected the form of alternate dispute resolution that actually would have provided it the opportunity to pursue its protest.

The WBC has accepted the withdrawal of the McMahon camp’s protest with prejudice and considers the matter closed.

In light of her continuing, persistent and unfounded campaign to smirch the WBC’s reputation and to contravene our organization’s constitutional principles, the WBC is left with no other recourse than to remove her from the WBC Ratings and suspend her indefinitely from any WBC activity.

Alberto A. León, J.D., Ph.D.,
WBC Chief Legal Counsel

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie