‘You don’t give tickets away’ – McGuigan defends charging Rory McIlroy and other celebs for tickets

Barry McGuigan has defended the practice of charging celebrities for tickets for Carl Frampton’s major fights.

The issue was raised by Frampton’s counsel at the Belfast High Court today, as McGuigan continued his time on the stand.

The former world champion was asked about the policy of charging celebs and fellow sports stars for tickets and asked why the fighter was unaware of said policy.

The court was told the likes of Rory McIlroy, singer Gary Lightbody and broadcaster Colin Murray all paid for tickets for American hosted fights.

‘The Jackal’s’ team also argued he was unaware of this practice.

McGuigan, who managed Frampton at the time, defended the ticket policy, saying: “Sometimes celebrities pay for tickets, sometimes they don’t.”

“On big fights like this, you don’t expect to give tickets away whether they are a celebrity or not.”

The court heard McIlroy paid £1,280 into a Cyclone Promotions account for tickets for the first Leo Santa Cruz fight in New York in July 2016.

“He sat close to me,” Mr McGuigan confirmed.

“It could be that he bought tickets for his colleagues, he had a couple of people with him, so that could have been for them.

“I would imagine Rory would have got a seat anywhere in the world for free.”

Gavin Millar QC, for Frampton queried why: “Nobody discussed with Mr Frampton charging Rory McIlroy for a ticket, did they?”

“It doesn’t say there that it’s for Rory. He’s paid for it, it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily for him, it could be for his colleagues, it could be for his security guard,” was McGuigan’s response.

Tickets bought for the rematch with Santa Cruz in Las Vegas in January 2017 also came under scrutiny.

Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol fame, paid £2,000, the court heard, while television and radio presenter Colin Murray paid £750.

“Again, nobody spoke to Mr Frampton about these people being charged for tickets for his fights, did they?” counsel asked.

McGuigan said: “You go along to watch him fight, you expect them to pay for their tickets. That’s the business, it has to work that way otherwise why not let everybody in for free.”

“It was all straight and above board,” he added.

Frampton is suing his ex-manager for alleged withheld earnings.

In a counter lawsuit, McGuigan is suing for breach of contract.

The case continues.

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com