Settlement Approved in Arum Case
After listening to Bob Arum express his regret at making an illegal payment in 1995 to a sanctioning body and his resolve to never again engage in such an activity, the five-member Nevada State Athletic Commission unanimously approved a prearranged settlement Wednesday that involved a $125,000 fine and restrictions on the promoter’s license for six months.
In addition, Arum pledged $50,000 to a sports-related Nevada charity.
“What happened here today was very good, very thoughtful,” Arum said. “The people here have the best interests of boxing at heart. It was very, very difficult. This is something I have lived with since 1995.
“Now we have to use what happened here to improve boxing.”
In testimony given in June during the New Jersey racketeering trial of former International Boxing Federation president Bob Lee, Arum admitted agreeing in 1994 to secretly pay Lee $200,000 to get a sanction for unranked Axel Schulz to be heavyweight champion George Foreman’s opponent in a title fight. Arum testified voluntarily without requesting immunity.
“I was stupid. It was the wrong thing,” Arum told the commission in referring to the payment. “But I think I acted courageously in coming forward. I know what immunity is. I didn’t ask for immunity.”
Flip Homansky, a former ringside physician who has become the newest member of the commission, best expressed the commission’s distress at Arum’s behavior in the hearing held in the Grant Sawyer state office building.
“For 25 years, I’ve heard you talk about the evils of boxing,” Homansky told Arum. “I’ve heard about the bagmen and the inept rankings. Now I see us here and that is really disappointing.”
The fine is five times larger than any previously levied by the Nevada commission. The commission is allowed to authorize fines up to $250,000.
With the restrictions on his license, the 68-year-old Arum will be prohibited from entering the ring before or after a fight, from entering the dressing rooms of the fighters and from attending weigh-ins. Also, officials of the Nevada commission and members of the attorney general’s office must be allowed open access to the books and records of Top Rank, Arum’s boxing organization.
Wednesday’s action is not the end for either Arum or the commission. Officials of the California State Athletic Commission have indicated they plan to examine Arum’s actions in an October meeting. Fellow promoters Cedric Kushner and Dino Duva, who admitted making similar payments in their New Jersey testimony, will be called before the Nevada commission in the near future.