Feldman accused of rigging bouts
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A celebrity boxing promoter has been charged with fixing fights and not having a license when he staged a bout between "Partridge Family" television star Danny Bonaduce and a comedian from the Howard Stern show.
Damon Feldman, who operates the Celebrity Boxing Federation, is charged with six counts of staging prohibited competitions without holding a promoter's license from the State Athletic Commission and six counts of rigging fights at those events during a 16-month period that ended in December, state Attorney General Tom Corbett said.
"The only thing that appears to be real about any of these events is the money that went into Mr. Feldman's pocket and the media attention that he received," Corbett said Friday.
Feldman's events, held in the Philadelphia area, included a highly publicized 2008 fight between Bonaduce and Stern show comic the Reverend Bob Levy. The rigging charges aren't specific and don't necessarily involve that fight.
Feldman didn't dispute the allegations but contended he's the victim of a state boxing law that's tailored for professional boxing -- something he says his events definitely aren't. He acknowledged results of some bouts were predetermined but said they're akin to pro wrestling, not professional boxing.
"It's entertainment," Feldman said in a telephone interview Friday. "I don't fix fights. Fixing fights in pro boxing is illegal. I classify myself as 100 percent entertainment."
Feldman, a Delaware County resident, was arraigned Wednesday and is free on $50,000 unsecured bail, but he's barred from staging any events in Pennsylvania as a condition of his release.
The criminal complaint says the celebrity boxing events featured "tough guy" techniques that combine boxing with martial arts, wrestling, kicking and choking, banned in Pennsylvania, and lacked health and safety protections for the fighters.
State agents saw boxers not receiving prompt medical attention after being knocked out, the absence of doctors at ringside to tend to injured fighters and out-of-shape contestants dangerously matched against fighters with superior skills, said Corbett, who's running for the Republican nomination for governor.
Feldman said he's no different than World Wrestling Entertainment chairman Vince McMahon. He contends his faux fights are all in fun and he shouldn't be subject to restrictions of the State Athletic Commission, which licenses and regulates sporting events such as pro boxing, mixed martial arts, kickboxing and wrestling.
"It's to the point where there's no chance of anybody getting really hurt. It's entertainment," Feldman said. "Everyone's told, and they have to sign a paper beforehand, knowing they have to do it as entertainment or we can't let them do the matches. The worst thing that ever happened at my events was a bloody nose."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press