Major news organizations — including CNN, TIME and TMZ — are reporting an upcoming “celebrity” boxing match between George Zimmerman, whose claim-to-fame is killing an unarmed African American teenager, and the rapper DMX.
DMX is doing his best to promote it as a racial revenge fantasy, telling TMZ that he plans to “beat the living f**k” out of Zimmerman. The fight is slated to be held in March 15 and will be made available on online Pay-Per-View.
What you won’t learn from any of those outlets is that the fight is almost certainly fake. Damon Feldman, the fight’s promoter, has publicly said that he really only promotes fake fights. Here is Feldman in 2010 talking about his fights to the Associated Press:
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.”
That’s not to say Feldman doesn’t like to promote his fights as genuine in an effort to attract interest. Feldman maintains that he doesn’t fix fights, but in 2011, he pleaded no contest to “charges of fixing fights and promoting fights without a license” and sentenced to two years probation by a Pennsylvania court.
“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,” Tom Corbett, who was then the Pennsylvania attorney general and is now the state’s governor, said at the time.
It would be extremely difficult for Feldman to stage a genuine fight without running afoul of the law again. Tim Lueckenhoff, president of the Association of Boxing Commissioners, told ThinkProgress that any genuine boxing or Mixed Martial Arts fight must be sanctioned by a state or tribal boxing commission. Lueckenhoff added that Feldman’s criminal record would “certainly” be considered by commissions deciding whether to sanction the Zimmerman fight.
Feldman says the event will likely be held on “the West Coast,” but in an email, Executive Officer of the California State Athletic Commission Andy Foster said definitively that the commission would not sanction the Zimmerman bout.
Zimmerman has said that at least some of the proceeds from the fight will go to charity — although he refuses to say if he will being paid or what charity will benefit. Previously, Feldman has been accused of promising to donate money to charity and then pocketing the cash himself.
It’s still possible that another state or tribal commission could sanction the bout. But anyone uninterested in watching a choreographed dance designed to exploit racial tensions and the tragic death of a teenager is probably better off saving their money.