An entertainment producer testified Friday that former boxer Shane Mosley’s image was vital to the promotion of a mixed martial arts event his company promoted before the 2015 Super Bowl, but the fighter unexpectedly withdrew his consent late and hurt advertising.
“Mr. Mosley has a huge fan base and we were hoping to capture that,” Wayne Mogel told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Sotelo during the second day of a non-jury trial of Swarm Entertainment LLC’s countersuit against Mosley and the fighter’s sister, Cerena Mosley.
Mogel also said he considered the 49-year-old Mosley to have been in his prime one of the best boxers of his generation.
Mosley had started the litigation by suing Swarm in February 2016 for allegedly using his name and image to promote the event, dubbed “Super Brawl,” without his permission, but Sotelo dismissed Mosley’s complaint in 2018 after ruling that the boxer’s participation in a promotional video for the event demonstrated his consent.
Super Brawl was held at the Phoenix Zoo on Jan. 30, 2015, two days before Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Ariz., in which the New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks, 28-24. Swarm hoped to capitalize on the popularity of the Super Bowl and the large numbers of sports fans and celebrities that descend on the host city for the weekend, according to Mogel.
Swarm intended that Super Brawl would be broadcast as a live, pay-per-view event, but since the company lacked experience in promoting MMA events, it entered an agreement with Mosley Promotions, owned and controlled by Cerena Mosley, which had experience putting together and promoting MMA fights, according to Mogel.
Mosley Promotions’ most important obligation was to ensure that the boxer appeared at Super Brawl and that he consented to Swarm’s use of his name and likeness to promote the event, Mogel said. Swarm would not have entered into the agreement with Mosley Promotions if Cerena Mosley had not promised that her brother would attend and allow his name and likeness to be used to promote the event, Mogel testified.
The most important promotional tool available to Swarm to publicize Super Brawl was to be a short video that would air on all of the pay-per-view providers in advance of the event, Mogel said. The video was taped at the Pomona home of Mosley’s father, Jack Mosley, in January 2015, according to Mogel.
In the video, Mosley states, “In a family tradition of world class combat sports … join us at the Phoenix Zoo for Super BrawlShowdown.”
One week before the event, Mosley allegedly contacted Swarm and for the first time, insisted he had never consented to the use of his name and likeness, prompting Swarm to pull its advertising for Super Brawl. As a result, no commercials were run on pay-per-view during the days before the event and viewers were unaware it was available for viewing, according to the countersuit.
Mosley and his sister are scheduled to testify later in the trial.
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