Legal and Management

Lil Baby Was Co-Investor in Failed 'Social Gloves' Boxing Match, Says Lawsuit

Lil Baby
Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

Lil Baby performs onstage during Hot 107.9 Birthday Bash 25 at Center Parc Credit Union Stadium at Georgia State University on July 17, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.

The rapper's investment in "Social Gloves: Battle of the Platforms" was revealed in a new complaint filed by TikTok stars Tayler Holder and Nate Wyatt against organizer Austin McBroom.

Atlanta rapper Lil Baby was an investor in the "Social Gloves: Battle of the Platforms" boxing tournament and concert, according to a new lawsuit filed by Tayler Holder and Nate Wyatt.

Holder is a TikTok star with 20 million followers and the artist behind the May single "I'll Be Alright"; Wyatt is also a TikTok celebrity and musical artist. Both men filed a lawsuit against event organizer and Youtube personality Austin McBroom, alleging that Lil Baby and NBA star James Harden provided a combined $2 million in seed money for the failed June 12 pay-per-view fight. Investor material included in the lawsuit shows that McBroom had forecast sales of $200 million to $500 million for the concept event, which was broadcast on LiveXLive and pitted TikTok stars against YouTube creators while featuring performances by Lil Baby, DJ Khaled and Migos.

After the fight ended with McBroom beating TikTok star Bryce Hall via technical knockout, the sales numbers came in woefully below expectations. Only 135,000 fans bought the pay-per-view fight, generating $6.5 million in ticket sales -- far below McBroom's original forecast of 5 million to 10 million fans and woefully short of the $15 million to $20 million in bills the event racked up at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

Now, lawyers for Harden and Lil Baby are demanding the return of their $2 million investment plus $400,000 in promised profits. They're joined by Hall, who says he was promised $5 million by McBroom, and now Holder -- who says he was promised $2 million for fighting Youtuber AnEsonGib -- and Wyatt, who says he was promised a $500,000 pay day. Holder and Wyatt have hired attorney Bobby Samini, who is best known for representing former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

Lil Baby's rep did not respond to request for comment, and Harden's rep declined to comment.

Samini accuses McBroom of breach of contract, fraud and conspiracy in a colorfully written complaint replete with a half-dozen new off-the-wall allegations against McBroom, helping to fuel growing public interest in a case examining the earning power of social media influencers. Most alarming are accusations that McBroom manipulated AnEsonGib's weight, giving oxygen to a strange conspiracy theory about the size difference between Holder and AnEsonGib. Samini says Holder was promised a $200,000 bonus if he weighed 175 on the day of the fight in order to close the weight gap with his heavier opponent. He also alleges that McBroom allegedly tried to pay Holder his $85,000 deposit for the fight via a backpack filled with cash, and that McBroom's business manager Mark Goodman allegedly warned McBroom that he was "spending like a drunken sailor" and later urged him to cancel the Battle of the Platforms because of concerns the event would end up insolvent.

Most damning, Samini accuses McBroom of misrepresenting "first position and first priority" status for three fighters (including Hall and Holder), executive producer and former CAA agent Paul Cazers, Harden and Lil Baby. Billboard reached out to McBroom for comment and did not receive a response.

"The problem for McBroom was that there can only be one 'first priority' position," Samini wrote in his 29-page complaint, filed Tuesday (Aug. 2) in Los Angeles Superior Court. "But, as long as each Talent making the request did not know what the other Talent was promised, McBroom could acquiesce to the multiple requests for first position."

Without other fighters' knowledge, McBroom's attorneys, including James Sammataro of Pryer Cashman, ordered LiveXLive to sign a secret letter of direction promising Hall would be paid directly out of the pay-per-view money, says Samini, and "under threat, [LiveXLive] complied with Sammataro's demand." As a result, Hall's attorneys "argued that its priority position is superior to that priority position of Holder."

When the fight numbers came in below expectations, Samini says McBroom hired bankruptcy attorney Richard Pachulski of Pachulski, Stang, Ziehl & Jones. On June 21, 2021, Pachulski sent a letter to the fighters saying, "In light of the apparent underperformance of the event, our firm has been retained to represent SGP in connection with either a workout of the claims of all of its creditors, or, if a workout is not feasible, a likely bankruptcy filing."

LiveXLive is currently holding the $6.5 million in pay-per-view sales in an account and reportedly earned an additional $3 million in cash through a memorabilia deal company chairman and chief executive Robert Ellin brokered with cryptocurrency company Cybertino. Ellin told shareholders on an earnings call the event had generated $10 million dollars.

"Our margins are going to be very, very healthy this quarter coming up," Ellin said during the June 28 call.

LiveXLive and McBroom are suing each other in separately filed lawsuits, with more expected to be filed in the coming days. LiveXLive is currently juggling 10 lawsuits, six of which are being handled by attorney Jeffrey Katz, who is leading LiveXLive's $100 million lawsuit against Austin McBroom and his wife Katherine McBroom. 

The company's stock closed 6.5% down Tuesday following news that Ellin was giving himself a 5% pay raise after missing earnings projections by 69% for the year and reporting a record $41 million in losses. The company's next earnings report is scheduled for Aug 12.