The nightmare surrounding the Nemesis Fighting show in the Dominican Republic on Dec. 11 is still unfolding as more details emerge. The latest advancement is the U.S. Secret Service’s involvement in the investigation.
Keith Jardine, who fought and won during the show, has made a personal commitment to make sure the promoters who scammed the fighters either pay up or do some jail time for their part in the disastrous show that took place.
The UFC veteran is taking much of the responsibility simply because he knows a lot of the fighters that competed that fateful night, stayed on the card due to his involvement. He’s hopeful the work he’s doing now will at least help some of the fighters out from the financial strain caused by promoters Tim Fields and Bob Fill.
“I know some people stayed on this card because I was on it, and they would ask John (Madrid, Jardine’s manager) ‘Well, Keith’s still on it right?’ and they would stay on the card because of me, and that makes me feel really bad,” Jardine told MMAWeekly Radio. “So I’m doing my best, doing my part to gain control of the production of the fights to maybe get it on pay-per-view and get all the money to pay the fighter’s purses.”
As MMAWeekly.com first reported, the Nemesis Fighting show went downhill in a hurry, almost from the moment the fighters arrived on the island. According to Jardine, the lies from the promoters started from day one and the fighters just didn’t know about it until later.
“I was even told that they had fights before and that’s why I got into it to begin with, but then found out it was their first fight,” Jardine said. “Obviously, it’s not like any of them even tried. There was no commission, I mean I’m sure you’ve heard all the things, it was just incredible.”
As Jardine entered the arena and saw what he described as maybe 50 people in attendance, something was obviously wrong. He spotted a familiar face and tried to get ready for his fight.
“I came into the arena and I saw what was going on, then I went back and saw Eliot (Marshall) was sitting there, and I was sitting with them just kind of watching this thing happen, and it was kind of a weird thing. You’re trying to focus for your fight, but then you realize something is up, I’ll be lucky to get paid,” Jardine disclosed.
The music for the first fight hit and no one walked out. As a matter of fact, it took more than five minutes for the first fighter to enter the arena because no one was in the back telling the fighters to get ready or be prepared to walk out. Once they made it to the ring, the fighters went to the wrong corners because again the promotion had failed to assign things properly.
Jardine went back to the dressing rooms, which he described as essentially closets, to get his hands wrapped and start warming up. The only problem, there were no gloves for him to put on to get ready for his fight.
“They didn’t have enough gloves to go around. We had to share gloves,” said Jardine. “It was just endless things that went on.”
That problems only compounded with the fact that the fighter’s own coaches had to wrap their hands to get them ready to compete, and Jardine ended up using a pair of Affliction gloves that he brought with him because there were no gloves to use when he was in the final stages of preparations.
The fights went on, Jardine was successful, but the real battle came the next day.
“(The next) morning I went to breakfast around 10:30 or something like that and sat down with some of the guys and Tim Fields, one of the promoters. The nerve of this guy to sit down and have breakfast like nothing’s wrong. He even talked to me about a potential another fight coming up, and at the same time he’s planning his getaway with whatever money he can get,” Jardine stated.
“So I’m sitting with Tim Fields and he says ‘well, I’m going to go up to the room. We’re going to do something, and get the money together, and we’ll meet you guys at this little arena in 15 minutes.’ So we go there and the guys start collecting in this arena. 15 minutes turns into a half an hour, which turns to 45 minutes, which turns into an hour. And I joked with the guys and it was just a joke, ‘You know what, these guys are pretty smart. They get us all sitting here, while they’re making their way out the back door.’ It turns out that’s what they were doing.”
While the fighters were sitting in the arena waiting for the promoters to come and pay them, they were in fact getting ready to leave the hotel. It was during this time that hotel rooms were canceled and many fighters were left without a place to stay.
That also included Seth Petruzelli, who was there to commentate the show. He ended up sleeping in Jardine’s room once his was yanked out from under him.
As the fighters realized something was going on, Jardine’s teammate at Jackson’s MMA, Isaac Vallie-Flagg, went into the hotel and caught the promoter on his way out of town.
“He’s all packed, everything on top of his suitcase ready to go, he’s got his shoes on without any socks, and he’s out of town,” Jardine described. “Isaac just caught him, so he started writing everybody’s checks at that point.”
The checks were no good anyway, but it bought him enough time to promptly skip town.
Since returning home to New Mexico, Jardine and his manager have been working around the clock to try and secure the footage of the fights to show on pay-per-view to try and get some money back for the fighters. Jardine says he doesn’t even care if he gets paid at this point, he just wants to help the other fighters involved.
“My No. 1 thing is to get the production and find a way to recoup the money for these fighters. I’m sure there is a way because of the story behind it. If that doesn’t happen, by all means, I want to see these guys in Federal prison and I’m going to get their names out there so they can never work any kind of scam again,” said Jardine.
“I’m not in this for myself at this point.”
Jardine met with the U.S. Secret Service and despite the show being held in the Dominican Republic, it sounds like criminal charges are absolutely a possibility for Fields, Fill, and others involved with the promotion.
“I met with the Secret Service actually and they’re really eager to help us out,” Jardine said. “They think the criminal charges should be pretty easy against these guys.”
He admits it’s going to be tough for all the fighters involved on this card to enjoy their holidays with no paychecks and no idea when or if they will get paid at all. It’s primarily that fact that pushes Jardine forward to make sure the promoters involved pay up or sit in jail.
Repeated attempts to contact Fields and the promotion from MMAWeekly.com have not been returned, but we will continue to follow and update this story with more information when it becomes available.