Gary bar loses by default, owes fight promoter $6,000

July 19, 2016

A Gary bar that allowed patrons to watch an Ultimate Fighting Championship broadcast must pay more than $6,000 in damages for failing to pay for a license to air the broadcast, a federal judge ruled.

Showtime Lounge didn’t reply to a suit filed by Joe Hand Promotions, which has exclusive national commercial distribution rights for UFC events. Joe Hand sued after an investigator documented that the bar had shown the Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva bout on Dec. 28, 2013. About 40 patrons attended.

Chief Judge Philip P. Simon in the U.S. Court for the Northern District of Indiana entered default judgment Monday against Showtime Lounge and ordered the business to pay $6,195 in total damages, including tripled statutory damages and legal fees. The amount was far less than the $26,400 the fight promoter sought, and Simon wrote that Joe Hand didn’t sufficiently explain its proposed damages.

But Simon also found Showtime willfully violated the Federal Communications Act for commercial gain. He wrote enhanced damages were necessary to provide a deterrent effect.

Joe Hand said in court filings it would have charged the bar $1,250 to show the fight based on its rate card for establishments that seat up to 150 people, as Showtime does.

According to federal court records in the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana, Joe Hand Promotions has sued dozens of establishments in recent years, with most of the disputes resolved. At least four cases filed by Joe Hand against Indiana establishments remain active, according to court records.


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