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Judge Allows Adams to Wear GoldenPalace.com Tattoo in Saturday's Fight
Clark County District Court Judge Mark Gibbons granted a temporary restraining order Thursday morning against the Nevada Athletic Commission, prohibiting the NAC from enforcing its Feb. 13 decision to ban fighters from wearing such temporary body markings in the ring. Las Vegas attorney Paul Larsen, who represents Adams and GoldenPalace.com, said the judge found that the ban was an improper 'ad hoc' regulation, and that it was an 'overbroad' infringement of free speech in violation of the First Amendment.
Eric Amgar, the promotional division manager for GoldenPalace.com said he was 'ecstatic' about the decision. He was also happy for Adams, who can now fight Ayala with the GoldenPalace.com temporary tattoo on his back in Saturday's super bantamweight title bout at Mandalay Bay. The fight is being televised live on HBO.
'It's a victory for free speech, really,' Amgar said. 'It's a victory for boxers. Now they can make money for themselves with their own bodies. It also rewards companies like ours that come up with unique ways to advertise.'
Larsen said the decision is a big victory for GoldenPalace.com, though not necessarily the end of the issue. He said the court scheduled an evidentiary hearing for March 7, when District Court Judge Valerie Vega will determine whether to issue a preliminary injunction that would allow all boxers to wear such tattoo ads in Nevada bouts.
'It doesn't apply to anyone else but Bones Adams until after the hearing on March 7,' Larsen explained.
The Las Vegas attorney is confident his clients will prevail, even if the NAC appeals the court's decision to the Nevada Supreme Court.
'I think it would be imprudent to appeal,' Larsen said. 'I think our case is pretty strong.'
On Feb. 13, the Nevada Athletic Commission, which regulates boxing in the state, voted unanimously to ban temporary tattoos on the bodies of boxers. The issue was raised by GoldenPalace.com, which pioneered this form of advertising nationwide by contracting with Adams, middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins and other boxers to wear a temporary 'henna' tattoo featuring GoldenPalace.com on their backs during televised fights.
Commission members and Executive Director Marc Ratner expressed concern during public hearings that such tattoos could distract judges and are 'demeaning to the sport of boxing.' GoldenPalace.com countered that boxers, who have relatively short professional careers, have the right to free expression in the ring and to receive revenue from this type of advertising.
Depending on the fight and the fighter, Amgar said boxers can earn 'five- to six-figure' paychecks for wearing such tattoos, which disappear naturally days after they are applied.
GoldenPalace.com is a leading online casino founded in 1997. It is licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake, Canada, and by the governments of Antigua and Barbuda.
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