Updated September 1, 2020 - 3:02 pm
Calling it a “smear” effort, lawyers for UFC President Dana White have filed court papers seeking to dismiss a lawsuit that revealed he was an extortion victim.
The suit was filed in April by Ernesto Joshua Ramos, who served prison time for the $200,000 extortion attempt that involved sex tapes.
Ramos, 43, a real estate agent and personal trainer, accused White in the suit of breaking a deal to pay him $450,000 in return for not disclosing White’s name after the criminal case closed. Ramos also claimed that he did not demand money from White and that White’s lawyers provided false derogatory information about him to the FBI to get agents to launch an investigation.
“Some parties never learn,” White’s lawyers said in the court papers, filed late Monday. “After pleading guilty to a felony of attempting to extort defendant Dana White and spending nearly a year in federal prison, plaintiff Joshua Ramos now seeks this court’s assistance to complete what he could not finish the first time — separating Mr. White from a substantial amount of money.
“Just because Ramos is carrying out the latest scheme through the artifice of a civil lawsuit does not make it any less proper. Fortunately for the court and defendants, Ramos’ attempts at civil extortion are just as inept as his prior criminal endeavors.”
The dismissal motion contends that White did not offer Ramos any money during the criminal proceedings and that Ramos has no legitimate legal claims against him.
White, 51, who spoke at last week’s Republican National Convention, runs the Las Vegas-based Ultimate Fighting Championship, the largest mixed martial arts organization in the world. The company also is a defendant in the suit.
Las Vegas attorney Don Campbell, who represents White, did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Early in the criminal case, a federal magistrate judge signed an unusual protective order prohibiting disclosure of the businessman’s name — not even his initials — or company in any public filings. His name remained secret for years.
The case, first reported by the Review-Journal, stemmed from what prosecutors alleged was an October 2014 secret, overseas rendezvous between an unnamed businessman and an adult nightclub dancer. White at the time was overseeing a UFC event in Brazil, the civil suit states.
White saw stripper frequently
White, who was married, had been seeing the stripper at Spearmint Rhino for months, paying her large sums of money to dance for him, according to the suit.
The stripper, Ramos’ live-in girlfriend, taped herself and White without White’s knowledge having sex in their hotel room in Brazil, the lawsuit states. She used her cellphone.
FBI agents arrested Ramos in Las Vegas in January 2015 and charged him with trying to extort $200,000 from the businessman after the encounter overseas with the dancer. FBI agents videotaped the exchange of the money between him and Ramos during a late-night meeting at the businessman’s office, federal prosecutors alleged.
White foreshadowed his lawyers response to the civil lawsuit in a statement to the Review-Journal after it was filed in April.
“I just found out that a b——- lawsuit was filed against me yesterday,” White stated. “This guy went to federal prison for trying to extort me over five years ago. Now he’s hired a lawyer who is also a convicted felon, and he’s trying to extort me again for $10 million. He got no money from me last time and he won’t be getting any money from me this time. I look forward to the court dismissing this quickly so I can get rid of these scumbags forever.”
The suit, prepared by Las Vegas attorney Ian Christopherson, claimed White and his lawyers offered Ramos money during the criminal case to persuade him to plead guilty. But the suit said they did not come through with any cash after he admitted in court to the crime.
“The actions of White were fraudulent, oppressive and designed to encourage Ramos to plead guilty so he could negotiate a substantial settlement, which would prevent the disclosure of his actions at trial for the personal benefit of White and his related businesses and interest,” the suit alleged.
Christopherson declined comment Tuesday, but will have a chance to respond in court papers.
District Judge David Jones set an Oct. 7 hearing on the motion to dismiss the suit.
Contact Jeff German at email@example.com or 702-380-4564. Follow @JGermanRJ on Twitter. German is a member of the Review-Journal’s investigative team, focusing on reporting that holds leaders and agencies accountable and exposes wrongdoing. Support our journalism.