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Nevada court rejects bid to revive claim against UFC chief

UFC President Dana White
AP Photo/Gregory Payan, File
FILE - UFC President Dana White speaks at a news conference in New York, Sept. 19, 2019.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Nevada Supreme Court panel has rejected an appeal in a legal battle between UFC President Dana White and a Las Vegas man who went to prison for trying to extort White in a sex-tape case.

A lawyer representing Ernesto Joshua Ramos in his breach-of-contract lawsuit against the mixed martial arts mogul said Monday he will ask the full seven-member court to reconsider the decision handed down Thursday by a three-justice panel.

Attorney Ian Christopherson said he believes a U.S. District Court judge who in 2016 sentenced Ramos to 366 days in federal prison for the extortion attempt ruled that Ramos had a right to assert his claims against White.

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White’s lawyer, Donald Campbell, did not immediately respond to telephone and email messages seeking comment.

The state high court panel noted Ramos and White previously reached a nondisclosure agreement and said Ramos didn’t specify an error by a state court judge in Las Vegas who dismissed his claim.

The Supreme Court decision was first reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Ramos, a Las Vegas real estate agent and personal trainer, pleaded guilty to threatening to post on the internet video of his girlfriend having sex with White in a hotel room during an Ultimate Fighting Championship event in Brazil in October 2014. Ramos was accused of demanding $200,000 from White.

The federal judge overseeing the criminal case in 2015 had ordered prosecutors, defense lawyers and Ramos not to reveal White’s identity while the case was open.

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Ramos filed the state court lawsuit against White in April 2020 — revealing White’s name as the victim of the extortion attempt and accusing White of failing to pay Ramos an agreed-upon $450,000 to keep White’s name secret after the criminal case against Ramos was closed.

White’s lawyers argued there was no agreement and called the lawsuit a new attempt to use the courts to extort money from White.

The Supreme Court panel also concluded that Ramos did not have a valid contract with White to compensate him in return for his silence.

“Without a valid contract, Ramos’ breach-of-contract claim necessarily fails and the district court properly dismissed it,” the justices said.