The Darker Side of Combat Sports: Gary Goodridge’s CTE Diagnosis and Manny Pacquaio’s Financial Woes

First, from Ben Fowlkes of comes the tragic story of MMA and kickboxing legend Gary Goodridge’s recent diagnosis:

“When talking to him on the phone, his speech was becoming slurred,” said Mike Mobbs, who’s counted Goodridge as his best friend since the two were nine years old, growing up in Barrie, Ontario together. “It got to the point where, when having phone conversations with him, I found myself constantly saying, ‘What did you say? Pardon?’ That, to me, was the tip-off.”

He’d forget appointments, forget whole conversations. He’d call a friend on the phone, talk to them for a while, then hang up and call them back ten minutes later. ‘How’s it going?’ he’d ask. And what were you supposed to say? That it was going exactly the same as it was ten minutes ago? That his brain was broken, and that there was nothing anybody could do about it?

“I had no idea about CTE,” Goodridge said. “I didn’t know anything.”

read more: The Fighter Who Stayed Too Long at

The story of Goodridge, as conveyed by Fowlkes, is heartbreaking. Particularly what it’s done to his friends and family.

People will write this off because Goodridge is at the extreme end of the spectrum of fighters who hang on too long. Goodridge is first and foremost associated with MMA, but he’s also fought in boxing, he has an even more extensive kickboxing resume. I worry people will see that and write it off as isolated, but it’s a very real problem in all of sports, not just MMA or boxing or combat sports in general. One need look only to what we’re finding out about former NFL players, in particular that their average life expectancy is hitting the low to mid 50s, mostly due to CTE-induced trauma, depression, etcetera. Sports fans are going to have to start asking themselves and their favorite leagues/promoters some very hard questions sooner rather than later.


And from The Boxing Tribune’s Paul Magno: a much younger fighter at the very top of the game, Manny Pacquaio, is essentially broke due to the (potentially illegal) interference in his finances coming from Top Rank promotions and Bob Arum:

Manny Pacquiao’s grasp and control of an empire that has generated well over half a billion dollars is contained within six cardboard boxes filled to the brim with random receipts and hand written notes. Forbes’ 24th Richest Athlete in the World also has no idea where to find basic documents such as fight contracts, bank statements, endorsement contracts, promoter contracts, property ownership records, etc.

According to statements made by VisionQwest CEO, Michael Lodge, Pacquiao’s entire operation was in disarray with Manny’s advisor, Michael Koncz, assuming control of all money dealings in the absence of a full-time accountant or trained financial consultant. Little care was paid to accuracy as numbers, supplied by Koncz, were simply “plugged” into generic taxation forms and sent off to the IRS.

But disorder and sloppy record-keeping would be the least troublesome facts uncovered by VisionQwest.

According to the company, they also found out that Pacquiao’s advisor, Koncz, not only worked for Pacquiao, but was also working for Pacquiao’s promoter, Top Rank.

read more: Where in the World is Manny’s Money? at The Boxing Tribune

What more can I say? Boxing’s always been manipulative and haunted by less than reputable characters that have forever tainted and stained its image and integrity, but Bob Arum and company are among the lowest of the low. It’s nigh impossible to even imagine a guy like Pacquaio, who has generated so much money that most of us can’t even comprehend it, being cash poor. Yet here we are.

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