Jay-Z, Roc Nation Sports Sued By Former Boxer Over Severe Brain Injuries Suffered In The Ring
Written by Lindah Nduwumwami on May 22, 2019
Jay-Z and his sports management company Roc Nation Sports are being sued by former featherweight boxer and Roc Nation client Daniel “Twitch” Franco, who says that reckless scheduling and inadequate post-fight medical procedures led to catastrophic, career-ending head and brain injuries over the course of three fights scheduled over just 79 days in 2017.
Franco signed with Roc Nation Sports in 2015, and won five fights for the promotion, between June 2015 and November 2016. On March 23, 2017, Franco fought light punching veteran Christopher Martin in Los Angeles, in what the Los Angeles Times described as “a tuneup” for Franco, presumably ahead of more prominent and lucrative fights. This is where the management practices of Roc Nation Sports first come into question. According to Al Franco, Daniel’s father and trainer, Daniel had the flu ahead of the bout and had been “out of the gym for three weeks,” and as a result wanted to cancel or postpone the fight. The lawsuit says Roc Nation pressured Franco into keeping the fight, and instead of tuning up against a cupcake, Franco lost by TKO in the third round.
Just seven weeks after the knockout loss, Franco was back in the ring, in Mexico, reportedly at the urging of a Roc Nation Sports matchmaker, who wanted him to “keep busy.” On May 12 Franco beat a tomato can named Francisco Agustin Suarez, in Suarez’s second and final professional fight. This was apparently a sufficient warmup to put Franco back in the ring less than one month later, on June 10 in Las Vegas, against Jose Haro. That’s the night that Franco’s career and life went to hell.