After Martinez canceled the October Praetorian event, he blasted Top Notch management on Facebook, saying they caused the cancellation by trying to extort money from Martinez.
Mac Ramos is the head trainer for Top Notch, and he tells a completely different story. He says Martinez owes him and his team money. He said they got off to a bad start because Alex went behind his back to talk to his fighters.
“I knew from the beginning he was shady, because he contacted my fighters directly. You never do that. You always go to their coach first,” Ramos told Chicago’s MMA.
Still, Ramos had Top Notch fighters on the first two Praetorian shows. After those two cards he told Martinez he wanted to put on an all-Muay Thai event. Ramos would pay for the surety bond and the state permits. That amounted to $2,000.
It was going to be a co-promoted show, but Ramos said Martinez made claims that the state wasn’t approving certain aspects of the show so Martinez was going to cancel it.
“I said you can’t just cancel the show. Go ahead and do an MMA show and Top Notch would fill the card. Get the money back for the bond and the state would refund the permit fee,” Ramos said.
Ramos said that Martinez did the show, which was Praetorian III, and that 12 of the 17 fights featured Top Notch fighters. So instead of another cancellation, Ramos filled the card with Top Notch fighters and the event had both MMA and Muay Thai fights. Ramos said there was a big crowd attributable to the fact that his fighters sold tickets. It was a win for everyone. Martinez got to put on an event, Ramos and his fighters had a successful night and fans got to watch a good show.
But when Martinez wrote a check to pay back Ramos because they never did the all-Muay Thai show, the check bounced. After that he ran the check again and reported it stolen. He told two Top Notch coaches that ‘a black guy stole it out of his bag in Texas.’
A back and forth ensued between Martinez and the Top Notch coaches. Martinez told me when this happened he filed a police report against them for harassment. The Top Notch coaches responded by filing a police report claiming that Martinez bounced the check and then reported it stolen. According to Ramos, Martinez told police he never wrote the check, but eventually admitted that he did.
Even after all of this, Ramos said he was willing to work with Martinez if he was willing to just give back the $2,000. He said he contacted him on Facebook because he knew Martinez was trying to put together a fourth show. He told him to just do the right thing, give the money back and they can move forward. He said they could make money going forward, and Top Notch fighters would still fill Praetorian cards. Ramos said Martinez responded via Facebook and told him he would return the money.
“Then he fell off the face of the earth,” Ramos said. About a month later Martinez contacted Ramos and told him he wanted the Praetorian championship belts back that were won by Top Notch fighters. Ramos told him they wouldn’t be returning the belts unless Martinez could produce a signed document that says that fighters have to return belts if they aren’t going to defend their titles.
In the end, Ramos never got the $2,000 back. “He’s a scammer. He’s a good scammer,” Ramos said. Like Mani Santiago, one of Ramos’ fighters also sold tickets and never received any of the money for them. Ramos said that David Garcia, who won the Praetorian Flyweight Championship, sold 20-25 tickets and got stiffed. “I’m sure there’s a lot of people that bought tickets that never got a refund.”
Ramos said he is at a loss as to what to do to get the money back, so he has joined a group of people that will file a class action suit against Martinez. They are left with no other options. Ramos is obviously has strong feelings about the ordeal. He spent a long time building a gym that has helped create outstanding fighters, only to have a person who was promoting fights for about six months call him and his team extortionists on social media. “He deleted me on Facebook then slandered my name, you can’t get any more coward than that.”
THE FINAL WORD
I offered Martinez a chance to respond to allegations made by all the people in this piece. He responded to me on Facebook, but told me he didn’t have time for gossip. When I told him that it certainly wasn’t gossip and people were considering legal action against him, he inquired as to who and how many were involved. I told him some general details since at that point I knew he was just looking for information and didn’t want to talk for the story. Here’s what he said about a potential lawsuit:
“The only idiots that I can think of is some idiot who made some artwork for me and I found out I was over charged when his Paki firm contacted me (cheap Paki labor and usual over charge) and another vendor who wants to re-nig on an agreement because he is in a financial trouble so he can pay for his wedding. Other than that, I cant think of anyone else I have issues with and nope… and nope, not aware of any legal action… only rumors, gossip and bitter peeps trying to stir the pot because I do not pay their demands… “Pay us or we will shut your promotion down” naw, dont work that way. I’m not going to give in to extortionist and in the end I can walk away from all this and just be a fan and be ok with it.”
Although I can’t speak for the entirety of the Chicago MMA community, I think that’s what most want — for Martinez to ‘walk away’ and never promote another show in this area again.