We reported the following on 5/25/10:
On the official message board for the NWA Legends Fanfest at www.nwalegends.com, promoter Greg Price wrote a detailed statement in response to fans questioning the Ric Flair situation we wrote about yesterday here on PWInsider.com:
Ok, Kenny, let me address this. But I want you and everyone else to know that no one, not me or anyone else from fanfest, is asking you to take sides here. I understand how it is to idolize someone, especially for a long, long time. I did that with Flair myself. But here's the situation in a nutshell...
I think most of Flair's personal issues are well-documented. Surely you've heard of them right? No need for me to go into details here on things I wasn't involved in, but to answer your question about the NWA belt, I believe he hocked it, placed it as collateral for loans that were never repaid. I'm sure others on here can direct you for more info on that.
As far as my dealings with Ric, they actually go back 10+ years, but I'll start with the summer of 2008. He'd just retired at Wrestlemania, and I booked him for our August fanfest which ended up being his first non-WWE appearance. I dealt with Elaine Gillespie, Ric's new agent at the time, had everything in writing and everything went great.
Then last year, the relationship with Ric and his agent had already gone south, like many of his relationships. I had an opportunity to reunite the Four Horsemen but couldn't without Flair, of course. When I went to LOTR last May, the Friday night before the LOTR show is when Flair walked out on ROH and also the same night I got the word that he wouldn't be doing fanfest last year because he was going overseas. Some folks here will remember me sharing that news as it happened.
Well, within a few weeks after that, the overseas trip got cancelled and the opportunity was again possible to reunite the Horsemen. With no agent, I began dealing with Michael at Highspots. Michael had just done the Ric Flair shoot interview, and was in possession of the NWA belt you asked about, looking for ways to retrieve his money as Flair had not made good on a previous loan from Michael. It was Michael that negotiated the deal that allowed Flair to be at fanfest last year, the second year in a row, and our 3-way agreement was in writing. Flair was cognizant of everything. There was no middle man in the deal. Michael and I dealt with him directly. The deal was that I paid Flair a portion of his fee up front, with the balance paid to Michael at fanfest, so Michael was getting paid back on his loan without it coming directly out of Flair's pocket.
Gosh, maybe this is too much for some of you. Maybe it'd be better suited for my first Q&A
Ok, everything moves along. Ric is helpful in doing local media for the event. Shows up and does the Q&A with Harley Race on Thursday night. Everything's fine. Well, Horsemen day is Friday and he shows up at Noon, the scheduled start time, and first wants to see Michael before we start doing Horsemen pictures. I didn't know why he wanted Michael, but told him I'd take him to the Highspots booth. We went there but couldn't find Michael. He spent a few more minutes looking for him to no avail before we finally started the Horsemen photo ops. Well, at one of the breaks, Michael came by and I witnessed first-hand a confrontation between the two of them, arguing about their money deals. I'm like "Guys, can we do this another time? We've got business to do here. We've got fans waiting." Words to that effect. I wanted to excuse myself because I felt the conversation was between the two of them (and it was,) but Ric insisted I stay and listen. Finally, after some shoulder-pounding on both sides, they'd said what they needed to say to each other and we got back to the photo ops. I'd never seen Flair act like that, but it wasn't my business so I just stayed out of it, thinking "Dang, what has Michael gotten himself into?"
I thought that was the end of it, but Naitch would rear his ugly head yet again...
Part of our written agreement was that Flair would induct Blackjack Mulligan into our Hall of Heroes last year, basically the "main event" of our banquet. I don't need to remind you guys that we went way over on time with the Horsemen signing, which delayed the start of the banquet.
Well, once everyone is in and seated and during the dinner portion, Ric and his then-fiance Jackie and son Reid were outside of the largest ballroom in the foyer area between the two bathrooms (those of you that have been here before will know where that's at.) It's an open area and folks were going back and forth to the bathrooms. (On a side note, I'd love to be able to find someone that may have walked by at the time and witnessed any of this.) I was confronted by Ric, not the friendly and helpful Ric that he'd been to me previously, but the same Ric that I saw confront Michael earlier in the day. He was animated. He was loud. I tried several times to get him to lower his voice or go somewhere in private to speak but he wouldn't budge. He was not only holding me up for more money (which I'll get to in a moment,) but he wanted to make sure that I gave him the money that was to be paid to Michael per our written agreement.
That night, that moment, I came face to face with evil. I will never look at that guy the same way again. I'd grown up idolizing this guy and here he is jumping up and down like a spoiled brat, screaming and hollering, not just to me but in front of fans and everyone else. And if you can picture the place where I describe this as happening, you know it's just outside the doors of the Hall of Heroes ceremony.
He wanted to be paid the money that was supposed to go to Michael, and he wanted more money on top of that, or he was going to "Leave right now." Honestly, in hindsight, I should've let him walk. Anyone that's ever tried to hold me up before, I've let them walk. But to give you an idea of what I'm thinking, our autograph session with the Horsemen went way over, I have many items from fans that are still waiting on his signature, and I have his mailorder stuff that is yet to be done. So if he walked then, I'd be giving a lot of money back to a lot of angry fans. So I agreed. It ended the most disgusting ten minutes of my life. For those of you that attended the banquet, imagine what I was thinking when he thanked me during his speech inducting Blackjack. What a phoney. What a farce. What a pathetic human being.
After the banquet, Flair and his then-fiance Jackie sat down and signed a few hundred photo ops and mailorder items and was paid in front of witnesses. He wasn't rude now. He knew I'm a man of my word and I'd agreed to pay him, instead of Michael. He left happily, as witnessed by many.
I can guarantee you if Ric Flair wasn't paid, he would've still been there, kicking and screaming like a little kid. So I owe Ric Flair nothing.
Needless to say, Michael is still fighting, trying to collect his money, as far as I know. It wasn't long after fanfest, when he knew Flair wasn't going to pay him, that he tried to sell the NWA belt that Flair had hocked. Only to find out later that another company had a lien against Flair's personal belongings and it couldn't be sold. Blah blah blah.
Again, and from the beginning, my intent is not to change people's thoughts on Flair. One of our fanfest regulars attended the TNA Lockdown PPV in St. Louis a few weeks back. He didn't want to tell me this story himself, but I finally got it out of him. Like many of you guys when you go to other signings and wear your fanfest t-shirts, when this fanfest regular saw Flair in St. Louis he asked Naitch if he was going to be in Charlotte this year for fanfest. Flair told him something to the effect of "When you see Greg Price, tell him he owes me 25 grand" and went further to say that he got ripped off last year. THAT IS AN ABSOLUTE LIE AND IS THE EXACT "RUMOR" I'M TRYING TO BE PROACTIVE ABOUT, NIPPING IT IN THE BUD BEFORE IT GOES ANY FURTHER. I'm sure if he's told one person this lie, he's told it to many.
I believe that our fanfest regular that had this conversation with Ric will publicly identify himself very soon. This isn't a "Me vs. Ric" situation. This is truth vs. lie.
The 25 grand figure is a pie-in-the-sky number. I've never paid anyone 25 grand to do anything.
I understand why this man wants to talk smack about his creditors. He owes them money. But I have no idea why he would want to accuse me of ripping him off or owing him money. No idea. And I've called his agent/attorney to let her know all my info so she can file a lawsuit against me if she really believes that. Otherwise, this b.s. needs to stop.
Gosh folks, sorry for the long diatribe. It is the truth, though. Sadly enough.