The battle between Tiffany Michelle and Pokernews.com continues to escalate.
The feud started during Tiffany Michelle's deep run in the 2008 World Series of Poker main event. A number of days into the event, Tiffany agreed to a sponsorship deal with Ultimatebet. In addition to the Pokernews logo that she had been wearing since the start of the event, Michelle was now also sporting an Ultimatebet logo.
Michelle ended up making it to the final two tables, and was eventually eliminated in 17th place. She took down $334k for her deep finish in the event.
Hours after Michelle was eliminated, Pokernews Vice President Justin Robert Huxley released an official statement from the company. The statement trashed Michelle and her agent, saying that they had gone behind the backs of Pokernews to ink a deal with Ultimatebet. The statement went on to say that Tiffany had "completely contradicted the trust that we had put in her", and that Pokernews felt "completely sabotaged by Tiffany, her agent and Ultimate Bet". Their main point of contention - not only was Michelle an employee with Pokernews, but they had also sponsored her buy-in into the main event, and felt as though they should have at least been included in the negotiations.
The full statement from Pokernews can be read here.
Next up: Tony G. Tony G is a major shareholder in Pokernews, and released his own blog posting on the matter. Tony said that he wasn't going to put Michelle in the main event, as he didn't think that she was a good investment. However, Jeff Lisandro and Tiffany "really hit it off", and Lisandro convinced Tony G to put Michelle in the main event. Lisandro agreed to put up $4k of the buy-in, with Tony G putting up the other $6k. The deal was to be: one third for Lisandro, one third for Tony G, one third for Michelle and that Michelle would "represent Pokernews". According to Tony, the deal would also call for Tony to "have all the rights to Tiff in terms of endorsement".
According to Tony, he was "stunned" when she showed up wearing the Ultimatebet logo. He went on to say that he was working on a deal with Pokerstars that would have made her "millions" and gotten her at least "$1M in buy-ins no matter where she finished in the main event". Tony finishes up by saying that he is pissed and can't sleep because of the situation. He questions her business ethics, and says that she is the first person to "break the poker code" in terms of people that he has had dealings with.
Tony G's statement can be found here.
Tiffany released a statement herself tonight. She says that she signed a "non-exclusive" contract with Pokernews, and that in no way was she prevented from wearing another logo. She also says that in no way was she signing away her endorsement rights when she inked this deal, and that the fact that Tony G was negotiating with Pokerstars proves that the contract was non-exclusive. She also points to the fact that many players were wearing Pokernews logos AND online poker room logos - she wonders why she had to be exclusive to Pokernews, but no one else? She then lashes out at Pokernews for making this dispute public, and says that she thanks Tony G and Lisandro for backing her in the main event.
Tiffany Michelle's full statement can be found here.
All in all, a very messy situation. I guess that we won't be seeing Tiffany Michelle on Pokernews.com anytime soon..
Filed Under: Other Poker News