MTK Global, the boxing promotions company Daniel Kinahan founded in 2012 and says he sold in 2017, has announced the resignation of its chief executive Bob Yalen.
He has stepped down from MTK Global a week after US law enforcement announced they had placed Daniel Kinahan – as well as his father Christy and brother Christopher Jnr – on a financial sanctions list.
Four of the Kinahans' associates from Ireland, but based in Dubai and Spain, were also placed on the sanctions list as well as three companies linked to them. It means they are locked out of the US banking system and that any assets they have there will be frozen. Under the sanctions, companies or people in the US cannot deal with the Kinahans and their associates.
Neither Mr Yalen, an American who lives in the US, nor MTK Global mentioned Kinahan in the resignation statement on Tuesday. However, Mr Yalen said he had decided to step down after considering the pressure he had been under recently.
“I am incredibly proud of the success of MTK Global and I feel privileged to have served as president and CEO since 2018,” Mr Yalen said in a statement issued by the company.
“However, the pressure of the last few weeks has been particularly intense. I need to consider the impact on myself and my family. So after four years leading MTK, I think it’s time for me to step aside to take on new challenges.”
MTK Global said it was announcing Mr Yalen’s departure “with regret” and thanked him for “all of his efforts on behalf of the business and his leadership of our team”.
MTK Global began as Macklin's Gym Marbella (MGM) based in southern Spain. MGM was founded about 10 years ago by Daniel Kinahan and former champion boxer Matthew Macklin. While Mr Macklin has no involvement in crime, Kinahan has been named by Irish and US law enforcement as the leader of the Kinahan drugs cartel.
MGM was rebranded as MTK (Mc The Knife) Global in 2017 and Kinahan claims to have sold the company to Sandra Vaughan later that year.
MTK Global has signed an impressive stable of fighters, including heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury. The company has been forced repeatedly to deny that Kinahan remains involved. Instead, Kinahan has claimed he works as an advisor to a large number of fighters, including some of those signed by MTK Global.
On Tuesday, Mr Fury was also asked about his association with Kinahan as he was speaking to the media in advance of his title fight with Dillian Whyte next Saturday. Mr Fury had previously thanked Kinahan for arranging fights.
However, when asked about the Dublin cartel leader on Tuesday, he had no substantive comment to make, saying he was “just a fighter”. He added the US sanctions placed on Kinahan were “none of my business, I keep my own business to myself, that’s it”.
Mr Yalen was appointed the chief executive of MTK Global in June, 2020, and took over that role from Sandra Vaughan, who Kinahan claims to have sold the company to in 2017. Before his stint as president and chief executive at MTK Global, Mr Yalen was a senior figure in boxing broadcasts for a number of channels including ABC, NBC Sports, ESPN and Fox Sports, among others.