MTK Global boxing business distances itself from Daniel Kinahan after US sanctions

US offering award of up to $5M for information leading to arrest of cartel members

MTK Global, one of the biggest entities in global professional boxing, has distanced itself from Daniel Kinahan after the US authorities imposed financial sanctions on him.

The company, which promotes some of the most successful athletes in the sport, said it would “comply fully with the sanctions made by the US government against Daniel Kinahan”.

"MTK Global will take every measure to ensure the company, and those who deal with it are fully compliant with the US sanctions announced this week and take this matter extremely seriously," said MTK Global chief executive Bob Yalen.

In statement issued on Thursday, just two days after the sanctions were announced and a $5 million reward offered to anyone who can bring Kinahan to justice for his role in leading the Kinahan cartel, MTK said it “parted ways” with Kinahan five years ago.

The company insisted the Dubai-based drugs cartel leader had “no interest in the business since then, and will have no future involvement with us”. It insisted it operated “ethically, transparently and lawfully” adding it would “cooperate fully with all authorities and assist with any ongoing investigations”.

Under the sanctions announced this week by US law enforcement Kinahan (44) and six other men – including his father Christy Snr and brother Christopher Jnr – were targeted. They are effectively locked out of the US banking system and any business they attempt to conduct there will be blocked and assets frozen.

No person or company in the US can do business with them. A reward of $5 million has also been offered to anyone who have supply information to the US authorities that results in the arrest or conviction of any of the three Kinahans.

Deal brokers

The sanctions look set to significantly damage Daniel Kinahan’s position as one of the most powerful deal brokers in professional boxing globally. However, the statement from MTK Global on Thursday is similar to other statements the company has made in recent years, distancing itself from Kinahan.

In the early 2000s Kinahan co-founded the MGM boxing gym and promotions company in Marbella; bringing considerable media attention on himself through his association with well-known pro boxers.

He regularly posed for photos with his fighters or was pictured presenting over-sized cheques to charities to demonstrate his generosity.

In 2017, Daniel Kinahan sold his boxing promotions business, which has since morphed into MTK Global and boasts a stable of some of the world’s best fighters.

However, less than two years ago it emerged he was still working on deals with the company. In May, 2020, Kinahan was at the centre of a new "combat sports" deal between a company founded by a member of the Bahrain royal family and MTK Global. He was quoted in a press release issued by MTK Global.

The partnership came at a time when Kinahan was working to put in place a fight in the Middle East between British boxers Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua for the world heavyweight title.

The new partnership deal was between MTK Global and KHK Sports, which is owned by Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain and which Kinahan was “advising” at the time.

MTK Global said at the time the deal would “bring the biggest fights to the Middle East along with international broadcasters such as ESPN in the US and UK broadcasters such as BT Sports and Sky Sports”.

“This is a monumental move for KHK Sports and MTK Global,” Kinahan said in a press release issued by MTK Global, in which he was described as a “special adviser to KHK Sports”.

“Both organisations have been making substantial waves in the international combats sports landscape and combined, the sky is the limit in what they can achieve,” Kinahan said.

However, after an international backlash because of Kinahan’s role as cartel leader, KHK Sports said it was ending its association with Kinahan.