WWE Hall of Famer Abdullah the Butcher has been ordered to pay $2.3 million to another wrestler in connection with an alleged hepatitis C infection.
The dispute centered on the pro wrestling practice known as blading: In the ring, a wrestler will purposely cut his own forehead or (by pre-arrangement) that of an opponent with a small razor blade to make the match appear more brutal when the blood starts flowing.
Canadian wrestler Hannibal sued Abdullah (real name Larry Shreve) for allegedly infecting him with the disease in a May 2007 match in Alberta Canada with an allegedly contaminated blade.
Hepatitis C can caused liver failure. According to the CDC, “hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from a person infected with the hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected.”
The WWE offered Hannibal (Devon Nicholson) a three-year contract in 2009, but reportedly pulled the plug on the agreement when the company found out Nicholson had hepatitis C. According to Macleans, “After researching the disease and retracing his steps, Nicholson came to believe that he contracted it from Shreve, when he sliced both of them with the same blade on that spring evening in Alberta. In June 2011, he launched a $6.5-million negligence suit in Ontario Superior Court against the man who had been both his idol and his mentor.”
Yesterday an Ontario judge ruled in Nicholson’s favor and awarded him money damages for negligence arising from the hepatitis c infection from Abdullah. Commenting on the judge’s ruling, Nicholson declared that “Mr. Shreve himself has been saying all along that I’m a liar, that he doesn’t have hepatitis C, he didn’t cut me, and I believe the judge made it very clear that, yes, he did cut me… and yes, he does have a history of hepatitis C.”
Abdullah had denied the allegations according to Deadspin: “Nicholson was able to produce court records showing that he and Shreve carried the same rare strain of the disease, making it highly unlikely he picked it up somewhere else. Shreve’s defense was that it was Nicholson who gave it to him, and when he bladed Nicholson, he was only following orders.”
Hannibal/Nicholson (see below where he puts a celebratory wrestling move on his lawyer outside of the courthouse) claims an experimental protocol cured him of hepatitis C, and he has another WWE tryout next month.
[image credit: Bing]
Abdullah, who is still wrestling on the indy circuit even in his 70s, has a month to appeal the Ontario judge’s decision in the hepatitis C infection lawsuit.
Abdullah demonstrates the blading technique in the video below: