Light heavyweight Ryan Coyne (21-1) lost this year, for the first time in his professional career, against Kansas City, Kansas' Marcus Oliveira. However, that defeat was just a footnote in the larger battle Coyne fought against his former promoter, the legendary Don King. Coyne felt King was intentionally putting his career on ice out of spite and, in response, did what most professional fighters are too scared to do: He called King out and took him to court. Coyne risked his livelihood, his reputation; he risked pissing off King's industry friends. After King sued Coyne for breach of contract, threatening to take more money than Coyne ever made fighting, it was looking like potential career suicide. With all that going on, Coyne still stepped into the ring with Oliveira in April, even though many said it was a fight Coyne couldn't win. After the loss, King released Coyne from the contract and dropped his lawsuit, ending the protracted battle of wills. It was a bittersweet way to earn his freedom, but after facing a foe larger than any he could possibly meet in the ring, he has certainly earned some respect.
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