Ottawa wrestler claims WWE legend gave him hep C
A professional wrestler from Ottawa has filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit against wrestling legend Abdullah the Butcher, alleging that the WWE hall-of-famer gave him hepatitis C during a 2007 match.
Devon Nicholson, who wrestled under the moniker Hannibal, is suing Abdullah, whose real name is Lawrence Robert Shreve, for $6.5 million.
The statement of claim filed with the Ontario Superior Court accuses Shreve of negligence, assault, and battery.
None of the allegations has been proven in court.
The Windsor, Ont.-born Shreve, who now lives in Atlanta, has denied he has tested positive for hepatitis C. He refused to comment when reached by CBC News on Thursday.
Nicholson's statement of claim says he was offered a three-year contract with World Wrestling Entertainment, the largest professional wrestling company in the world, after a 2009 tryout camp.
However, the WWE cancelled his contract two and a half weeks later when the company learned that Nicholson had hepatitis C, an infectious disease that attacks the liver.
The documents allege that Nicholson contracted the disease from Shreve during a wrestling match in Cochrane, Alta., on May 26, 2007.
Shreve allegedly taped a piece of razor blade to his finger unbeknownst to Nicholson. The statement says Shreve cut himself and Nicholson during the match, in a common professional wrestling practice known as 'blading.'
Wrestler says he did not consent to cut
Nicholson had not given prior consent to being cut and did not realize he was cut during the match, the statement says.
Nicholson spoke about the alleged incident in a documentary titled Don't Bleed on Me, posted on YouTube on March 31.
"After thinking about it a while, I came to the conclusion that the only way I could have caught this disease, since it was blood to blood, was during the bloody matches I had with Abdullah the Butcher," Nicholson says during the video.
The court statement said Shreve's alleged cutting "does not fall within the scope of implied consent and went beyond the limits of the sport of wrestling."
The document said Nicholson began thinking obsessively about the end of his dream career and began taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication.
It said Nicholson suffers from a host of ailments because of the alleged incident and subsequent diagnosis, including depression, severe headaches, nausea, weight loss, and numbness in his limbs.
"Devon's professional career in wrestling has been prematurely ended because of the defendant Shreve's negligence and/or assault and/or battery," according to the statement of claim.
Nicholson now works at Ottawa's Ray Friel complex as a personal trainer.
He is suing for lost income, medical expenses and any future care. His parents, brother and grandmother are also suing for $40,000 each for "loss of guidance, care and companionship."
With files from the CBC's Julie Ireton