Ottawa wrestler 'Hannibal' wins $2.3M hepatitis C lawsuit

A professional wrestler from Ottawa should receive $2.3 million in damages and fees from the wrestler who gave him hepatitis C, a judge ruled Tuesday morning.

Judge rules Devon (Hannibal) Nicholson contracted disease from WWE legend Abdullah the Butcher

Wrestling lawsuit

9 years ago
Duration 3:00
Judge rules wrestler Devon "Hannibal" Nicholson got hepatitis C from "Abdullah the Butcher."

Devon (Hannibal) Nicholson, a professional wrestler from Ottawa, should receive $2.3 million in damages and fees from the wrestler known as Abdullah the Butcher, who gave him hepatitis C, a judge ruled Tuesday morning. 

Nicholson, who wrestled under the moniker Hannibal, filed a $6.5-million lawsuit against World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) hall-of-famer Lawrence Robert Shreve, known as Abdullah the Butcher in the ring.
A judge ruled Devon Nicholson contracted hepatitis C from Lawrence Robert Shreve, the wrestler known as Abdullah the Butcher. (CBC)

Nicholson said he contracted the infectious disease that attacks the liver from Shreve during a wrestling match in Cochrane, Alta., on May 26, 2007.

He said Shreve had a piece of razor blade taped to his finger during the match — a wrestling practice known as "blading."

Nicholson said he was offered a three-year contract with WWE, the largest professional wrestling company in the world, after a 2009 tryout camp.

The WWE cancelled his contract less than three weeks later when the company found out Nicholson had hepatitis C.

In January 2014, Nicholson said an experimental treatment cured him of hepatitis C. He now hopes to fulfill his dream of fighting in the WWE. 

Court rules in favour of Nicholson

On Tuesday, an Ontario Superior Court judge ruled that Nicholson did contract hepatitis C from Shreve.

After a long legal battle, Nicholson said it's great to finally have the truth on the record.

"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," Nicholson said.

Shreve has 30 days should he decide to launch an appeal.

Outside the courthouse, Nicholson celebrated the ruling by hoisting his lawyer over his shoulders in a demonstration of the Sacrifice Power Bomb.