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Abdusalamov lawsuit vs. referee Esteves settled

A lawsuit filed in 2014 by the family of disabled boxer Magomed Abdusalamov against referee Benjy Esteves Jr. over the bout that left Abdusalamov with permanent brain damage was settled Friday.

The Abdusalamovs dropped their suit in New York State Supreme Court after Esteves, a professional ref for more than 25 years, agreed to make a $1,000 donation to the Ring 10 Veterans Boxing Foundation -- an organization that aided Abdusalamov before his record-setting $22 million settlement from the state of New York in 2017.

"I feel horrible for 'Mago' and his family about what happened," Samuel Viruet, the attorney for Esteves, told ESPN's Outside the Lines. "He was asymptomatic in the ring and the message of this settlement is that my client is not liable for any negligence."

The Abdusalamovs' attorney, Paul Edelstein, told OTL that Esteves and Viruet "worked empathetically and cooperatively with our office throughout the litigation." He added that the focus of the trial should be on the lack of medical protection afforded boxers.

The Abdusalamovs' lawsuit continues against three doctors who worked his 2013 heavyweight bout vs. Mike Perez. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Aug. 14.

Edelstein said the doctors -- Anthony Curreri, Osric King and Gerard Varlotta -- "have not offered one penny" to Abdusalamov or his family, but have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on lawyers to contest the suit.

Abdusalamov, then 32, and Perez were both undefeated at the start of their Nov. 2, 2013, fight on HBO in the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Perez won a unanimous 10-round decision, landing 312 punches to Abdusalamov's 248, and left the native of the Russian Republic of Dagestan with a bloodied and swollen face.

In the postfight dressing room, Varlotta and Curreri examined Abdusalamov, stitched a deep cut above his left eye, cleared him to leave and advised him to see a doctor within a week of returning to his Florida home, so he could have the stitches removed and receive X-rays of a suspected facial fracture. Abdusalamov's handlers told OTL they heard him say during the exam that his head hurt.

The doctors, who were working for the state athletic commission, had an ambulance at their disposal, but did not recommend that Abdusalamov go to a hospital that night.

After the doctors left Abdusalamov in the dressing room, a fight inspector saw blood in his urine sample and suggested that the boxer's handlers take him to a hospital by taxi.

Surveillance video recorded an increasingly unsteady Abdusalamov outside the arena, vomiting on the curb, as his interpreter was trying to hail a cab. After Abdusalamov reached a hospital emergency room, he lost consciousness. A CT scan revealed a brain bleed; he underwent emergency surgery, suffered multiple strokes and was in a coma for weeks.

Abdusalamov, a married father of three girls, remains paralyzed on his right side, with severely limited ability to communicate.

A report in 2016 by the state inspector general excoriated the athletic commission for inadequate postfight emergency plans and failing to properly communicate with Abdusalamov and his team, who were not advised an ambulance was available. The 32-month investigation cited systemic problems with the commission and recommended numerous reforms.