The sponsorship furore over World Series of Poker Main Event woman finalist Tiffany Michelle (24) escalated this week with a bitter riposte from Michelle to accusations made by Poker News executive Justin Huxley .
Michelle was accused of prejudicing a prior agreement with Poker News by switching to promotional garb in a new deal with UltimateBet, excluding Poker News from the negotiations. "As an organization we felt completely sabotaged by Tiffany, her agent and Ultimate Bet," Huxley said earlier in the week, adding that his company was taking legal advice on the issue.
In a statement released through the WickedChopsPoker.com website, Michelle claimed that her accomplishment in finishing 17th in the WSOP Main Event had been clouded by ‘slanderous accusations and inaccurate information'.
"There is no denying the positive press and exposure I brought Pokernews by wearing their logo and being their representative during the 2008 World Series of Poker main event," Michelle's statement continued. "After such a successful series, I am greatly dismayed by Pokernews' subsequent actions. No one has ever questioned my integrity before this and I am so distressed that Pokernews is using their powerful public forum to spin such a negative recounting of the facts of what occurred during the final two days of the main event.
"As we all know, it is standard practice for players to wear multiple logos during the main event. Pokernews was aware of this, having placed their logos on a number of players with sponsorship deals with other companies. Throughout the World Series I saw several players wear the Pokernews logo alongside the logos of online card rooms such as Pokerstars and T6.
"This makes it very clear that Pokernews supported this practice as a rule and were not against players wearing their logo in conjunction with the logo of an online card room. Like many other people, I wore multiple logos but in no way diminished the presence of Pokernews in doing so."
Michelle's sponsorship by Poker News was apparently achieved through part owner and well known poker player TonyG who through the company staked her for the event along with 34 others, hoping to raise the profile of the brand. Unconfirmed information is that the Poker News deal granted Michelle 33 percent of any winnings and promised to raise her public profile.