UFC Comes Out Firing After Class-Action Lawsuit From Former Fighters

Written by Tom Ngo
December 30th, 2014

UFC Owner Lorenzo Fertitta

The Ultimate Fighting Championship is currently being sued by seven (and the list keeps growing) of their former fighters for allegedly restricting their earning power because of the “monopoly” they maintain on the sport of mixed martial arts.

Cung Le, Jon Fitch and Nate Quarry got things started by filing the first class-action lawsuit two weeks ago. Dennis Hallman and Javier Vazquez reportedly filed a second suit days after, followed by a third one by Brandon Vera and Pablo Garza.

The UFC responded Tuesday by announcing the powerhouse lawfirm Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP will represent them against these accusations.

“We have built a popular business from modest beginnings by meeting the needs of fans and fighters,” the UFC expressed in an official statement. “Millions of people have watched our bouts, we have instituted leading health and safety measures for our athletes, and fighters are free to negotiate contract terms.

“We will stand up against the plaintiffs in this litigation every step of the way, and have engaged attorneys from Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP with a depth of experience in antitrust issues. We are proud of the company we have built, confident in our legal position, and intend to prevail in this lawsuit.”

Bill Isaacson, who is making significant headway in helping former collegiate players sue the NCAA to share in the proceeds from broadcasts and video games in which their names, images or likenesses are used, will serve as the UFC’s lead litigator.

“The antitrust laws have long favored companies that create new products and services that consumers want,” Isaacson stated. “That is exactly what the UFC has done here through its long and substantial investment in building a popular sport.”

The biggest roadblock this class-action suit faces is the fact Bellator MMA exists. It’s tough to argue the UFC is a monopoly when Bellator, the UFC’s biggest rival, is backed by Viacom’s billion-dollar bank account.

Regardless, don’t expect for this to come to a conclusion anytime soon. This could take years to figure out.

(Pictured: UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta)

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