Antitrust lawsuit filed against UFC parent company claims monopoly
J Thoendell stashed this in Sports
A group of current and former mixed martial arts fighters is suing the company that owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship in what could evolve into a class-action antitrust lawsuit involving hundreds of fighters, according to one of the attorneys involved.
The lawsuit, the culmination of months of rumors about pending legal action, was filed against Zuffa LLC, the parent company of the UFC, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. It has three named plaintiffs: current UFC middleweight Cung Le and former UFC fighters Jon Fitch and Nathan Quarry.
It accuses the UFC of being a monopoly that forces out rival promotions and limits fighter earnings.
Rob Maysey, a Phoenix-based attorney and longtime critic of what he describes as the "restrictive" labor practices of the UFC, says he has tried for years to warn the world's largest promoter of MMA competitions about the prospect of an antitrust case.
"I called [the UFC] in 2006 and said, 'You have a choice.' I said, 'You guys are going to recognize a fighters' association or you're going to face an antitrust case," Maysey told "Outside the Lines" on Tuesday.
"They [the UFC] have become the only game in town and locked down the entire sport. ... At its heart, this lawsuit is about fundamental fairness. The world-class athletes that comprise the UFC are making enormous sacrifices and taking huge risks. It is a basic right that these athletes enjoy the fruits of their labors."
The lawsuit alleges that the UFC prevents fighters from working with other MMA promoters, profiting from individual marketing deals and signing with outside sponsors, all monopolistic practices that suppress fighters' incomes, according to the lawsuit.