UFC is in court facing lawsuits after almost 1,200 fighters are set to sue the promotion for alleged unfair business practices.
Federal judge Richard F. Boulware granted the fighters class certification Wednesday. The lawsuit, which was first filed back in 2014 is a class action antitrust lawsuit centered around the company abusing their market power in an attempt to suppress fighter wages. William A. Isaacson, representing the UFC, tells ESPN that the promotion plans to appeal and said “the claims outlined in this lawsuit are legally and factually meritless.”
UFC Antitrust Lawsuit
The fighters, whom which fought for the UFC between December 2010 and June 2017, are seeking between 800 Million and 1.6 Billion dollars in damages. Judge Boulware said he would be granting class certification in a status conference call back in December of 2020, but he did not file an official approval of the plaintiffs’ motion until yesterday.
One of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, Eric Cramer, took to X formerly known as Twitter, to say “Thrilled to announce that the court in the UFC case has certified the class of MMA fighters,” he continued “We look forward to demonstrating our allegations that the UFC has abused its market power to suppress fighter pay before a jury in Las Vegas. The fight for fighter justice continues!”
Two of the fighters, Cung Le and Jon Fitch allege that the UFC is an illegal monopoly or monopsony and have snuffed out competition from other MMA promotions in an effort to drive down fighters’ wages. There’s potential that this case could continue on for years, but a class certification certainly helps the plaintiffs case. Though they did get this class certification, Judge Boulware did not grant certification for the “identity class” part of the suit, where fighters said that the UFC suppressed licensing fees associated with identity rights.
UFC representative William A. Isaacson also said; “We have anticipated this decision, and as we have previously communicated to Judge Boulware, we plan to appeal, This is just one step in a long legal process, and we are confident that the Court will ultimately recognize that the claims outlined in this lawsuit are legally and factually meritless. UFC’s own continued growth accompanied by the growth of other established MMA promoters and the prevalence of successful new market entrants all demonstrate the existence of a healthy and competitive MMA market which benefits athletes, promoters, and fans alike.”
We will continue to report on any news coming out of this lawsuit in the coming months and possibly years.
By: Brady Alexander