A group of MMA fighters have come together to bring forth a lawsuit against the UFC, claiming the fighting promotion is a monopoly.
According to ESPN.com, a group of both current and former fighters have filed a lawsuit against Zuffa LLC, the parent company of the UFC, accusing the company of forcing out rival promotions and limiting fighter earnings.
Documents name three plaintiffs: current UFC middleweight Cung Le and former UFC fighters Jon Fitch and Nathan Quarry.
Phoenix-based attorney and longtime critic of what he refers to as “restrictive” labor practices by the UFC, Rob Maysey, tells ESPN that he’s tried to warn the company for years about a potential 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,” he said.
“[The UFC] have become the only game in town and locked down the entire sport,” Maysey adds. “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 claims that the UFC prevents fighters from working with other MMA promoters, profiting from individual marketing deals and signing with outside sponsors — all of which are monopolistic practices that suppress fighters’ incomes, says court docs.
Current UFC fighter Cung Le agrees, saying: “[The UFC] control our likeness. They control our career, and that’s a choice we as fighters should have. And we don’t have that choice… I’m going to represent all the fighters that are scared to take a step up.”
The Federal Trade Commission opened an anti-trust investigation on Zuffa in 2011, after they acquired competitor Strikeforce, but closed the case in January 2012. However, they maintained the right to reopen at any time.