The UFC’s Biggest Bout Yet: Its Fighters’ Antitrust Lawsuit

May 24, 2017

There currently is an antitrust litigation that is enveloping the mixed martial arts (MMA) world. Six current and former MMA fighters have filed a class action lawsuit against the company that owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Zuffa, LLC, for violations of the Sherman Act. [Cung Le, et al. v. Zuffa, LLC, d/b/a Ultimate Fighting Championship and UFC, Case No. 5:14-cv-05484, U.S. Dist. Ct. N.D. of California.] A review of the docket indicates that the UFC will have to go a few more rounds before it has another opportunity for a knockout.

The putative class plaintiffs allege that the UFC has monop­oly or monopsony power in two markets: (1) the market for pro­motion of live MMA bouts, and (2) the market for professional MMA fighting services. The plain­tiffs claim that the UFC receives 90 percent of the revenues from MMA bout promotion and that MMA fighters do not have the ability to work for MMA promot­ers other than the UFC.

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