The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Tuesday issued a statement defending its position in the recent antitrust lawsuits filed against it.
The initial UFC lawsuit centered around antitrust issues was filed on Tuesday, Dec. 16, when a legal team representing plaintiffs Cung Le, Jon Fitch, and Nate Quarry filed the suit in the United States District Court, Northern District of California, in San Jose, Calif. The second such suit was filed on Monday, Dec. 22, on behalf of Javier Vasquez and Dennis Hallman. The third such suit was filed on Christmas Eve on behalf of Brandon Vera and Pablo Garza.
The various suits allege that the “UFC has engaged in an illegal scheme to eliminate competition from would-be rival MMA Promoters by systematically preventing them from gaining access to resources critical to successful MMA Promotions, including by imposing extreme restrictions on UFC Fighters’ ability to fight for would-be rivals during and after their tenure with the UFC. As part of the scheme, the UFC not only controls Fighters’ careers, but also takes and expropriates the rights to their names and likenesses in perpetuity. As a result of this scheme, UFC Fighters are paid a fraction of what they would earn in a competitive marketplace.”
As expected, the UFC stands firm in its belief that it has properly built its business, and intends to defend its position.
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“We have built a popular business from modest beginnings by meeting the needs of fans and fighters. 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,” read the UFC’s statement.
“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.”
The attorneys at Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP have been involved in several notable cases, including United States vs. Microsoft, Bush vs. Gore, and the National Football League’s defense against the antitrust litigation initiated by the NFL Players Association.
The firms filing the suits on behalf of the fighters include the Joseph Saveri Law Firm; Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC; and Berger & Montague, P.C., all of which are noted for dealing with antitrust issues.
Bill Isaacson, the UFC’s lead litigator, said, “The antitrust laws have long favored companies that create new products and services that consumers want. That is exactly what the UFC has done here through its long and substantial investment in building a popular sport.”
The UFC statement went on to say, “We are proud of the company we have built, confident in our legal position, and intend to prevail in this lawsuit.”