PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 29, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- On December 5, 2018, at 1 p.m. PST, named Plaintiffs and Plaintiffs' Counsel in the pending class action lawsuit against Zuffa, LLC, d/b/a Ultimate Fighting Championship ("UFC") are hosting an information session for members of the proposed class (i.e., all fighters who competed in UFC bouts, or who had their identity rights used or taken by the UFC, after December 16, 2010) to provide updates on the status of the lawsuit. This meeting will be held at the law offices of one of Plaintiffs' counsel in the suit:
Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin, LLP
3556 E. Russell Road
Las Vegas, NV 89120
This meeting is open to all potential class members.
On December 16, 2014, a group of current and former UFC fighters filed a class action lawsuit against the UFC. The lawsuit, Le, et al. v. Zuffa, LLC, alleges that the UFC violated antitrust laws through a scheme to dominate the alleged market for promotion of mixed martial arts. The suit claims that the alleged scheme permitted the UFC to pay its fighters below levels that free and fair competition would have produced. The suit seeks recovery of money damages from Zuffa for all members of the proposed Bout and Identity Rights classes and also injunctive relief.
Specifically, the fighters claim that the UFC engaged in an anticompetitive scheme, including the following alleged practices:
(1) locking fighters into long-term, exclusive contracts, preventing them from competing elsewhere, and restricting the use of their identities;
(2) using its market dominance to coerce fighters to re-sign contracts, making the contracts effectively perpetual, and preventing fighters from reaching free agency; and
(3) acquiring and then shutting down other MMA promoters that had the potential to threaten the UFC's dominance.
Plaintiffs claim that by allegedly locking up the vast majority of top fighters in each weight class and buying out its biggest potential rivals, the UFC's scheme has prevented potential competitors from obtaining the critical mass of top fighters necessary to compete with the UFC, thereby allegedly making all other MMA promotions "minor leagues."
Plaintiffs claim that in MMA, athletes obtain fame by competing against ranked opponents, ascending the rankings, and vying for titles. By allegedly acquiring all potential competitors and signing virtually all top fighters to exclusive contracts, the suit claims that the UFC made itself the only game in town, leaving top fighters and fighters aspiring to compete at the "major league" level with nowhere else to go. Due to this alleged lack of competition, the suit asserts that the UFC is able to pay its fighters significantly less than it otherwise would. That is, the suit claims that if the fighters had more viable promotions competing for their services, they would be paid a lot more.
The case is pending before Judge Richard Boulware in federal court in Nevada. The named Plaintiffs are Cung Le, Nathan Quarry, Jon Fitch, Brandon Vera, Luis Javier Vazquez, and Kyle Kingsbury. The Court has appointed three interim co-lead counsel to represent the class. Those firms are: Berger Montague PC, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, and the Joseph Saveri Law Firm, Inc. Other counsel for the Plaintiffs include Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin, LLP and Warner Angle Hallam Jackson & Formanek PLC.
Eric L. Cramer
SOURCE Berger Montague