Court certifies billion dollar class action lawsuit against UFC as judge slams ‘unfettered power’ by company
Former UFC fighters earned a massive victory in the courtroom earlier this week.
In 2014, several former fighters began the process of filing a class action lawsuit against the company. Led by names such as Cung Le, and Nate Quarry, they accused the UFC of being a monopsony. The lawsuit alleged that the UFC purposefully bought out competitors while driving down fighter pay.
For years, the fighter’s lawsuit has been stagnant. Others, such as Representative Mark Wayne Mullin have attempted to bring the Ali Act to MMA via Congress. As of now, they’ve also found little success. However, it seems that the fighters got their first major win in a while. The antitrust lawsuit has now been certified as a class action.
United States District Court Judge Richard Boulware officially moved the lawsuit forward earlier this week. In court documents covered by Bloody Elbow, the judge was brutally honest about the UFC’s efforts to drive down fighter pay, and also their incredibly restrictive contracts.
In addition to moving the case forward, Judge Boulware certified the “bout class”. Fighters that competed in the UFC from December 16, 2010, to June 30, 2017, may be eligible to be covered for damages resulting from the UFC’s stranglehold on the sport. It’s worth noting that this is a much smaller subset of fighters that will be eligible than first expected.
Still, the class action lawsuit is expected to cover fighters whose images were used by Zuffa for merchandise and video games. Due to the specific class certification in this case, all 1200 fighters that competed in that near-seven-year window will be automatically enrolled as plaintiffs. They will have the option to opt out.
Lastly, the fighters in this case are seeking between $811 million to $1.6 billion in damages. If the plaintiffs win in court because it is an antitrust case, those damages will be tripled by the court.
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This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM