• Loading stock data...
Monday, July 15, 2024

Judge Allows Mammoth UFC Class-Action Case to Proceed

  • UFC vows to appeal judge's decision to certify class of more than 2,000 current and former fighters.
  • Lawsuit was originally filed in December 2014
Dana White at the UFC 266 Weigh-Ins
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Nearly nine years after the lawsuit was initially filed against UFC, a federal judge granted certification of the antitrust case that covers more than 2,000 current and former fighters. 

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Franklin Boulware II wrote in the 80-page order Wednesday that lawyers for the plaintiffs “established” allegations of anticompetitive conduct by the UFC — which artificially kept fighter pay low — sufficiently to allow the class-action case to proceed. 

“We are extremely gratified that the court issued this opinion,” Eric L. Cramer, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, told Front Office Sports. “This is not the end of the fight.”

UFC vowed to appeal the decision in a statement. 

“This is just one step in a long legal process, and we are confident that the court will ultimately recognize that the claims outlined in this lawsuit are legally and factually meritless,”  said William A. Isaacson, UFC’s lead counsel in the case and partner at the firm Paul Weiss. “UFC’s own continued growth accompanied by the growth of other established MMA promoters and the prevalence of successful new market entrants all demonstrate the existence of a healthy and competitive MMA market which benefits athletes, promoters, and fans alike.”

The ruling covers fighters who competed in UFC events from December 2010 through June 2017. Boulware rejected the second class covering the usage of name, image, and likeness of fighters over the same period. 

“[The plaintiffs] are thrilled and excited,” said Cramer, a partner at Berger Montague. “They’re resolved to continue the fight. They brought this case in December 2014. Some of the fighters have been working on this their whole professional lives on this. They are eager to move forward and prove their case.”

Boulware wrote that the plaintiffs were able to establish allegations of UFC’s alleged anticompetitive conduct that included: 

  • Enforcing contracts that kept fighters “locked up” in an “anti-competitive manner.”
  • Making “extracontractual methods” that basically made fighter contracts “perpetual.”
  • UFC’s acquisition of competing leagues — some of which were shut down — to maintain dominance. 

Cung Le, the case’s lead plaintiff, fought in Strikeforce, one of the leagues purchased and later folded into UFC. Strikeforce was shuttered in January 2012 — less than a year after UFC acquired the MMA organization — and Le fought for the fourth and final time under the UFC banner in August 2014. 

“Our case challenges the UFC’s alleged abuses of market power to suppress fighter pay,” lawyers for the plaintiffs said in a statement. “We allege that because of its monopoly and monopoly abuses, the UFC pays its fighters only 20% of its event revenues when boxing and other major sports pay well above 50%. The men and women of the UFC who put their lives on the line for their sport deserve better, and we intend to achieve justice on their behalf.”

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

The Mississippi Department of Human Services on Monday sued retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre along with several other people and businesses to try to recover millions of misspent welfare dollars that were intended to help some of the poorest people in the U.S.

Judge in Mississippi Welfare Case Boots Brett Favre’s Lead Lawyer

The judge wrote he had a ‘pattern and practice of delicate deception.’
May 2, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Referee Kenny Bayless (center) separates Manny Pacquiao (left) from Floyd Mayweather during their boxing bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Most Watched Boxing Matches Ever

The most-watched boxing match was the 2015 bout between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao which drew 4.6 million PPV buys.

TopSpin 2K25 Brings the Legends of Tennis to Your Living Room

2K sports is reviving a classic with TopSpin 2K25.
Mar 18, 2023; London, UNITED KINGDOM; Leon Edwards (red gloves) celebrates after defeating Kamaru Usman (not pictured) during UFC 286 at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

The Highest-Paid UFC Welterweights

The highest-earning UFC welterweight is Kamaru Usman, who has earned $5.8 million in his time fighting in the UFC.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Formula E is Powering Its Own Future


Featured Today

Jan 7, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at Nissan Stadium.

Without Hard-Line Bans, Pro Athletes and Personnel Will Keep Betting on Sports

Penalties often aren’t stringent or consistent enough to deter banned behavior.
Oct 2, 2021; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goddell speaks during the Don Shula Celebration of Life at Hard Rock Stadium.
July 13, 2024

The NFL Is Confident It Can Overturn the Sunday Ticket Verdict

The league may have good reason to believe it can win.
July 8, 2024

NFLPA Report Cards Have Become the ‘Talk of the Locker Room’ Across..

NFLPA report cards have become the ‘talk of the locker room.’
July 7, 2024

The New College Sports Insiders Are Graphic Designers

Joe Tipton and Hayes Fawcett have become premier news-breakers on social media.

Teenage Sprinting Prodigy Sues Gatorade After Positive Test

Issam Asinga alleges Gatorade gave him contaminated gummies.
Stadium with NFL logo at the mid-field line
July 10, 2024

‘Nonsensical’: NFL Blasts Massive Jury Award in Latest Sunday Ticket Case Filings

The league asked for a new trial and called the damages ‘indefensible.’
July 11, 2024

Criminal Charges Mean No Pay for Wander Franco

Franco had been receiving half of his $2 million base salary.

TopSpin 2K25 Brings the Legends of Tennis to Your Living Room

2K sports is reviving a classic with TopSpin 2K25.
July 9, 2024

$2 Million of Memorabilia Stolen in Dallas Baseball Card Heist

The thieves pulled off a sophisticated heist at the Dallas Card Show.
Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre watches from a suite in the third quarter of Super Bowl 56 between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., on Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022. The Rams came back in the final minutes of the game to win 23-20 on their home field. Super Bowl 56 Cincinnati Bengals Vs La Rams
July 9, 2024

‘Powerless’ Brett Favre Attempts to Revive Lawsuit Against Shannon Sharpe

Attorney argued Sharpe’s comment that Favre ‘stole’ welfare dollars isn’t protected speech.
July 2, 2024

Nev. Court Again Rules Gruden Suit Should Be Shunted To Secretive NFL Arbitration

Gruden says the NFL leaked emails to oust him as Raiders coach.