Injunctive relief in UFC anti-trust case could end iron grip on fighters

Injunctive relief in UFC anti-trust case could end iron grip on fighters

  • MMA News
  • novembre 24, 2023
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Things keep on getting worse for the UFC regarding a series of anti-trust lawsuits filed against them.

After years of little movement in their case, the Le vs. UFC case representing 1200 fighters during the period between 2010 and 2017 is surging forward. The UFC is on the hook for billions of dollars in damages if Le lawyers can show that the promotion illegally used its dominant position as top dog to distort the market and artificially depress fighter wages.

For those of you who have been following MMA news for a while, you probably know what the answer to that claim is. Can Le lawyers prove it? Are U.S. anti-trust laws written in such a way where that proof matters? We’ll learn the answers to those questions in 2024 as the case finally goes to trial in February.

Recently, a report from Bloody Elbow noted that Judge Richard F. Boulware refused several UFC motions that were viewed as an attempt to delay the start of the trial. Not only that, he decided that Le Plaintiffs could see injunctive relief based on the results of their case. There will be no waiting for a second case from Kajan Johnson covering the time period following 2017 before changes to unfair business practices may be forced upon the UFC.

“The judge, not the jury, could order changes to the UFC’s behavior — it will be decided immediately after the Le case if the plaintiffs win,” Bloody Elbow’s John Nash said. “Suddenly that case has a lot more at stake and is a lot riskier for the UFC.”

Injunctive relief could change a lot of things. For example, there’s a lot of restrictive language in UFC contracts, things the judge has commented on in past rulings. A simple change like requiring contracts to last no longer than two years would make a huge change. His rulings could break the UFC’s iron grip on all the top athletes in the sport.

“[The UFC] can just take loans out and the loans would pay for the damages, and then they’d have to pay the loans off, which would be much cheaper per year,” Nash added. “But with injunctive relief, it’s like all your big name fighters might suddenly be leaving the promotion, and then you’re not as valuable as a promotion anymore.”

Thus far, the UFC hasn’t looked like they were interested in settling any of the anti-trust cases. But now that they’re staring down the barrel of injunctive relief coming by the end of 2024, that could change.

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