UFC Moves for Summary Judgment in Antitrust Class Action

On July 30, Zuffa LLC—parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (“UFC”)—moved for summary judgment, requesting the dismissal of an antitrust suit filed against them by a proposed class of mixed martial arts (“MMA”) fighters. While the MMA fighters allege that the UFC engaged in anti-competitive practices to dominate the MMA industry and restrict fighters’ wages, the UFC counters that there is no evidence of such activity, instead contending that fighters’ wages are increasing. The action was originally filed in 2014 by fighters Cung…
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Conor McGregor Taking a Hard Hit; Sued Over Out of Control Press Conference

UFC star Conor McGregor is being sued by a man who alleges he suffered injuries during a UFC press conference last year in Las Vegas. The man claims he was hit in the back by a can of a Monster Energy that McGregor threw during the UFC 202 pre-fight press conference in August 2016. At this conference, McGregor and Nate Diaz got into a fight that involved objects being thrown all around the MGM Grand’s David Copperfield Theater. During the fight, McGregor started throwing water…
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Arbitration Panel Finds Anti-Doping Policy Violation, Issues One-Year Suspension for Jon “Bones” Jones

On November 7, 2016, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced that an independent three-member arbitration panel determined that UFC fighter Jon “Bones” Jones should receive the maximum one-year suspension for violating the UFC anti-doping policy. The ban is retroactive to when Jones’ test results were first issued on July 6, 2016, which means he will be eligible to return to the UFC beginning in July 2017. Jones had argued that he believed he was taking a Cialis pill and had checked with USADA to…
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Law Reviving Professional MMA in New York Requires Additional Insurance Protection for Traumatic Brain Injuries

When professional mixed martial arts makes its return to New York State next month, fighters will have an added layer of protection from traumatic brain injuries. During the 2016 legislative session, the New York State legislature passed a requirement that all professional fighters — including both boxing and mixed martial arts — carry $1 million of additional insurance protection per fighter on a given fight card. The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s event “UFC 205” will be the first state-sanctioned professional mixed martial arts competition in New…
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State Assembly Clears the Way for New York to Join the MMAdness

Following an extensive, multi-year lobbying effort, as well as numerous court battles, the New York State Assembly voted on Tuesday, March 22, 2016, to pass a bill that will make New York State the 50th and final state to legalize professional mixed martial arts (MMA). The bill effectively retools and replaces a prior regulatory scheme in New York, which allowed for professional combative  sports contests to be held in New York that were of one particular discipline, i.e., boxing, wrestling, judo, tae kwon do,…
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Keeping the Combat Out of Court: Why Bar and Restaurant Owners Should Be Careful Showing Mayweather v. Pacquaio

This Saturday, May 2nd, hundreds of millions of viewers are expected to tune in to what is being titled the “Fight of the Century.” Floyd “Money” Mayweather brings his 47-0 professional record to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for the long-awaited fight against eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao. Fans have been calling for this bout since 2009. With six years of hype and several failed negotiations preceding it, the match is expected to pulverize previous pay-per-view records and become the highest grossing fight in…
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Antitrust Battle Between MMA Fighters and UFC Continues

On April 10, Mixed Martial Arts (“MMA”) fighters Cung Le, Jon Fitch, and Nate Quarry filed their opposition to UFC’s motion to dismiss the putative class action and to transfer the venue. In the court documents, the fighters argued that UFC’s bid to transfer venue was improper because the suit is alleging antitrust violations, not breach of contract.  In response to the UFC’s argument that the plaintiffs did not specify “how the agreements unreasonably restrain competition,” the plaintiffs simply said, “The UFC is…
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Fighters Take on UFC in Antitrust Bout

On Wednesday, December 24, a third antitrust lawsuit was filed against the UFC by fighters claiming the organization is a monopoly and illegally restrains trade. The first two lawsuits, brought on December 16 and December 22, alleged that the UFC is engaging in illegal practices to eliminate competition from rival MMA promoters.  The activities include counterprogramming, demanding venues and sponsors to sign exclusivity agreements, and taking rights fighters’ likenesses.  This third claim alleges similar misconduct.  The UFC allegedly prevents other promoters’ access to resources that…
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