The Joseph Saveri Law Firm is representing current and former Elite Professional Mixed Martial Arts (“MMA”) Fighters in a federal antitrust class action against Zuffa, LLC, which does business as Ultimate Fighting Championship or UFC. The suit alleges that UFC illegally suppressed wages for these fighters by illegally blocking other promoters from competing for the fighters’ services. Because UFC was the only option for Elite Professional MMA Fighters, it was able to extract one-sided concessions from the fighters, further suppressing their wages. For example, in a typical contract, UFC claims the exclusive right to use the fighters’ names and likenesses for marketing and merchandising in perpetuity. This means that the fighters receive no royalties when their name and image are used in UFC video games, movies, TV shows, posters, or toys. And the fighters are prevented from trying to develop their own marketing or merchandising deals, or from using their name and hard-won recognition to start a new enterprise or career, for the rest of their lives.
UFC is by far the largest promoter of MMA events, controlling as much as 90% of the market. It has used its dominant position to demand exclusive arrangements with the physical venues, media outlets, and major sponsors necessary to successfully promote top-tier MMA events. Without access to the top arenas, the TV, pay-per-view and other national media outlets, and the large sponsors, other promoters simply cannot compete with UFC and are either put out of business or relegated to second-tier status as a de facto farm system for UFC.
UFC uses this power to extract extremely one-sided concessions from the fighters. Fighters who want to establish a national reputation have no choice but to sign with UFC, but then cannot profit from their success. UFC pays its fighters a mere fraction of what athletes in similar sports such as boxing make.
On December 16, 2014, the Joseph Saveri Law Firm filed a class action Complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The Complaint seeks treble damages under Section 2 of the federal Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2 and for injunctive relief. On December 22 and December 24, 2014, the Joseph Saveri Law Firm filed two additional cases: Vazquez et al. v. Zuffa, LLC, No. 5:14-cv-05591-EJD, and Vera et al. v. Zuffa, LLC, No. 5:14-cv-05621-EJD.
On January 7, 2015, Judge Edward J. Davila related the cases and transferred them to his courtroom.
On July 31, 2015, Signed Order granting Motion to Appoint.