A potential first step towards a class action lawsuit against the UFC was taken this week, as a group announced their intent to sue the world's top MMA organization.
The group, led by Jon Fitch, Cung Le and Nate Quarry, held a press conference in San Jose Tuesday to state that they'll be "identity class plaintiffs" and hope to add more names. Le is currently on the UFC roster, while Fitch and Quarry are former championship contenders for the brand. The successful lawfirms Joseph Saveri Law Firm, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, and Berger & Montague are all involved.
The lawsuit accuses the UFC of violating the Sherman Antitrust act via elimination of competition. This leaves the UFC as the only viable promotion in which these fighters can earn a living in comparison to where they would elsewhere else.
"This lawsuit really is about fairness," said Quarry. "It's about a fair market value for the athletes. Over and over again, we've seen that's just not been the case. The UFC has taken over the entire industry and dictated its terms upon the fighters without any say. We don't have any rights. It's the word that comes down. It's time for those things to change. We deserve to reap the fruits of our labors."
During the press conference, a comparison was drawn to the NFL as "the only game in town," but says that there are multiple teams within that league driving up competitive prices for the athletes involved. The UFC's controversial sponsor policies are also mentioned, as the UFC doesn't permit sponsors that have previously shown allegiance to other brands or rival promotion's fighters. The complaint filed against Zuffa referred to Bellator MMA as a "minor league" to the UFC.
The suit will be open to "All persons who competed in one or more live professional UFC-promoted MMA bouts taking place or broadcast in the United States during the Class Period. The Bout Class excludes all persons who are not residents or citizens of the United States unless the UFC paid such persons for competing in a bout fought in the United States."