The antitrust fight for better pay and more free agency that brought Cung Le and five other former UFC fighters to the MMA league entered a new phase on Thursday when U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware Issued protracted orders to recognize some of their cases as class proceedings.
v battle There are huge implications for the UFC and its fighters, as well as the future of MMA, and Boulware’s recent comments, totaling more than 31,000 words, reflect the magnitude of the issues at play. what he did last week by allowing fighters to certify A “level bout” in which contestants compete in at least one UFC event that has taken place or aired in the United States since December. From September 16, 2010, to June 30, 2017, the class held more than 1,200 people, the judges wrote.
The UFC disputes endorsement on several issues. Including more prominent and successful fighters with more bargaining power. Therefore, it should not be grouped with six plaintiffs. The UFC also argues that former fighters and current fighters have different objectives. The ex-fighters are most interested in increasing financial losses. While today’s fighters are likely to be more interested in changing the rules.
Boulware disagrees, finding that the claims of the six fighters representing Joseph Saveri and other antitrust lawyers it is necessary They are “reasonably coexistent” and not “very similar” to other fighters. He also wrote that former and current fighters share a common goal of being paid more.
Endorsement means that a fighter who fought during the class would be entitled to a portion of the damage if the prosecution were victorious. They are also eligible for any settlement income.
Boulware, on the other hand, rejected the fighters’ requests for accreditation. The “identity level,” which includes fighters whose identities are used—illegitimately said fighters—in video games and other licensed merchandise. and promotional materials at least in part due to fighter “There’s a huge difference in notoriety.”
The lawsuit centered on the fighters’ claims that the UFC acted as a monopoly. This is similar to a monopoly except for the sale of products or services. Think of Microsoft and its computer operating systems. A monopoly is buyer of the service.
Like every other MMA promotion, UFC is in the business of “buying” the services of elite professional MMA fighters. Those fighters argue the UFC has too much control over buying those services. and use anti-competitive practices to pay fighters less and disrupt competitors’ MMA promotions.
This is the same core issue that plagued LIV Golf and the 11 Antitrust Lawsuit Against the PGA Tour, which they allege is a monopoly in the market for elite professional golfer services. At a preliminary hearing last year A federal judge expressed doubts about the allegations. The lawsuit was settled in June, and now the PGA Tour and LIV are negotiating a deal that will make them business partners.
UFC fighters are like professional golfers. independent contractor Each individual’s income reflects their individual success and reputation. Unlike players in the NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLB and NHL, UFC fighters do not form unions. Therefore, there are no common economic rules to negotiate, such as a certain league revenue share. This has legal significance: rules in CBA related to wages. working hours and other conditions They are generally exempt from antitrust checks. Because these rules reflect the giving and receiving of labor and management. and finding consensus
The UFC fighter signed two contracts, a promotion agreement and ancillary rights. and competition agreements These agreements require fighters to fight for compensation. And the winner will receive more compensation.
The agreement also contained clauses that restricted matches. For example, the exclusion clause required UFC fighters to fight for the UFC, not for MMA league opponents. The match clause allowed the UFC to match contracts from competitors. The special negotiation clause gives the UFC a 30- to 90-day window to negotiate exclusively. and the champion’s clause gives the UFC the power to extend a fighter’s contract if he or She became the crowned champion.
Boulware criticized these provisions, writing that they were limited. “A fighter’s ability to control his career and remuneration.” “Become a free agent” for up to 15 months after the last race.
The referee also portrayed the UFC head and shoulders above other MMA promoters, he wrote, “except for Bellator and Strikeforce.” These mini promotions sometimes offer “UFC-out” clauses, allowing fighters to leave and join the UFC.
Boulware suggests that even Bellator and Strikeforce are not on the same level as UFC, even though they compete for TV time. Sponsorship Agreement and media attention Based on information provided to the plaintiffs, Bellator, Strikeforce and World Series of Fighting collectively account for less than 10% of all revenues from live MMA matches and related products sold to customers. which includes the audience cable network broadcast network and supporters
The UFC disputes fighter fights in a number of ways.
Most importantly, the UFC argues that success reflects the merits of offering fans and fighters a superior product over other MMA promotions. MMA became more commercially successful. including fighters
The UFC noted that total compensation for fighters has increased by more than 600% since 2005, paying more fighters than any other MMA outfit and offering world-class training facilities and instructors for fighters. where players in the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL negotiate 48% of their 50% share of league revenues. Those amounts will be borne through give-and-take negotiations. There is no law that guarantees that workers receive part of their earnings from their employer in the absence of a CBA or other contract.
Boulware was not convinced by those points. he believes there Arguing there was “insufficient evidence” that UFC’s policies had “contributed to the development of MMA”, the judge criticized the UFC for what he viewed as exploiting its bargaining power to “pressure” fighters to accept less generous economic deals. than they negotiate in a highly competitive market.
In a statement shared by the UFC, William A. Isaacson, UFC’s chief advisor and partner to Paul, Weiss, said:
“We anticipate this ruling. And since we previously notified Judge Boulware, we plan to appeal. This is just one step in a long legal process. And we are confident that courts will eventually accept that the claims made in this case are legally and legally unfounded. The continued growth of the UFC, coupled with the growth of other MMA sponsors and the proliferation of successful new entrants, all demonstrate the existence of a strong and competitive MMA market. This benefits athletes, supporters and fans alike.”
The case started in 2014 and there is an opportunity for appeal. May stay in federal court for years to come.
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