The UFC lost a bid for a quick escape from a proposed class action filed by MMA fighters alleging the organization is illegally dominating the sport when a Nevada federal judge refused to dismiss the suit in a short order filed after a hearing Friday.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship, which does business as Zuffa LLC, was unable to persuade U.S. District Judge Richard F. Boulware II to dismiss the suit, according to a minute order lodged after a hearing in Las Vegas on Friday.
The organization had argued in its February motion to dismiss that the fighters’ allegations of antitrust law violations are “implausible,” and that the contracts at issue do more to stimulate competition than suppress it, court records show. But Judge Boulware found Friday that it wasn’t enough to toss the suit at this early stage, according to a UFC statement.
“As we have consistently stated, UFC competes in a lawful manner that benefits athletes around the world and has created a premier organization in the sport of mixed martial arts,” the UFC said in a statement. “We look forward to proving that the allegations in the complaint are meritless.”
In December, current and former fighters Cung Le, Nathan Quarry and Jon Fitch sued seeking damages and injunctive relief under the Sherman Antitrust Act for an alleged anti-competitive scheme for monopoly power in the market for promoting live elite professional MMA bouts and for monopsony power in the market for live elite professional MMA fighter services in the U.S.
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