Nate Quarry (right) competed 10 times for the UFC between 2005 and 2010. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Nate Quarry made his name competing on the historic first season of “The Ultimate Fighter” and eventually was able to challenge for a title in the Octagon.
After he retired, Quarry scored a gig as a co-host on the short-lived Spike TV show “MMA Uncensored Live,” which was canceled after one season. Despite those accomplishments, Quarry believes his earnings potential with the Ultimate Fighting Championship was limited.
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Quarry was one of three plaintiffs -- along with Cung Le and Jon Fitch -- named in a class action lawsuit filed against the UFC on Tuesday in Northern California. The suit alleges that the UFC is a federal monopoly under anti-trust law.
“This lawsuit really is about fairness. It’s about a fair market value for the athletes,” Quarry said at a press conference in San Jose, Calif. “Over and over again, we’ve seen that’s just not been the case -- that the UFC has taken over the entire industry and dictated its terms upon the fighters without any say. We don’t have any rights.
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“It’s time for those things to change. We deserve to reap the fruits of our labors. We deserve a free marketplace where we can compete, not just to be dictated, ‘This is your salary, this is what your value is.’ We deserve to be out in a free marketplace where we can compete for ourselves.”
Currently, there are no other fighters involved in the lawsuit, but eventually, Quarry, Le and Fitch could represent other fighters in a large-scale class action. According to Quarry, a number of fighters have contacted him professing their support of the case. Of the three plaintiffs, only Le is currently under UFC contract. Quarry retired in 2012, while Fitch competes for World Series of Fighting.
“I received so many messages from fighters who wish to remain anonymous, but who are putting their full support behind this case -- because I know what will come their way won’t be the most favorable thing,” Quarry said. “So, for Cung to stand up while he’s still under contract says quite a bit.”
If all goes as planned, the lawsuit will permanently alter the way the UFC does business, although such a change might not arrive until several years down the road.
“We deserve to have a say in our careers: where we’re going, who we’re fighting, where our likeness is used,” Quarry said. “These are things that the UFC has taken and taken for granted for far too long... If we don’t take a stand now, nothing is going to change.”