The Ultimate Fighting Championship has hired attorneys from Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP to defend the promotion in an anti-trust lawsuit filed by a group of fighters.
The UFC released a statement on Tuesday vowing to “stand up against the plaintiffs in this litigation every step of the way.” Thus far, three complaints have been filed against the Las Vegas-based organization.
Cung Le, Jon Fitch and Nate Quarry filed suit against the UFC on Dec. 16; Javier Vazquez and Dennis Hallman were named the plaintiffs in a second suit on Dec. 22; and Brandon Vera and Pablo Garza became the third group to file a complaint on Dec. 24. All of the plaintiffs are represented by the same antitrust litigation firms. Only Le is currently under UFC contract.
The multi-million dollar lawsuit accuses the UFC of “illegally maintaining monopoly and monopsony power by systematically eliminating competition from rival promoters, artificially suppressing fighters’ earnings from bouts and merchandising and marketing activities through restrictive contracting and other exclusionary practices.”
“We have built a popular business from modest beginnings by meeting the needs of fans and fighters,” the UFC’s statement read. “Millions of people have watched our bouts, we have instituted leading health and safety measures for our athletes, and fighters are free to negotiate contract terms.”
According to its website, Boies, Schiller & Flexner have more than 200 lawyers practicing in the United States. The firm has been involved in cases such as United States v. Microsoft, Bush v. Gore and In re Vitamins.
“The antitrust laws have long favored companies that create new products and services that consumers want,” said Bill Isaacson, the UFC’s lead litigator in the case. “That is exactly what the UFC has done here through its long and substantial investment in building a popular sport.”