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UFC Fighter’s Anti-Trust Lawsuit

01-02-15. By JP Scarano, Exclusively for TheFightWorld.Com

By now you should have heard what has been going on with the UFC and the Antitrust Lawsuit that was filed by retired MMA fighter Nate Quarry, former UFC fighter Jon fitch and current UFC fighter, Cung Le on December 16th of this year. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against UFC’s parent company, Zuffa. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit have leveled claims against the UFC for alleged poor working conditions.

Additionally, in their opinion, they claim that the UFC unlawfully stifles competition from other MMA leagues which denies fighters any bargaining leverage. In the absence of that leverage, they further claim that the UFC takes full advantage of the absence of competition and forces fighters to sign tyrannical contracts. Each of these 3 men have done a lot for this sport and each one appears to have good cause for filing this lawsuit.

I knew this day was coming for the UFC due to all of the changes that have been made and how fighters aren’t being paid or treated well. Many people think that this lawsuit came about as a result of the new uniform deal with Reebok and how some fighters are losing and others are gaining from that deal. This, however, has been going on way before the deal was with Reebok was made. Even Bas Rutton has talked about this situation on Inside MMA.

Former UFC Middleweight, Nate Quarry, who retired from the sport back in 2010 as a result of injuries he sustained, kept saying the same thing over and over about how little fighters are paid and how poorly they are being taken care of by the UFC. Quarry was a fan favorite for the first season of The Ultimate Fighter show and worked his way up the ranks of the UFC Middleweight division to take on then champion, Rich Franklin. He fought well in that fight but lost in the 2nd round. Everyone kept after him to disclose how much he was paid for that fight and others like it, but he remained silent. After his retirement he  started writing full time for “The Underground” and finally divulged that he made $10,000 for that championship fight.

Now, you might ask yourself how can that be ? Surely, he should have gotten more then that considering what the UFC made on Pay-Per-View and Sponsor fees alone, but he insists that he didn’t make more then that paltry sum of money. After all the fights he fought with the UFC he made just enough money to stay afloat and had to find something else to do in the sport to support himself after retirement. Now that he is part of the lawsuit he is hoping that higher fighter pay and more will come from this lawsuit and force the changes that should have been made a while ago. All three men are asking for monetary compensation from the lawsuit if it is successful.

Former UFC title contender and current W.S.O.F. welterweight, Jon Fitch, is also part of this lawsuit. He was one of the top guys in the UFC and after 8 fights he took on then Welterweight champion GSP but was unsuccessful in his bid for the title. The reason that Fitch isn’t part of the UFC anymore isn’t due to his last loss to Johnny Hendricks. It is because he wouldn’t sign to sign a lifetime contract to allow his name and likeness to be used in their their video game, “UFC Undisputed”. One day after his refusal to sign he was released from his contract from the UFC. Eventually, he signed a licensing agreement that allowed the UFC to  feature him in the video game and returned to the UFC for a while.  All in all, that was a show of real greed by the UFC and I respect Fitch for standing up to them.

Current UFC fighter and former Strikeforce World Middleweight Champion, Cung Le, is part of this lawsuit and this shocked everyone the most by becoming the tip of the spear for the lawsuit. Le is one of the most decorated fighters in MMA and don’t be fooled by his age at all cause he became an undefeated Kickboxer/Sanshou champion along his travels as a fighter before he switched to MMA.

After compiling a 5-0 record, Le had his chance at taking on then Strikeforce Middleweight champion, Frank Shamrock. At the end of the 3rd round Shamrock couldn’t fight anymore cause of a broken arm caused by Le’s dynamic kicks. After that fight Le started working on movies and TV shows.

When the UFC bought out Strikeforce, Le was asked to come fight for the UFC and he has done great work. It was his last fight that made Le turn on his bosses as well as the treatment he has received from them since then. Le’s last fight was back August, 23, 2014 when Le took on Michael Bisping in Macu, SAR, China. Le and Bisping put on one hell of a fight but it was Bisping with the win with the TKO of Le. But it wasn’t his loss that turned him sour on the UFC. It was caused by the test results that came back from the UFC saying that Le tested positive for elevated levels of HGH. Le was suspended at first for 9 months and the UFC increased it later to 12 months.

There has been some dispute of the test, as the testing laboratory in question was not WADA-approved and did not perform the appropriate HGH test. This false testing  hurt Le’s reputation  and made Le look like he had been using HGH all along. After that, on December 3, 2014, Le asked for his release from the UFC. They refused because Le has several fights left in his contract.

The three men whom I have talked about in this article are the first of many who have complained about low pay and more from the UFC. We have also learned that former UFC Welterweight champion Carlos Newton, Featherweight Pablo Garza and Heavyweight Brandon Vera have joined in the lawsuit and other fighters want to be part of it as well.

Garza has said there was a contract that he was asked to sign and wouldn’t because it was a monopoly-type deal. Vera, who has fought in both the Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight divisions in the UFC was the latest fighter to be mistreated by the UFC. He was told by Dana White that he had a permanent job with the UFC. However, after his last loss, the UFC never communicated with Vera and kept him on the sidelines for a while until he asked for his release. He now fights for ONE FC.

If these men are successful with their lawsuit it could cause the unraveling of the UFC. At the very least, if a judge orders pretrial discovery, the UFC could be forced to disclose sensitive information about how their fighters are paid. They might offer these men an out-of-court settlement which could include a substantial increase in pay for all UFC fighters. Don’t hold your breath, though, as these types of lawsuits can take years to wind their way through the legal process.

I really want to know what you fans have to say about all this and there will be more to discuss about this in the future.

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