An antitrust lawsuit against UFC that alleges the suppression of wages can move forward thanks to a ruling by a judge in Nevada.
The lawsuit was originally filed in 2014 and states that around 1,200 fighters from 2010-2017 were underpaid based on the profits the company was making.
U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware has granted class action status to the fighters, according to a report from Reuters.
Eric Cramer, chairman of Berger Montague and the lead attorney representing the lawsuit, said:
“The UFC pays its fighters only 20% of its event revenues, when boxing and other major sports pay well above 50%.”
UFC lawyer William Isaacson of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison has also issued a statement, claiming:
“This is just one step in a long legal process.”
Isaacson would go on to describe the lawsuit as being:
“Legally and factually meritless.”
The fighters are reportedly seeking damages estimated at between $811 million and $1.6 billion from Nevada-based Zuffa, which does business as the UFC.
Dave Meltzer addressed the lawsuit on Wrestling Observer Radio, suggesting that if the case goes to trial a victory for the plaintiffs could see similar action against the WWE.
According to Meltzer, the “abuse of your monopoly powers to keep salaries down” could be grounds for a case against WWE.
It has previously been reported that WWE has seen a series of record-breaking events taking place worldwide, boosting company profits, with the most recent being SummerSlam.
If UFC doesn’t settle the lawsuit allows it to go to trial, and the ruling is that the fighters were underpaid and UFC used abusive tactics as the market leader in order to be able to do that, the precedent is that the same case would be made against WWE.
With WWE currently locked in a legal battle with MLW over “many years of egregious anticompetitive behavior”, the possibility of the UFC class action going to trial could be a beneficial situation for Major League Wrestling.
WWE has recently commented on the ongoing lawsuit with MLW stating that it “believes that all claims in the lawsuit are without merit and intends to defend itself vigorously against them.”
Of course, UFC and WWE are set to merge to form one company called TKO in September, which could mean the UFC lawsuit poses even more of an issue for WWE than it already would do if there was no merger.
You can read more details on the lawsuit via Reuters at this link.
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