In a battle that’s been brewing for years, the octagon warriors of mixed martial arts have scored a major victory as a U.S. judge in the fighting mecca of Nevada greenlights their class action against the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). It’s a bout that could potentially cost the UFC a staggering $1.6 billion, hitting where it hurts the most: the purse.
Judge Richard Boulware, the referee of this legal showdown, has given the go-ahead for over 1,200 fighters to join forces and take on the UFC as a united front. These fighters, who have graced the cage between December 2010 and June 2017, claim that the UFC, also known as Zuffa, has been throwing low blows when it comes to their wages.
The fighters’ corner is led by Eric Cramer, the chairman of Berger Montague and a lead attorney for the class. According to Cramer, the UFC is paying its fighters a measly 20% of its event revenues, a far cry from the greener pastures of boxing and other major sports, where athletes take home over 50% of the earnings.
However, the UFC isn’t tapping out just yet. Their legal warrior, William Isaacson of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, has promised to put up a fight in the appeals court. Isaacson argues that the class certification is as shaky as a fighter on wobbly legs, labeling the lawsuit as “legally and factually meritless.”
But don’t expect this battle to be resolved in the first round. Both sides are gearing up for a long and intense legal brawl. Boulware acknowledges this, stating that the recent ruling is merely a takedown in a series of moves yet to come.
As the dust settles, the fighters remain steadfast. They’re not only throwing jabs for themselves but for the entire MMA community. They claim that the UFC‘s chokehold on the market has left them battered, bruised, and underpaid. With Boulware’s decision ringing like a starting bell, the cage door has been flung open, and the gloves are off. It’s a fight that will determine not only the fighters’ fates but could reshape the landscape of MMA for years to come. Stay tuned for more action in this legal slugfest.