UFC Antitrust Trial Witnesses Excluded

The upcoming UFC antitrust trial hit a snag as Judge Richard Boulware ruled out the testimony of thirteen key witnesses, including prominent fighters like Michael Bisping, Chael Sonnen, and Michael Chandler. The defense failed to properly disclose these witnesses, leading to their exclusion from the trial. These witnesses were crucial to the UFC’s defense in the class-action lawsuit involving over 1,200 fighters.

Plaintiffs’ Allegations

The group of former fighters suing the UFC claims that the promotion operated as a monopsony and engaged in anticompetitive practices to suppress athlete wages. The exclusion of key witnesses has raised concerns about the defense’s strategy and the impact it may have on the outcome of the trial. Eric Cramer, an attorney for the plaintiffs, criticized the defense’s tactics, labeling it as “trial by ambush.”

The UFC’s attorneys argued that the witnesses mentioned were not a surprise, as their names had been disclosed in previous documents. The defense maintained that these witnesses were essential to presenting a balanced perspective on the UFC’s operations and the experiences of its athletes. Despite the setback, the UFC remains confident in its position and looks forward to presenting its case to a Las Vegas jury.

The exclusion of key witnesses poses a challenge for the UFC in defending against the allegations of anticompetitive behavior. The defense’s ability to present a comprehensive case has been compromised, raising questions about the fairness of the trial. The ruling also highlights the importance of proper disclosure and transparency in legal proceedings of this nature.

While both sides are engaged in private mediation to explore a possible settlement, there is no guarantee that an agreement will be reached. The plaintiffs are seeking damages ranging from $84 million to $1.6 billion, without any changes to the UFC’s business practices. The outcome of this trial could have far-reaching implications for how the UFC conducts its operations and interacts with its athletes.

The exclusion of key witnesses in the UFC antitrust trial has created significant hurdles for the defense in presenting its case. The controversy surrounding the disclosure of witnesses underscores the complexity and importance of such legal proceedings. The upcoming trial will be closely watched by the MMA community and could have a lasting impact on the sport’s future.


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