A press conference was held Tuesday, December 16, in San Jose, California, USA to announce a class-action lawsuit by Cung Le, Nate Quarry, and Jon Fitch on behalf of all fighters similarly situated against the UFC alleging illegal market monopolization.
For the entire audio of the conference, listen to today’s edition of “No Holds Barred” by Eddie Goldman.
Of the three plaintiffs, Le is the only one currently under contract with the UFC. Le fought his last two matches in Macau, China. Although he is ethnically Vietnamese, Le’s sanshou career and involvement in Chinese cinema made him a natural figure for spearheading the UFC’s expansion into the regional market through his fights and participation in leading TUF China.
After his last fight, drug testing from a regional lab revealed that Le tested positive for elevated levels of Human Growth Hormone. Le challenged the result, which left him suspended for a year, and when it was found that the test was flawed, the UFC recinded the suspension. Afterwards, Le became publicly vocal about his dissatisfaction with the UFC, however he stated the incident was not the reason for his involvement in the suit. Le’s statement outlined his reason,
“Because of the UFC’s coercive practices, competitive market forces have been strangled, future earnings power of the athletes is stripped away, and purses to the fighters are artificially depressed.”
When Le was asked his status with UFC, he answered,
“I am still under contract.”
Goldman asked Le if he were to be called to fight under his contract in 2015, whether or not he would do so. Le replied,
“No, I would not.”
While there are only three plaintiffs named, a class action suit means that others could be named as involved in the future. According to Josh Gross on “Gross Point Blank” here, participating fighters will fall under two classes: a “bouts” class for any fighter that participated in a fight for the UFC after December 16, 2010, and an “identity” class for anyone whose likeness was expropriated or utilized for UFC promotional materials.