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Jon Fitch, Nate Quarry and Cung Le file class-action lawsuit against UFC

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Former UFC fighters Jon Fitch and Nate Quarry along with Cung Le, who is still under contract with the UFC, have filed a class-action antitrust lawsuit against the UFC and its parent company, Zuffa. Bloody Elbow was the first to report the news of the lawsuit's existence.

"It's been definitely a tough road. I'm just honored to be part of this lawsuit against UFC for all the past UFC fighters, like Carlos Newton, and Nate [Quarry] and so many names I'd need a list here," Le said at Tuesday's press conference. "For all the future fighters and potentially one day, if my kids want to pursue the same path as I do, they would have a better situation to be in. I'm just very excited to get this going."

All three fighters have served in main events in the UFC. Two fought for titles in the organization.

Among other allegations, the antitrust suit alleges UFC has violated the Sherman Antitrust Act by illegally scheming to create a non-competitive marketplace restricting the earning capabilities of fighters to a fraction of what would be available in a competitive market. The suit also alleges UFC coerces fighters to give up rights to their names and likeness in perpetuity.

"This lawsuit really is about fairness," said Quarry. "It's about a fair market value for the athletes. Over and over again, we've seen that's just not been the case. The UFC has taken over the entire industry and dictated its terms upon the fighters without any say. We don't have any rights. It's the word that comes down.

"It's time for those things to change. We deserve to reap the fruits of our labors."

Involved with this suit are Joseph Saveri Law Firm, Inc, who recently scored an antitrust suit victory against Google, Apple, Adobe and Intel. Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC, involved in a $1.2 billion antitrust case against Dow Chemical Company and $500 million case against Countrywide Financial Corporation, are part of this legal act as well as Berger & Montague, P.C.

The suit was filed in San Jose, Calif., which means all legal proceedings are likely to take place there.

Specifics of evidence were not disclosed during a conference call with the plaintiffs and lawyers Tuesday, but the suit draws from past statements made by UFC president Dana White as well as others UFC officials comparing the promotion and its practices to sporting leagues such as the NFL and NBA.

Aside from named plaintiffs Le, Fitch, and Quarry, "all persons who competed in one or more live professional UFC-promoted MMA bouts taking place or broadcast in the United States during the Class Period" will be able to join their names to the suit. The exception to that opportunity are foreign fighters who have solely fought in oversees events.

According to the legal representative, other fighters have shown interest in joining the suit, but no decision has been made as to whether they'll be added.

"I just want everyone to know that the sport of mixed martial arts is the most restrained sport in the world," said Carlos Newton, who is not named in the suit, but was credited with helping to usher it in. "It's restrained by the UFC, and the UFC is the fastest growing monopoly in the world. I'm here to fix that."

The complaint filed against Zuffa and the UFC can be read below:

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