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Zuffa engages heavyweight antitrust firm in defense against fighter lawsuit

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Two weeks after the announcement of a class-action lawsuit against Zuffa LLC, parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the company announced it has engaged a heavyweight in antitrust litigation in defense against the legal action.

New York-based firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP will represent Zuffa in the case filed on behalf of fighters Cung Le, Jon Fitch, and Nate Quarry on Dec. 16 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Lead litigator Bill Isaacson expressed confidence. "The antitrust laws have long favored companies that create new products and services that consumers want," Isaacson stated. "That is exactly what the UFC has done here through its long and substantial investment in building a popular sport."

Since the initial lawsuit filing, former UFC fighters Pablo Garza, Dennis HallmanJavier Vazquez, and Brandon Vera have been added to the suit.

"We have built a popular business from modest beginnings by meeting the needs of fans and fighters," Zuffa stated. "Millions of people have watched our bouts, we have instituted leading health and safety measures for our athletes, and fighters are free to negotiate contract terms. .... We are proud of the company we have built, confident in our legal position, and intend to prevail in this lawsuit."

Boies, Schiller & Flexner's credentials in the antitrust sphere include Apple's successful defense against a major class-action lawsuit. More recently, they successfully represented plaintiff Ed O'Bannon in the former UCLA basketball star's landmark case against the NCAA. The firm also earned client American Express a $4 billion settlement in a case against competitors such as Visa and Mastercard. It was also involved in United States v. Microsoft and Bush v. Gore.

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