MMA fighters file antitrust lawsuit against UFC

FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2012, file photo, competitors battle during a UFC on Fox mixed martial arts event at the Key Arena in Seattle. Fox says its new sports cable network will launch Aug. 17. The network said Tuesday, March 5, 2013, that Fox Sports 1, converted from Speed TV, will be in 90 million homes. The company has rights to college basketball and football, NASCAR, soccer and UFC for the channel. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2012, file photo, competitors battle during a UFC on Fox mixed martial arts event at the Key Arena in Seattle. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Mixed martial arts fighters are suing the Ultimate Fighting Championship, alleging it’s a monopoly that chokes off competition and holds down athletes’ earnings.

The antitrust suit was filed in San Jose federal court on behalf of Nathan Quarry, Jon Fitch and Cung Le but it seeks class-action status.

Only Le currently has a UFC contract.

The lawsuit claims that the UFC has bought up or locked out rivals by its control of elite fighters, major sponsors and TV and arena venues.

It also contends that the UFC holds the rights to fighters’ names and likenesses in perpetuity, preventing athletes from making more money through sponsorship deals and outside bouts even after their UFC contracts expire.

Las Vegas-based UFC says it plans to “vigorously defend itself and its business practices.”

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