MMA Pioneer Randy Couture Discusses Concerns Surrounding UFC Antitrust Settlement

While the book has been closed on the UFC’s antitrust lawsuit, some individuals, such as Randy “The Natural” Couture, still have concerns to voice.

Couture is one of the most legendary names related to the UFC. In his time with the promotion, he became a champion five times over, and dominated two different weight classes. In 2006, he was inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame, and even continued to fight deep into his 40s, ultimately retiring in 2011.

Now, Couture works as a commentator for the Professional Fighters League. During a recent PFL press conference, the MMA legend was asked to comment on the outcome of the antitrust lawsuit.

“Obviously, three of the biggest class action law firms in the business spent the last 10 years pursuing this, so there has to be some merit there. We know that (UFC) had a tendency to buy out anybody that was a threat or anybody that was being successful in the sport — Strikeforce on down the line. That’s the monopsony that the class action points out, and the way they do business.”

“650 athletes signed to a very exclusive, restrictive contract. There’s no transparency in the sport. We figured out the math, we know their goal was to keep the fighters on any given card to under 20 percent of the take from that fight. Show me another professional sport where that’s the case.”

TKO Group Holdings, parent company of the UFC, filed a disclosure last week that illustrated a settlement of $335 Million was paid out. Despite the settlement, Couture still has concerns surrounding the outcome.

“My concern is in the settlement, there’s no injunctive relief. We’re not forcing UFC to change the way they do business, which was what the class action set out to do. So yes, great that there’s fighters in that class and I’m in the class. We’ll see some remuneration for potential money that they lost in that period by not having a free and open transparent marketplace.”

It still could take a number of weeks before the paperwork is complete and fighters receive their payouts, but clearly the settlement is positive information.

The big issue, as Couture outlined, is that the UFC will not be forced to change the way they handle their business, and unless this antitrust lawsuit becomes an annual event, this will not change the industry’s landscape.

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