Defense attorney Emile Lisboa gives his closing arguments during the Raphael Lolos trial before Bergen County Superior Court Judge Robert Vinci in Hackensack, N.J. on Tuesday Nov. 12, 2019. Lolos Trail

UFC Antitrust Case Escalates: Settlement Now a Critical Option

UFC faces challenging decisions as antitrust case progresses with Judge Boulware's significant rulings.

The UFC antitrust lawsuit is reaching critical stages, with Judge Boulware recently making pivotal rulings. Following the class certification of the lawsuit, the UFC’s appeal was denied by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Efforts to reopen discovery were rejected by Judge Boulware, who recognized them as stall tactics. These developments have intensified the legal battle for Zuffa and UFC, with significant implications on the horizon.

Judge Boulware’s recent decisions include denying Zuffa’s motion to reopen discovery and indicating potential disagreement with the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. The Judge’s fast-tracking of the case suggests a preference for settlement over trial. Legal expert John Nash outlines the heightened risks for UFC, especially with injunctive relief being considered for the Le vs. Zuffa case if the plaintiffs win, using only the discovery from the Le case. This relief, which allows the judge to order changes to UFC’s operations, significantly increases the stakes for the organization.

The pressure on UFC to settle has escalated, as failure to do so could lead to a trial set for April 8th, posing a substantial risk to their business model. Injunctive relief could lead to major operational changes and financial burdens, a scenario Nash believes UFC should avoid. The potential for high damages and mandated business changes could severely impact UFC’s profitability and valuation.

With the possibility of a trial and substantial changes to UFC’s business operations, the urgency for a settlement has never been greater, marking a crucial juncture in the organization’s legal and operational future.

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