Saudi Arabia and a $1bn fighters’ lawsuit threaten UFC’s future

The UFC has been accused of engineering a monopoly over the world of mixed martial arts. But its leverage may soon be severely weakened

As the UFC prepares for its upcoming showcase event on Saturday, the real fight is set to take place outside the octagon, within the confines of a courtroom.

Last week, the UFC lost its bid to revoke class action status from hundreds of mixed martial arts fighters who are suing for more than a billion dollars in wages. The lawsuit accuses UFC parent company Zuffa LLC of illegally acquiring and maintaining a monopoly over the MMA industry, which resulted in fighters being paid “a fraction of what they would earn in a competitive marketplace.”

Now, with a pivotal ruling from the US ninth circuit court of appeals, the lawsuit is scheduled to start in April 2024.