As the class action antitrust lawsuit against the UFC continues, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received a new addition that could have great implications on the lawsuit, as well as the future of MMA.
Last Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Lina Khan as the chair and fifth and final member of the FTC in a 69-28 bipartisan vote. Her confirmation places the Federal Trade Commission in a Democratic majority and signifies a push by the current White House administration towards heavier regulation and enforcement of large companies.
Khan is a Big Tech critic who is outspoken on antitrust and anti-monopoly issues. After her confirmation, Khan stated on Twitter, “Congress created the FTC to safeguard fair competition and protect consumers, workers, and honest businesses from unfair and deceptive practices. I look forward to upholding this mission with vigor and serving the American public.”
Her placement in the FTC means their agenda will likely be geared towards reining in the big tech companies Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple. But the UFC and MMA could be affected by this government shift as well.
The sport is no stranger to the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC previously launched two investigations into the business practices of Zuffa, LLC, the UFC’s parent company, to determine whether there was conduct that violated Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act prohibiting “unfair or deceptive practices in or affecting commerce.” The non-public investigations took place in 2012 and 2015. Both were closed, with the FTC acknowledging that it did not mean a violation did not occur and that they reserved the right to take further action.
The class action antitrust lawsuit filed against Zuffa by former fighters in 2014 alleging monopolization over the Market and antitrust violations has seen many favorable rulings in the courts including, winning motions to dismiss, getting over 2 million documents produced, and getting certified as a class.
As of January, the court announced it intends to unseal and make public many of the documents in the case.
The lawsuit may be a long way off from being resolved, but with the current FTC commission and its chair, no matter the outcome of the antitrust lawsuit, the sport could find itself in the crosshairs of its push to more strictly regulate big business.
For more information about the class action lawsuit against the UFC, you can go to www.ufcclassaction.com.
I am a lover of Mixed Martial Arts with a passion for writing. I want to share that love and some other pressing thoughts about our wild sport. I’m also a musichead and a wannabe cinephile in my free time.