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UFC agrees to $335 million settlement with former fighters who filed antitrust lawsuits

Sean O'Malley, left, and Marlon Vera face off during a news conference Thursday, March 7, 2024, in Miami for Saturday's UFC 299 mixed martial arts event. The two are scheduled to fight in a bantamweight bout. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — UFC parent company TKO Group Holdings reached a $335 million settlement regarding two antitrust lawsuits brought by former fighters in the organization, according to TKO's disclosure to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The agreement was reached March 13, and the payments will be paid out over time rather than in a lump sum and will be tax deductible.

The two class-action lawsuits by former UFC fighters were led by Cung Le, filed in 2014, and Kajan Johnson, filed in 2021. Several other fighters also were mentioned in the suits.

They alleged the UFC attempted to act as a monopoly and thus limited the fighters' ability to maximize their earnings.

One of the lawsuits stated “the UFC has engaged in an illegal scheme to eliminate competition from would-be rival MMA Promoters by systematically preventing them from gaining access to resources critical to successful MMA Promotions, including by imposing extreme restrictions on UFC Fighters’ ability to fight for would-be rivals during and after their tenure with the UFC.”

The terms of the settlement must be submitted to a court for approval.

“We are pleased with the settlement and will disclose more when we file with the Court in 45-60 days,” Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association, led by one of the attorneys, posted on X (formerly Twitter).

A UFC spokesperson released a statement that read, “We are pleased to have reached an agreement to settle all claims asserted in both the Le and Johnson class action lawsuits, bringing litigation to a close and benefiting all parties. The final terms of the settlement will be submitted to the court for approval.”

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