UFC parent company TKO Group will pay $335 million to settle antitrust lawsuit over fighter pay

UFC parent company TKO Group to pay $335 million to settle antitrust lawsuit over fighter pay

TKO Group Holdings, the parent company of the UFC, has agreed to pay $335 million to settle a decade-old lawsuit filed by fighters who accused the promotion of violating antitrust laws.

Between December 2014 and March 2015, five individual lawsuits were filed with fighters claiming that the UFC violated the Sherman Antitrust Act. Those suits were then consolidated into a single case with the chief complaint being that the promotion had abused its monopoly power to limit fighters’ pay.

UFC settlement in antitrust suit

UFC fighters Cung Le, Nate Quarry, and Jon Fitch filed the initial complaint with Brandon Vera, Luis Javier Vazquez, and Kyle Kingsbury later joining them. In all, 1,200 fighters were being represented in the suit.

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After being granted class certification in August, a trial date was set for April 15 with the UFC facing damages up to $1.6 billion. Instead, the UFC will avoid a costly trial with the $335 settlement which will be payable in installments over a period of time.

“The terms will be memorialized in a long-form agreement and then submitted to the court for approval,” TKO said in a statement, adding that it anticipates the settlement amount will be deductible for tax purposes. The company noted that a judge must sign off on the agreement before it becomes official.

The UFC’s Parent Company isn’t out of the woods yet

Once news of the settlement broke, shares in TKO jumped up by 7%. However, TKO’s headaches are far from over. After merging the UFC and World Wrestling Entertainment under the TKO Group banner last year, the company has seen a slew of legal issues come its way.

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TKO merges UFC and WWE

Most recently, a lawsuit was filed against WWE founder and former TKO Group chairman Vince McMahon who was accused of sexually abusing and trafficking a former employee of the pro wrestling empire. McMahon resigned from his position with the company shortly after.

Vince McMahon with Ari Emanuel

In November 2023, TKO shareholders reportedly filed a class action suit claiming that the $21 billion merger of the UFC and WWE was the result of a “sham sales process.”