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UFC Antitrust Trial Update: 13 Prominent Witnesses Excluded

 |  March 6, 2024

In a pivotal turn of events leading up to the UFC’s antitrust trial, Judge Richard F. Boulware ruled on Monday in a Nevada courtroom on various motions, notably excluding 13 potential witnesses set to testify on behalf of the promotion.

Among the prominent figures initially slated to testify were UFC Hall of Famer Michael Bisping, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Chael Sonnen, Miesha Tate, and Michael Chandler, alongside influential managers such as Ali Abdelaziz, Dan Lambert from American Top Team, and Jason House, CEO of Iridium Sports Agency.

However, Judge Boulware granted the plaintiff’s motion to exclude these witnesses, including the fighters, managers, and even current UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard, citing failure to disclose the witness list ahead of time for proper deposition processes. Paul Gift initially reported the development on Twitter.

The plaintiff’s legal team argued that the delayed disclosure impeded their ability to prepare adequately for the trial. Despite objections from the UFC’s legal representation, Judge Boulware ultimately sided with the plaintiffs, precluding the 13 witnesses from testifying.

Read more: UFC’s Hopes Dashed as Ninth Circuit Denies Antitrust Appeal

During the hearing, Judge Boulware also acknowledged ongoing discussions between the UFC and the plaintiffs regarding a possible resolution before the trial. While no agreements have been reached, both parties are engaged in mediation.

With numerous delays in setting a trial date, Judge Boulware emphasized that there would be no further extensions unless a resolution is reached before the scheduled April 15 date. Otherwise, the trial is mandated to commence on that date.

At the core of the antitrust lawsuit lies the fighters’ claims that the UFC employed tactics to acquire and maintain monopoly power in the market for elite professional MMA fighter services. Allegations include utilizing acquisitions, exclusive contracts, and coercion to achieve this dominance.

The plaintiffs are seeking substantial damages ranging between $894 million and $1.6 billion, underlining the significance and complexity of the legal battle set to unfold in the coming weeks.

Source: MMA Fighting