Chandler, Bisping, Sonnen to Testify for UFC in Antitrust Case

Oh boy, the MMA world’s buzzing again. This time, it’s not about a knockout punch or a last-second submission. Nope. It’s the courtroom that’s the latest battleground for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). They’re gearing up for a heavyweight fight of a different kind—an antitrust lawsuit that’s got everyone talking.

So, who’s stepping into the witness box? Well, some pretty familiar faces, that’s who. Michael Chandler, lighting up the lightweight division, is on the list. And he’s not alone. Michael Bisping and Chael Sonnen, names that echo in UFC halls of fame, are joining him. But wait, there’s more. Miesha Tate and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone are also stepping up for the UFC. Talk about a star-studded lineup, huh?

April 15 is the date everyone’s got circled on their calendars. That’s when the trial’s supposed to kick off. But, get this, the UFC’s parent company, Zuffa, is trying to hit the brakes. They’ve got a scheduling conflict. Classic, right? Bloody Elbow dropped this nugget of info first, by the way.

Now, let’s rewind a bit. The whole shebang started back in 2014. Cung Le, Nathan Quarry, Jon Fitch, Brandon Vera, Javier Vazquez, and Kyle Kingsbury threw the first punch with a class action lawsuit. They’re accusing the UFC of playing dirty—snatching up rival organizations and locking fighters into exclusive contracts. This, they say, is how the UFC kept a stranglehold on the market for top-tier MMA fighters.

And it’s not just a few fighters caught in this tangle. Any fighter who threw down in the Octagon between Dec. 16, 2010, and June 30, 2017, could see some compensation if the plaintiffs come out on top or if there’s a settlement. Interestingly, none of the fighters called as witnesses for the UFC have stepped away from the lawsuit.

The stakes? They’re sky-high. We’re talking about damages between $894 million and $1.6 billion. Yeah, you read that right.

But wait, there’s more. A bunch of big-name managers are also expected to weigh in for the UFC. We’ve got Dominance MMA’s head honcho, Ali Abdelaziz, and the folks from Iridium Sports Agency, including Jason House and Josh Jones. Dan Lambert from American Top Team and Ed Soares are also on the call list.

And let’s not forget the UFC’s own lineup. Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta, Marc Ratner, Lawrence Epstein, and the matchmakers—Joe Silva, Sean Shelby, and Mick Maynard—might all take the stand.

The UFC’s defense? They’re calling the lawsuit an “attack on success” and deny having any monopsony power.

Ah, the drama of it all. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? What twists and turns this legal battle will take? One thing’s for sure, though. It’s going to be one heck of a fight, and not the kind we’re used to seeing inside the Octagon.

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