UFC settles antitrust lawsuits, agrees to pay $335 million

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The UFC has reached a settlement agreement for two antitrust lawsuits, preventing them from proceeding to trial.

On Wednesday, TKO Group Holdings ­— the parent company to the UFC — filed a disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealing that the organization had settled with the aggrieved parties in two separate lawsuits, with the company agreeing to pay out $335 million.

UFC Antitrust Suit

The settlement was reached this past Wednesday, according to the filing. The statement issued to the SEC is listed below.

“On March 13, 2024, TKO reached an agreement to settle all claims asserted in both class action lawsuits ([Cung] Le and [Kajan] Johnson) for an aggregate amount of $335 million payable by the Company and its subsidiaries in installments over an agreed-upon period of time. The terms will be memorialized in a long form agreement and then submitted to the court for approval.

“The Company anticipates that the settlement amount will be deductible for tax purposes.”

The plaintiffs in the first class action suit, Le et al. v. Zuffa, numbered about 1,200 fighters. Experts estimated potential damages they suffered to be between $894 million and $1.6 billion, though a trial would have determined the final number.

The settlement comes after Judge Richard Boulware issued an order on Wednesday delaying the start of the upcoming trial, which was scheduled to begin on April 15. Boulware made it clear in a previous hearing that he would not postpone the start date again unless the parties involved in the case reached a resolution.

The plaintiffs in the case — from two separate lawsuits led by fighters such as Cung Le, Nate Quarry and Kajan Johnson — were in private mediation with the UFC about a potential resolution. Now, it’s confirmed that the two sides reached a settlement that will prevent the antitrust lawsuit from ever going to trial.

The Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association, fronted by Rob Maysey, one of the attorneys representing the fighters in Le et al. v. Zuffa, released a brief statement on the settlement.


The initial antitrust lawsuit was filed all the way back in 2014, with the fighters alleging UFC engaged “in a scheme to acquire and maintain monopsony power in the market for elite professional MMA fighter services.” The fighters claimed UFC achieved that goal through three key elements: exclusive contracts, coercion, and acquisitions that eliminated potential competitors.

TKO Group Holdings previously addressed the lawsuit as the trial date grew closer while also acknowledging that talks continued about a potential resolution.

“As we’ve always said, and this is our consistent message since we started talking about this case publicly, we believe strongly that the facts and the law are on our side, and we look forward, in terms of timing, to making our arguments to a jury at trial,” TKO chief financial officer Andrew Schleimer said during a financial call in February.

“But as is typical in a case like this, we’ve been engaged in private mediation simultaneously with our trial preparation. That’s what we’re prepared to comment on at this time.”

What Comes Next?

With a settlement reached, Judge Boulware will need to sign off on the settlement agreement. If confirmed, there will be no trial, and both of the antitrust lawsuits will close out.

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