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Lorenzo Fertitta, the former CEO of the UFC, has been deposed as part of the ongoing lawsuit between a group of former fighters and the world’s dominant mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion.
Paul Gift of BloodyElbow.com has the details surrounding the testimony, and it appears Lorenzo made a well-coached defense against the argument put forward by the fighters, that the UFC has a “monopoly broth”, a confluence of several factors that allow the UFC to maintain near-total control of the market, causing harm to fighters and consumers. These factors include high barriers to entry, control of elite fighter talent, and exclusive television deals.
When asked about the barriers to entry for competing with the UFC, Fertitta mentioned obtaining a license and a venue, neither of which he believed to be very significant. And lastly, “…there’s various levels of capital that could be required.”
From this point, Fertitta’s likely preparation by UFC attorneys begins to show. Since fighters will need to show antitrust injury, he noted that the capital requirements are no different from other businesses, “You know, it’s the same in most businesses. If I want to get into the gaming business and go get a license, I guess it’s not that high barrier of an entry, other than I have to have a clean background. If I choose to compete with or borrow 15 machines, there’s a different barrier than competing with the Golden Nugget that’s right behind us.”
He was then asked about television distribution, and his response was a strong one, although of course very one-sided, given that nearly all those organizations struggled (or still struggle, in the case of WSOF) to make any kind of money, and are not ‘major players in the industry’ compared to the Ultimate Fighting Championship:
“Part of the competitive landscape historically has been distribution would be the final stage,” he said under oath. “And as I mentioned before, and it’s just fact based on what has happened historically, promotions can enter with very little barriers to entry and go from literally never have promoted a fight to being on CBS, like EliteXC.
“Or you can go from what, in your terms, was a regional promoter in Strikeforce to getting at the old Showtime, and at the flip of a switch, you’re a major player in the industry.
“You can go from being a startup in World Series of Fighting to getting a multi-fight media contract with NBC Sports and become a major player in the industry. You can go from being a startup now to going and doing a deal with ESPN, HBO.
“I guess when you think about how many channels there are on television, it gets to be hard to get your arms around because there’s so many points of distribution.”
In terms of fighter access, Lorenzo’s arguments ring hollow to anyone familiar with mixed martial arts, but make some facile sense. He ignores the name value of fighters with mainstream exposure, and the narrow window for promoters and fighers themselves to capitalize on their fame and talent.
“There are thousands, maybe multiple thousands of fighters around the world,” Fertitta stated, “because, once again, this is a global sport in a global market, that have the aptitude and the capability to compete at the highest level. There’s no question about that.
“When you talk about – and I say this with my experience from being the CEO of the UFC. There is so much talent in markets like Brazil, Russia, now starting to evolve in Asia and of course North America given the level of talent and training that now exists. It’s literally an endless number of fighters that have the ability to compete at the highest level and be the highest level fighters.”
The case is expected to drag on into 2018 and possibly early 2019.
Donald Cerrone is out of his fight with Robbie Lawler. The MMA Gods hate us.
This isn’t what happened- it is apparently a bad blood infection- which is ironic given how often Cowboy pulls off stunts like this.
What the hell was Cerrone thinking? pic.twitter.com/0L79N1hTqm— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) June 28, 2017
Nick Diaz always thought he had the worst job ever. That’s why he was pissed off to fight people.
Give Nick his shoes https://t.co/mHBQLhc64B— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) June 29, 2017
Hopefully the Korean Zombie comes back strong.
The long road to recovery begins for Korean Zombie. War TKZ pic.twitter.com/ueGomHg8L6— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) June 28, 2017
More input on the Michael Chandler injury, which was definitely caused by the leg kick of Primus.
kick landed right over distal aspect of sciatic prior to its bifurcation into peroneal nerve.— KillaMTRZ (@killa_mtrz) June 28, 2017
This prank makes no sense. It’s Winston Bishop level pranking.
Well, that's one way to respond to a prank #TeamGarbrandt... #TUFRedemption https://t.co/kMJbaW2VT7— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) June 29, 2017
Who in the UFC could actually do well in boxing? They miss a couple who have actually boxed professionally, such as Joe Duffy (probably because he is a free agent now). I would also be very curious to see John Dodson in a ring, just because I wonder how far his speed and athleticism would take him.
If more UFC fighters are willing to step into the boxing ring, who would be the best choice to go pro? https://t.co/eX8i15Mk7J— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) June 29, 2017
Cris Cyborg went off on Megan Anderson, but at least she had the decency to praise Tonya Evinger.
Going 10-0 in last 10 fights @tonyaevinger shows why the sport needs independent rankings. Shes top 10 BW and should have been n UFC already— #UFC214 #LetsGoChamp (@criscyborg) June 28, 2017
Cutting weight the smart way
I cut 4lbs for this fight.... it's all about that long term dieting, not the drastic cuts. @dacikfitfoods #mealprep #healthfirst pic.twitter.com/4BnzVqfylj— Carla Esparza (@CarlaEsparza1) June 27, 2017
This poster is... different.
Check it out! @gabijiu accepts last minute fight to make Shootboxing debut in Japan July 7th! Standing Vale Tudo! pic.twitter.com/XOZMExr8Kx— #UFC214 #LetsGoChamp (@criscyborg) June 28, 2017
For some reason Fabricio Werdum is sponsored by the murderous Chechen dictator that most recently was rounding up gay people in concentration camps.
Slips, Rips, KO Clips
Young Conor McGregor knockouts are fascinating to watch.
ICYMI: Miguel Cruz removes any doubt with decisive win vs Alex Martin in 147-lb rematch last night on #PBConFS1.— PBC (@premierboxing) June 28, 2017
: https://t.co/YbVXJhEZPp pic.twitter.com/TWewvqynVs
Dhiego Lima goes to the finals in a hard fought battle vs. Tom Gallicchio with the decision! #TUFRedemption https://t.co/ivWOIRTUOh— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) June 29, 2017
One of my old Muay Thai coaches with the comeback KO
Thank you to all my teammates that got me ready for this tournament. Big thanks to @corleyhmt and @krubobperez for telling me to get my sh#t together this year. If it wasn't for you pushing me to be better in life and in training, I wouldn't have been able to pull off the wins. Thank you so much and now it's time to train for Cancun!
- Bisping says that Fedor loses fights in America because he’s doping.
- Tyron Woodley is fighting Demian Maia at UFC 214, bringing the total title fights on that card to three. Go big or go home.
- So... how much exactly will Conor McGregor make for his Floyd Mayweather boxing match?
Podcasts and Video
UFC 213 Fight Predictions by Fight Nerds
Fights Gone By
Oh man am I excited for Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero
This story is truly wild, and sad as well.
this story on clinton portis losing his money is a lot, man. damn. https://t.co/RMg5HAGNnX— El Flaco (@bomani_jones) June 28, 2017
Stay woke, Maniacs! Follow me on Twitter @Vorpality