Another antitrust suit has been filed in the California Northern District Court against Zuffa, LLC, the majority owner of the UFC: 5:14-cv-05621 Vera et al v. Zuffa, LLC. The plaintiffs this time are listed as former UFC fighters Pablo Garza and Brandon Vera. The complaint has been assigned to Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins.
Vera was at one time a serious contender for a UFC title. He began his career 4-0, but then went through a contentious negotiation for his next contract. He would eventually resign, but not before dropping his manager at the time, Mark Dion, who would win damages against Vera in a civil suit. The judge in that case criticized some of the negotiating tactics employed by Zuffa.
Vera would never recapture his earlier success in the UFC, ending his UFC career with an 8-7-1 record overall. Vera was released following a loss to Ben Rothwell at UFC 164 on August 31, 2013, He signed with the Singapore-based One FC earlier this year, and made his promotional debut for them on December 5th of this month, were he defeated Igor Subora. In the buildup to that match Vera criticized the UFC's handling of his release:
"It wasn't handled the way it should be," said Vera, who had been with the organization for nine years. "I was a loyal employee, never did anything incorrectly. Never beat up my wife. Never had a DUI. The respect wasn't there."
Garzo made his UFC debut on December 4, 2010 at The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale, where he defeated Fredson Paixão via flying knee. He would fight six times for the promotion, going 3-3. He was released following a loss to Diego Brandã at the UFC's April 6, 2013 event in Stockholm, Sweden. Garza hasn't fought since. He was recently in the news with a Facebook post where he wrote that
"Back in 2012 all ufc fighters were asked to sign a petition saying that the UFC isnt a monopoly and that fighter are treated fairly. I was one of the few who chose not to sign it."
This is the third confirmed complaint that has been filed against the UFC. The first, Le et al v Zuffa, LLC, was filed on December 16th and assigned to Judge Edward J, Davila. Cung Le, Nathan Quarry, and Jon Fitch were the named plaintiffs in that complaint. On December 22nd a second complaint was filed, Vazquez et al v. Zuffa, LLC and assigned to Judge Paul Singh Grewel. Luis Javier Vaquez and Dennis Lloyd Hallman were named as the plaintiffs. All three complaints have been antitrust class action suits. All of the fighters have also been represented by legal counsel from the Joseph Saveri Law Firm, inc, Warrner Angle Hallam Jackson & Formanek PLC, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC, and the Law Office of Frederick S.Schwartz.
Bloody Elbow has reached out to the plaintiff's counsel to ask if any other complaints had been filed that had not been reported yet and if we should expect any more in the future. We are still waiting for a reply and will provide an update as it becomes available.
Bloody Elbow will continue to keep you as up to speed as possible, but you can read plenty of our reporting to this point by reading our Story Stream.