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Judge denies UFC's motion to stay discovery in antitrust lawsuit

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In Nevada today U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy A. Leen denied the Zuffa's Motion to Stay Discovery in the class action lawsuit filed against the UFC by current and former fighters.

There was some news today on the class action antitrust lawsuit against the UFC front as a Judge denied Zuffa's motion to stay discovery earlier today.

The original complaint was filed by Cung Le, Jon Fitch, and Nathan Quarry on December 16th of last year in the Northern California District Federal Court. Since then four other nearly identical complaints have also been filed, naming an additional eight Plaintiffs.

The last noteworthy event for Cung Le et al v. Zuffa, LLC was probably two months ago when the Defendants were victorious in their effort to get the case transferred to Nevada. Today it was the Plaintiffs' turn to celebrate as United States Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen of the District Court of Nevada denied Zuffa's request to stay a discovery their counsel characterized as "extraordinarily burdensome and voluminous and encompasses nearly every aspect of the Defendant's business."

From the Docket Text:

IT IS ORDERED: Defendant's Motion to Stay [103] is DENIED. The parties are directed to meet and confer and submit a proposed form of Confidentiality and Protective Order, as well as ESI Protocols, within 30 days from today's date. The Court is going to impose restrictions on discovery while the District Judge considers the pending Motion to Dismiss, and periodic Status Conferences will be held. Plaintiffs' Counsel are encouraged to reconsider their broad discovery requests.

According to Zuffa's counsel "Plaintiffs seek 15 years of Zuffa's financial statements; balance sheets; regulatory filings; gate and merchandizing receipts from bouts, broken down by event, 'in as granular form as it is maintained'; revenues from broadcasts of bouts, broken down by event; advertising revenues, broken down by event; and revenues related to all MMA fighters, broken down by fighter, month and year, and itemized by revenue source and line item."

So does this mean that the UFC is going to have to now open up their books up to the world? No, not at all. But it does mean that the Plaintiffs will most likely be able to proceed with depositions, interrogatories and document discovery. That doesn't mean of course that everything will be ruled pertinent to the case. Nor does it mean that any of it will ever be made available to the public. (But there's always the chance.)

First it is worth noting that the court made it clear it is going to "impose restrictions on discovery" while considering the Motion to Dismiss. What exactly those restrictions will be wasn't made clear though. The Court also encouraged the Plaintiff's Counsel to "reconsider their broad discovery requests."

So what are the Plaintiffs seeking? We included a few samples of what the Plaintiffs are requesting in a previous post. There is also a long list of people they've indicated they may be interested in deposing,

The next major decision will be the Motion to Dismiss which could very well make all of this irrelevant if it goes in the Defendants favor. No date yet has been set for when that will be decided.