UFC sues New York

November 15, 2011

Zuffa, LLC sued New York state on Tuesday for its ban of mixed martial arts in its state citing it as unconstitutional under First Amendment grounds. Zuffa, along with several notable UFC stars, are named plaintiffs in this lawsuit.

The Complaint is over 100 pages in length and the Causes of Action begin on page 84 after an extensive facts section.

Via the Wall Street Journal:

Zuffa LLC, which owns the UFC, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. district court against New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. seeking a declaration that the ban violates the First Amendment.

While the arts are protected, no court has ever directly confronted the question of whether athletes have a First Amendment right to be seen in action, said Barry Friedman, a professor at New York University School of Law who is representing the plaintiffs.

A key to Zuffa’s argument is showing that New York’s ban suppresses the content rather than it looking to the safety of the sport. (Via NY Times):

“The linchpin is convincing the court that the ban is aimed at the content of the entertainment as opposed to the safety of the fighters,” said Tom Kelley, a partner at Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz. “Attempts to regulate entertainment based on its violent message have been largely unsuccessful.”

Lawyers interviewed in the NY Times article point to a recent Supreme Court ruling which struck down a California law banning certain video games the law deemed violent on First Amendment grounds. Zuffa attempts to make similar arguments regarding the governmental ban on MMA.


Payout Perspective:

We will definitely have more on this lawsuit as we read through and analyze the causes of action in this 100 plus page Complaint. This is an interesting way to work around the New York ban. The causes of action are unique in how they argue the right for MMA in New York. If nothing else, the lawsuit could contribute to law in the area of freedom of speech and First Amendment rights.

2 Responses to “UFC sues New York”

  1. Martin Klages on November 16th, 2011 1:54 PM

    I think it’s very interesting to note that Gina Carano is named as a plaintiff given that she didnt fight in over 2 years. Does this reflect on the possibility of her returning to SF?

  2. CodeMaster on November 16th, 2011 8:05 PM

    Zuffa and the UFC have a very good legal case.

    They have named plaintiffs who will well represent their case before the justices.

    New York’s case is not convincing when all of the sports which make up MMA, such as boxing, wrestling, Jiu Jitsu are allowed to hold public events, yet when combined in MMA, they are banned.

    Much of New York’s case rests upon the mistaken notion that MMA is more dangerous than many other popular sports which are not banned for the violent activity and serious injuries which occur in football, hockey, boxing etc.

    In addition, as for violent messages, Mixed Martial Arts has more to recommend it in teachng personal honor and self-discipline than boxing and many other sports.

    Since MMA may be watched on TV in New York, and MMA gyms are allowed to practice their sport–the only thing banned is live competitions in the state of New York. MMA competitions have been legalized and regulated in most US states.

    New York has a very thin defense, if any at all. They have no material case which will withstand cross-examination.

    If Zuffa does not win at the district level, they will win on appeal.

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