UFC files Answer to Plaintiffs’ Complaint, parties fight over discovery process

January 27, 2016

Last week, attorneys for the UFC filed its Answer to Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint in the ongoing Antitrust lawsuit venued in Nevada.  The rather long (27 pages to be exact) goes through each and every paragraph of the Plaintiffs’ Complaint.

After the court denied the UFC’s motion to dismiss, per the rules of federal civil procedure, the company had to file an Answer to the Complaint.  Per rule 8(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the answering party must admit, deny or state that they do not have knowledge to admit or deny the allegation.  However, according the rules stating that you lack knowledge serves as a denial.  It is standard that parties address each and every sentence in a Complaint and even if the statement or allegations may not need an admission or denial, attorneys are ultra-careful and deny most allegations to ensure that there is nothing that might be construed as an admission.

In the Answer the defendant may set forth “Affirmative Defenses” which are facts not within the plaintiffs’ complaint which might defeat the plaintiffs’ allegations.

The Answer filed by the UFC’s attorneys, Boies Schiller and Campbell and Williams does not include many revelations as most Answer’s do not reveal too much.

Zuffa Answer to Plaintiffs' Consolidated Amended Complaint

Here are some of the more interesting parts of the Answer:

  • Probably not too interesting, but Zuffa denies it violated the Sherman Act or engaged in any anticompetitive activity, or that it has injured the Plaintiffs in any way.
  • Zuffa’s annual gross revenues for 2015 exceeded $500 million dollars (page 3, paragraph 7). Although Zuffa remains vague on its revenues, the statement is a conservative estimate from Lorenzo Fertitta’s assertion it made $600 million in 2015.
  • When plaintiffs cited an article or photo included in its Amended Complaint (see paragraph 8 and 12, page 4) and, the UFC did not admit to the veracity of the article or photo. Instead, it indicated the source of the article would be the place to determine the truth of the statement.
  • Zuffa objects to the definition of “Elite Professional MMA Fighter” for being “vague, unclear, confusing, misleading and without any objective or quantifiable basis or any standard usage in any industry.”
  • It notes that the video games UFC Undisputed 2015 sold over 2 million units while UFC Undisputed 2009 sold over 3.5 million units.
  • It notes that Fedor Emelianenko turned down offers to fight in the UFC.

In addition, Paul Gift of Bloody Elbow took at look at the discovery efforts ongoing in the lawsuit.  So far, according to the report 17,909 documents totaling 239,923 pages have been provided from Zuffa’s electronic fighter files.  It is in addition to 108,000 documents provided late last year.  The parties are still haggling over details in the discovery process including custodians (individuals who might have discoverable documents), search terms (the words/phrases used to identify potential relevant documents), relevant time frame among others.

The discovery phase continues as the parties indicate that they have served discovery requests on third parties which should add another level of complexity to this process as the third party lawyers will get into this situation.  Certainly, the attorneys for these third parties will want to ensure that its clients are protected.

Payout Perspective:

Nothing terribly earth-shattering from the Answer.  As in most lawsuits, you want to be as vanilla as possible when providing an Answer.  The Affirmative Defenses do not reveal too much about litigation strategy as well as many are very much form defenses to the lawsuit.  Watch for the discovery fight to continue as third parties were served discovery requests.  Do not be surprise if we see attorneys for the third parties file motions to narrow the scope of discoverable information.

2 Responses to “UFC files Answer to Plaintiffs’ Complaint, parties fight over discovery process”

  1. tops E on January 27th, 2016 5:39 PM

    Big diff between 600 and 500 million gross….stop the hype! hahahaha…

  2. tops E on January 28th, 2016 3:31 AM

    Hahahaha

Got something to say?

You must be logged in to post a comment.