Culinary Union Requests FTC Investigation of Zuffa LLC


The Culinary Workers Union filed a request with the Federal Trade Commission on Monday, asking the FTC to investigate the business practices of Zuffa LLC, parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Affiliated with the Unite Here North American labor union, the Las Vegas-based organization known as Local 226 has asked the FTC to formally probe into whether Zuffa is operating in compliance with federal anti-trust laws.

The request comes following Zuffa's June setback in the New York State Assembly, where once again the bill to legalize mixed martial arts failed to make it to the floor for a vote. According to UFC president Dana White, the Culinary Workers Union spent significant funds to help keep mixed martial arts out of New York due to the organization's issue with Fertitta-owned Station Casinos.

“It has to do with the Culinary Union,” White said following UFC 129 on April 30. “The Culinary Union is spending millions of dollars of all these people who pay dues to keep us out of there because my partners, the Fertitta brothers, are the largest non-union gaming company in the country. So these union idiots, all these people work in the Culinary Union, pay their money towards dues, this is what all their money's being spent towards. Fighting the UFC from coming there and bringing money into the state of New York.”

Sherdog.com acquired a copy of the union's letter to the FTC from a source close to the situation on Thursday. Signed by the union’s research director, Ken Liu, the letter lists several of the union’s complaints, which include Zuffa's longstanding stance against co-promotion, as well as the terms of fighter contracts. The letter claims that several alleged contractual restraints within Zuffa's fighter contracts may limit a fighter’s “freedom of movement.”

The alleged contractual restraints listed in the letter are as follows:

“a) ‘Automatic renewal’ contract provisions such as the ‘champion's clause,’ which extends the contract of an athlete who becomes a champion. Such clauses effectively prevent some athletes who sign contracts with Zuffa from becoming free agents and negotiating for higher pay.

“b) Exclusive negotiation and ‘right to match’ clauses that lock athletes into negotiating with Zuffa for a period after their contracts have expired. These clauses diminish the ability and incentive of smaller promotions to bid for top mixed martial arts athletes.

“c) Merchandise and ancillary rights agreements that require athletes to forfeit their image and likeness rights ‘in perpetuity,’ or forever. These far-reaching agreements deprive athletes of the freedom to make money from their own success and further bind them to Zuffa indefinitely.”

The letter goes on to assert that these restrictions have been considered anti-competitive in past court rulings, such as in the case of the NFL's “Rozelle Rule,” which was deemed an unfair restraint on free agents.

Although the union admits that in some cases professional sports leagues must employ such restraints in order to maintain a competitive balance, the letter asserts that Zuffa “does not operate as a professional league,” but instead operates as “a private limited liability partnership that promotes and produces mixed martial arts events for the benefit of its owners.” According to the union, Zuffa’s alleged contractual restraints “serve no legitimate business justification beyond stifling competition and increasing Zuffa’s already dominant position in the market.”

Chartered in 1938, the Culinary Workers Union is composed of 60,000 members working in Nevada casinos, hotels, restaurants and laundries. Local 226 is the largest affiliate of the Unite Now labor union. Local 226’s website displays numerous web links to local news reports detailing the organization's protests against Station Casinos.

Sherdog.com attempted to contact the organization for comment, but a representative could not be reached at the time of publication.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

  • 26 days ago
  • 1 views

Two weeks after the announcement of a class-action lawsuit against Zuffa LLC, parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the company announced it has engaged a heavyweight in antitrust lit read news >>

  • 13 days ago
  • 3 views

The Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) on Monday issued a temporary suspension to UFC fighter Ashlee Evans-Smith following Evans-Smith's failed drug test at UFC 181. Evans-Smith tested positive for the read news >>

  • 12 days ago
  • 0 views

The Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) on Monday resolved to open dialogue towards forming a committee to examine aspects of its drug testing program in light of UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jone read news >>

  • 12 days ago
  • 10 views

The Nevada Athletic Commission on Monday did not take any action against UFC champ Jon Jones, but began the process of reevaluating its drug testing process. read news >>

  • 5 days ago
  • 1 views

Last week, Wanderlei Silva filed suit in District Court against the Nevada Athletic Commission seeking to overturn the lifetime ban and fine levied against him in September. read news >>

  • 24 days ago
  • 9 views

UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones is certain he did not lie under oath to the Nevada Athletic Commission regarding his Nike deal. The UFC 178 media day brawl between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormi read news >>

  • 25 days ago
  • 7 views

LAS VEGAS - Did Jon Jones lie to the Nevada Athletic Commission? That question made the rounds in recent days, after Jones said during Monday's UFC 182 press conference that Nike did not terminate hi read news >>

  • 25 days ago
  • 130 views

LAS VEGAS - At Monday's UFC 182 press conference, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones cracked wise on Daniel Cormier's physique, implying the former Olympic wrestler doesn't look like an athlete read news >>

  • 25 days ago
  • 2 views

At a Nevada Athletic Commission hearing in September, a contrite Jon Jones apologized for his media day brawl with Daniel Cormier. read news >>

Jump to: