WSOF Tournament Poster

Earlier today it was announced that the World Series of Fighting plans on hosting an 8 man, one night elimination tournament at the Comerica Theater in Phoenix, Arizona on November 20, 2015.  This announcement comes shortly after recent failed plans to host such a tournament in Seattle.

Whenever a tournament is announced in a new jurisdiction my curiosity as to the legality of such events is triggered.  As we learned, one day MMA tournaments are a felony in Washington, can be legally held in California, and have been held with questionable legality in Oklahoma.

What about Arizona?  A quick review reveals that such tournaments are likely legal with a bit of commission discretion in the the Grand Canyon State.

Arizona’s Boxing and MMA Commission is, like all athletic commissions, a creature of stature bound to follow the laws that created them.  Title 5, Chapter 2, Section 225 of Arizona’s Revised Statutes requires that MMA contests be held under rules that are “consistent with the mixed martial arts unified rules adopted by the New Jersey state athletic control board under New Jersey administrative code title 13, chapter 46, subchapter 24A

In addition to adopting the New Jersey ‘unified rules’ the legislation requires that MMA bouts follow the State’s “rules adopted for boxing that are not inconsistent with specific mixed martial arts contest“.

Other than this the legislation seems to not specifically address whether elimination tournaments are allowed or not.

From here one must review New Jersey’s unified rules which also do not specifically allow nor prohibit one day elimination tournaments.  Next, a review of Arizona’s boxing rules reveals that no prohibition exists for tournaments, however Rule 4-3-403 requires that “Unless special approval is obtained from the Commission, if a contestant has competed anywhere in a contest of six rounds or less, he shall not be allowed to box until five days have elapsed. Ten days must elapse after a bout of more than six rounds” which implies that tournaments are not allowed but gives the commission discretion to overrule this so long as a contestant does not fight more than a total of 6 rounds.

In short it appears Arizona can host this tournament provided that the Commission exercises its discretion following each bout and does not allow any contestant to fight more than a total of 6 rounds.

With the revival of the tournament format everything old is new again in MMA.  Athletic Commissions should consider reviewing their Rules and Regulations if they wish to allow one day tournaments and if so thought should be given to drafting specific legislation addressing the parameters for these events.

Given that CTE is being linked to duration and severity of contact and further that the KO rate by punches in MMA increased tenfold after gloves with conventional wraps became the norm in the sport, should MMA and other striking sport athletes use ‘padded’ hand wraps to reduce brain trauma while sparring?  An article published this week in the International Journal of Kinesiology and Sports Science suggests so.

In the recent article, titled “The Influence of a Padded Hand Wrap on Punching Force in Elite and Untrained Punchers” the authors had 14 trained fighters and 24 untrained individuals punch at maximum power with gloves and conventional wraps and then again with “an additional 1.2cm thick cylinder 4g foam-like pad placed over the knuckles”.  The tests revealed that the additional padding reduced punching force by 8.9% for the untrained individuals and 12.6% for the trained fighters.

Graphic from padded punching power study

The authors conclude that “Practitioners should consider utilizing hand-padding strategies such as this during practice/sparring as the reduction in punching force will likely have important long-term health implications for both the puncher and the person absorbing the punch.“.

The full study can be found here – The Influence of a Padded Hand Wrap on Punching Force

Whether or not adding padding to training hand wraps helps address TBI in combat sports all athletes would be wise to remember that the accumulation of sub concussive trauma likely leads to CTE and methods which respect long term brain health should be first and foremost in any training program.

Earlier this year Zuffa, the UFC’s parent company, sued Wanderlei Silva alleging Defamation and Business Disparagement after Silva stated that the UFC had engaged in “fixed fights“.

This week, as first reported by John Nash, Silva fired back seeking to dismiss the lawsuit.  Perhaps the most interesting argument Silva raised was expanding on what he meant by ‘fight fixing’ by referring to the UFC’s alleged knowledge of Vitor Belfort’s apparent use of TRT prior to his light heavyweight title bout with Jon Jones with the motion reading as follows –

“In fact, Silva’s “cheating” and “fight-fixing” statements were geared toward the now public evidence that the UFC allowed fighters who had failed drug tests to compete and the practice of pushing fighters to compete when injured an unable to properly train….

It was recently reported on September 21, 2015, that in 2012 the UFC knew that Vitor Belfort had significantly high levels of testosterone, and it allowed Belfort to fight anyway.”

By elaborating that this is what was meant by ‘fixed fights’ the discovery process in the defamation suit can be expanded to include full scrutiny of the UFC’s “TRT Era” including what was known by the UFC about TRT, which athletes were using testosterone and the full details of any in-house ‘therapeutic use exemptions‘ handed out by the fight promotion and whether these exemptions were communicated to opponents.

The Zuffa lawsuit defined ‘fight fixing’ as the action or practice of dishonestly determining the outcome of a contest before it occurs.  In a clever legal play Silva’s definition of what he meant will, at the very least, warrant serious consideration by the court. If the motion to dismiss fails, the UFC will need to consider whether opening the books via full discovery on the sport’s TRT era, which to put it charitably is an ugly chapter in the sport’s short history, is a price worth paying in exchange for continuing the lawsuit.

Silva’s full motion to dismiss, along with exhibits, can be found here – Silva Motion to Dismiss UFC Defamation Lawsuit

In the latest article addressing injury issues in combative sports, a study was published last month in the Journal of Neurotrauma studying cognitive impairment from boxing.

The study, titled Chronic Effects of Boxing: DTI and Cognitive Findings, used Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Diffusion Tensor Imaging to study brain trauma among 10 boxers (9 active and 2 retired) and 9 other participants not involved in combative sports.

Unsurprisingly the study noted cognitive issues among the boxers and, consistent with other recent studies, pointed to the number of years involved in the sport, as an important factor leading to long term impairment.

To this point the study concluded “Years of boxing had the most consistent, negative correlations with FA, ranging from -0.65 for the right ventral striatum to -0.92 for the right cerebral peduncle. Years of boxing was negatively related to the number of words consistently recalled over trials (r=-.74, p=0.02), delayed recall (r=-0.83, p=0.003), and serial RT, (r=.66, p=0.05).”

The full abstract can be found here

We used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to evaluate the effects of boxing on brain structure and cognition in 10 boxers (8 retired, 2 active) (mean age=45.7 years, SD=9.71) and nine participants (mean age=43.44, SD=9.11) in non-combative sports. Evans Index (maximum width of the anterior horns of the lateral ventricles/maximal width of the internal diameter of the skull) was significantly larger in the boxers, (F=4.52, p=0.050; Cohen’s f=0.531). Word list recall was impaired in the boxers ((F1,14)=10.70, p=0.006, f=0.84)) whereas implicit memory measured by faster reaction time (RT) to a repeating sequence of numbers than to a random sequence was preserved t=2.52, p<0.04. Fractional anisotropy (FA) and the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) measured by tractography did not significantly differ between the groups. However, DTI metrics were significantly correlated with declarative memory (e.g., left ventral striatum ADC with delayed recall, r=-0.74, p=0.02) and with RT to the repeating number sequence, (r=0.70, p=0.04) in the boxers. Years of boxing had the most consistent, negative correlations with FA, ranging from -0.65 for the right ventral striatum to -0.92 for the right cerebral peduncle. Years of boxing was negatively related to the number of words consistently recalled over trials (r=-.74, p=0.02), delayed recall (r=-0.83, p=0.003), and serial RT, (r=.66, p=0.05). We conclude that microstructural integrity of white matter tracts is related to declarative memory and response speed in boxers and to the extent of boxing exposure. Implications for chronic traumatic encephalopathy are discussed.

Immediately after filing a second lawsuit in New York seeking a declaration that the State’s Combative Sport Law is unconstitutionally vague as applied to professional MMA, the UFC has requested that a preliminary injunction be granted preventing the law from being used to shut down a scheduled event at Madison Square Gardens in April, 2016.

The UFC’s full argument can be found here (courtesy of New York MMA Journalist Jim Genia) – Zuffa v New York Memo In Support of Preliminary Injunction

In short the UFC argues that a preliminary injunction is needed because the case will likely succeed at trial, there will be irreparable harm (either by having the event shut down or the looming threat of criminal charges if the event proceeds) without a preliminary injunction and lastly that an injunction is in the public interest.

The UFC’s argument that the law is inherently vague and inconsistently applied is on fairly strong legal footing.  Whether these arguments warrant a preliminary injunction before the case is fully canvassed on its merits is yet to be seen.

In the event this is granted the State of New York will have a problem on their hands in that they will largely lose the reigns on the regulation of professional combative sports.  To this end, as Genia notes, the possibility of legislative amendment in the early New Year cannot be ruled out

This past week has seen two crucial developments in the anti-trust lawsuit filed by various fighters against the UFC.  First the UFC lost a motion to dismiss the claim.  Second, the UFC lost a motion to prevent one of the Plaintiff’s key lawyers, Rob Maysey, who was instrumental in getting the litigation underway and founder of the Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association, from having access to documents disclosed in discovery.

Tweet reporting UFC loses request keeping Maysey from accessign discovery docs

With this hurdle out of the way full discovery is set to begin in the litigation.  Economist and MMA reporter Paul Gift, canvassed what this means at this worthwhile article at BloodyElbow.  The discovery highlights are as follows –

According to a previously filed case management statement, the entire process should take around 16 months. Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta will certainly be deposed and have to truthfully answer questions under oath. As previously reported by Bloody Elbow, there’s an extensive initial list of UFC employees and other MMA figures who could easily find themselves in a deposition room in the next 12 months.

UFC Employees

Dana White, Lorenzo J. Fertitta, Frank J. Fertitta, Peter Dropick, Jackie Poriadjian, Craig Borsari, Ike Lawrence Epstein, Kirk Hendrick, Ken Berger, John Mulkey, Joseph Silva, Sean Shelby, Edward Muncey, Marc Ratner, Michael Mersch, Tracy Long, Sonja McKinney, Reed Harris, David Safer, Mike Mossholder, Link McCluan, Shanda Maloney, Michael Pine, Steven Gray, Ryan Richeal, Doug Hartling, Marshall Zelaznik, Joe Carr, Garry Cook, David Allen, Michael Britt

Other Key Players

Scott Coker, Rich Chou, Bjorn Rebney, Frank Shamrock, Mike Afromowitz, Fedor Emelianenko, Oscar De la Hoya, Pride executives, Randy Couture, Mark Cuban, Ed Soares, Jeff Aronson, Lex McMahon, Shannon Knapp, Julie Kedzie, Ray Sefo, Ali Abdel-Aziz, Kevin Kay, Ben Askren, Bob Arum, Lou Dibella, Ken Hershman, Bob Meyrowitz, Monte Cox, Rose Gracie, Terry Trebilcock, Vadim Finkelchtein, Turi Altavilla and more.

We’ve also learned more about the discovery process in the past week. The parties are still arguing over how broad the UFC’s document production should be. It was originally slated to take place in two phases and is unknown at the moment if the phases will be consolidated since the motion to dismiss has been denied. Regardless of the phasing, here’s what the UFC has committed to so far.

Organizational Charts

The UFC has produced two 2015 organizational charts. Plaintiffs were not satisfied with this and have proposed that the UFC identify all individuals “who may have potentially relevant information.” Upon review of this information, plaintiffs and the UFC will negotiate “…to identify an agreed number of custodians whose documents and information should be searched for production.”

In other words, whose documents and e-mails should be searched? We know at least nine people are targeted at the moment, and this number could expand.

“Zuffa has proposed to Plaintiffs a list of nine custodians, broken down by topic, who Zuffa believes are most knowledgeable about the subject matter of Plaintiffs’ Complaints.These custodians comprise the three primary decision-makers at the company, the three other individuals primarily responsible for fighter relations, as well as the group leaders for agreements with sponsors, venues and merchandizers.” (Emphasis added)

Financial Documents

The UFC has agreed to provide “detailed financial documents such as consolidated financial statements, event-by-event financial analyses, where available, showing gate receipts, Pay-Per-View revenues, and sponsorship and merchandise revenues and documents showing revenue from other sources that are not contained in the event-by event analyses. Zuffa also proposed to provide financial data sufficient to show each athlete’s event and non-event related compensation in Plaintiffs’ requested format, where possible, on an event-by-event and fighter-by-fighter basis.”

Fighter Contract Files

“Zuffa proposed to provide to Plaintiffs copies of the hard copy Fighter Files for the named Plaintiffs and an agreed upon number of additional fighters selected by Plaintiffs. These hard copy files contain not only the agreements entered into between Zuffa and the fighter but, where applicable, also correspondence related to the contracts, including negotiations, and correspondence regarding extensions and suspensions and related information that Plaintiffs can use to test their allegation that the contracts lock fighters up “in perpetuity.” These files, which include contracts and other information for, at minimum, hundreds of athletes, are extraordinarily voluminous and, given the communications regarding negotiations, contracts, and extensions, contain materials that may be privileged and will require close privilege review. Moreover, because these files contain personally identifiable information (“PII”), such as Social Security numbers, the files will need to be redacted to protect the athletes’ PII. Given those considerations, which will require extensive review of the files prior to production, Zuffa has agreed to produce a representative subset of these files to Plaintiffs in Phase 1. For these and the other files for which Zuffa has offered to provide representative samples, Zuffa has offered to discuss an appropriate sampling method with Plaintiffs.”

Venue Contract Files

“Zuffa has proposed to provide Plaintiffs with the contract files for an agreed-upon number of venues selected by the Plaintiffs. These contract files contain not only the agreement between Zuffa and the venue but may also contain additional information related to the contract, such as correspondence. Given the potential for privileged information in these files, which will require extensive review prior to production, Zuffa has proposed in Phase 1 to provide Plaintiffs with a representative sample of these files.”

Sponsor Contract Files

“Zuffa has proposed in Phase 1 to provide Plaintiffs with the contract files for an agreed-upon number of sponsors selected by Plaintiffs. Like the venue files, these files may also contain additional information such as correspondence related to the agreement. Given the potential for privileged information in these files, which will require extensive review prior to production, Zuffa has proposed in Phase 1 to provide Plaintiffs with a representative sample of these files.”

Merchandise Contract Files

“Zuffa has proposed in Phase 1 to provide Plaintiffs with a representative sample of contract files for an agreed-upon number of third-party merchandisers selected by Plaintiffs. These files are not limited to the agreements but may contain additional information related to the agreement, such as correspondence. Given the potential for privileged information in these files, which will require extensive review prior to production, Zuffa has proposed in Phase 1 to provide Plaintiffs with a representative sample of these files.”

List of Television Contracts

“In Phase 1, Zuffa will provide a list of contracts it has with television distribution outlets. Zuffa will then meet and confer with Plaintiffs regarding a plan for which documents should be produced.”

Third Party Analyst/Consultant Reports

“Zuffa has proposed to search for and produce third-party analyst or consultant reports responsive to this Request found in Zuffa’s financial department.”

FTC Strikeforce Documents

“Zuffa has proposed to produce in Phase 1 all documents produced to the Federal Trade Commission in response to the Commission’s closed investigation of Zuffa’s acquisition of the Strikeforce promotion, the only acquisition in the Complaints that arguably falls within the statute of limitations.”

List of Litigations/Arbitrations

“Zuffa has proposed to initially provide Plaintiffs with a list of litigations and arbitrations with athletes and their representatives related to Zuffa’s contracts, at which point the parties can meet and confer to refine the set of documents responsive to these Requests.”

Last month I questioned whether all UFC fighters have agreed to the promoter’s anti-doping policy and pondered what would happen to fighters who refuse to do so.  Yesterday, the UFC’s Vice President of Athlete Health & Performance, Jeff Novitzky, shed some light on these issues.

In a broad interview provided to Josh Samman at BloodyElbow, Novitzky acknowledged that not all fighters have agreed to the new anti-doping policy and perhaps more interestingly that, to his understanding, the UFC would not offer bouts to any athlete that refuses to sign.  Novitzky was quoted as follows:

I will say that not everybody has signed it. The majority have, although I haven’t run into any instance where I was told a fighter 100% wasn’t going to sign it. I think it’s just one of those deals where it takes a long time to get 600 people to sign something. In terms of the repercussions from refusing to sign it, my understanding is that they’re not going to be fighting for us if they don’t agree to this anti-doping program. We can’t have it that some are going to be subject to it and others aren’t. It’s going to be a condition of getting a bout, in my understanding.”

The real question is what will be the legal fallout for athletes who refuse to sign and are then not offered bouts?  While there may not be much sympathy for an athlete who refuses to enter into an anti-doping agreement, basic contract law principles do come into play and an athlete is certainly entitled to request that their existing contracts with the promotion be honored without unilaterally imposed change.

UFC contracts have standard “entire agreement” clauses and further standard language about alterations not being permitted without consent of both parties.  In other words, a fighter ought to be able to refuse to sign the addendum and still maintain their existing contractual rights the same way a promoter can refuse a fighter’s request for more money while under existing contract.

While the UFC should be applauded for taking firm measures against doping in a full contact sport, this situation (along with the recent Nick Diaz saga) reveal why the athletes should have a voice at the table with the promoter and regulators when it comes to anti-doping measures.

Earlier this year when Federal Judge Kimba Wood dismissed a UFC lawsuit against New York alleging the State’s professional MMA ban was unconstitutional the Court noted that the Plaintiff’s did not have standing to sue.  The Court did suggest, however, that the law may not withstand scrutiny if the UFC could establish damages and invited

(the) Plaintiffs, particularly Zuffa, may consider filing new vagueness claims based on events that occurred after this lawsuit commenced, including the OAG’s recent statements that the Ban prohibits sanctioned professional MMA (despite its plain language to the contrary).”

Although the first lawsuit is under appeal the UFC was quick to take up Judge Wood on her suggestion and this week filed a second lawsuit.  Taking lessons from admissions gained through discovery from the prior litigation and further taking Judge Wood’s comments to heart the second lawsuit is a leaner and more compelling version of the first.  Zuffa booked Madison Square Gardens for an anticipated UFC card in April 2016 and signed a contract with the WKA to act as a sanctioning “exempt organization” arguably making the event legal.

The UFC is essentially now playing chicken with the State of New York to see if they will take action to shut the event down.  If they do they have damages and have standing to sue.  If not then they will get in the back door what has not yet fit through the front.

In short the lawsuit alleges that New York’s Combative Sport Law is unconstitutionally vague as applied to professional MMA and they are seeking a declaration stating the same along with an injunction preventing the State from enforcing the Combative Sport law against UFC professional events.

The full pleadings can be found here (courtesy of MMA Journalist Jim Genia) – Zuffa v New York

These are worth reading in full to see the sometimes inconsistent and difficult to understand stance that New York has taken trying to establish that the law prohibits modern day professional MMA in the Empire State.

The latest development is this claim is set to be heard by the very same Judge Kimba Wood who expressed strong views as to the merits of the vagueness claim.

Jim Genia Tweet Re Kimba Wood

Your move New York.

Jon Jones Guilty plea image

This morning Jon Jones plead guilty to a 4th degree felony after being involved in a hit and run causing injury to his victim, a crime which came with a potential of up to 18 months imprisonment.

A plea deal was reached and he was sentenced to a conditional discharge (basically meaning Jones will not be a convicted felon if he complies with all of his conditions of probation).

The conditions include supervised probation for up to 18 months.   The court was open to a potentially earlier discharge if the probation office felt it was warranted.

During probation Jones was ordered to make 72 charitable appearances which equal to one for each week of his probation period.  The court did not restrict his ability to travel for his promotional obligations for the UFC.  The court noted a further hearing will be held after the 72 appearances are complete to determine if it is appropriate to finalize the discharge.

Below are the standard terms of probation as set out by New Mexico’s Corrections Department –

Standard supervision serves those offenders in the community who are less likely to re-offend and who do not fit the criteria of special programs. Some offenders are placed into standard supervision if they are pending acceptance in special programs. The following are the conditions of Standard Probation Supervision.

  • State Laws: I will not violate any of the laws or ordinances of the State of NM, or any other jurisdiction. I shall not endanger the person or property of another.
  • Reporting: I will report to my Probation/Parole Officer as often as required and will submit completed and truthful written reports as required by my Probation/Parole Officer. All communication with my Probation/Parole Officer will be truthful and accurate and I will promptly reply to any correspondence or communication I may receive from the Probation Office.
  • Status: I will get permission from my Probation/Parole Officer before: a) Leaving the county where I am being supervised and/or residing; b) Changing jobs; c) Changing residence; or d) Engaging in any major financial contract or debt.
  • Association: I will not associate with any person identified by my Probation/Parole Officer as being detrimental to my Probation supervision, which may include persons having a criminal record, other probationers and parolees, and victims or witnesses of my crime or crimes.
  • Visits: I will permit any Probation/Parole Officer to visit me at my home or place of employment at any time. I will permit a warrant-less search by the Officer of my person, automobile, residence, property and/or living quarters if he/she has reasonable cause to believe the search will produce evidence of a violation of my conditions of probation.
  • Employment: Unless exempted, I will make every effort to obtain and hold a legitimate job and fulfill all financial obligations required of me including support of my family. I shall cooperate with my Probation Officer in any effort to assist me in obtaining employment. If I lose my job for any reason, I shall report this fact to my probation/Parole Officer within 48 hours of the change.
  • Weapons: I will not buy, sell, own or have in my possession, at any time, firearms, ammunition, or other deadly weapons.
  • Drugs: I will not buy, sell, consume, possess or distribute any controlled substances except those legally prescribed for my use by a State Certified Medical Doctor. I will also provide urine or breath test specimens for laboratory analysis upon request of the Probation and Parole division.
  • Arrest: I will report any arrest, charge or questioning by a Peace Officer to my Probation/Parole Officer within 48 hours of the incident. The toll free number 1-866-416-9867 is available for emergency contact with my Probation/Parole Officer.
  • Transfer: If my probation supervision is transferred to another state, I will abide by any additional supervision conditions required by that state.
  • informant: I will not enter into any agreement to act, or act as an “informer” or special agent for any law enforcement agency without the permission of the Director of the Probation and Parole Division and the sentencing judge.
  • Probation Costs: I will pay probation costs as determined by my Probation/Parole Officer on or before the designated date each month to the Corrections Department in the form of a money order or cashier’s check.
  • Photo: I will submit myself for photographing and fingerprinting as directed by the Probation & Parole Division.
  • Alcohol: I shall not possess, use or consume any alcoholic beverages and will not at any time enter what is commonly known as a bar or lounge where alcoholic beverages are served or sold for consumption on the premises.

On Friday the UFC lost a motion to dismiss the proposed class action anti trust lawsuits against them.  If you are not following the ins and outs of this litigation I encourage you to do so at BloodyElbow where Paul Gift and John Nash have provided coverage that is second to none.

In Gift’s play by play breakdown of Friday’s proceedings Judge Boulware, who has conduct of the case, made interesting comments during argument which could shed light on how one of the most essential pieces of evidence will be viewed, the duration of UFC fighter contracts.

In the simplest of terms, the lawsuit alleges that the UFC obtained their market position through a series of anti-competitive practices and have secured approximately 90% of the global share of all MMA revenue and are misusing this position of prominence to give fighters an unfair deal.  In other words, the heart and soul of the lawsuit, (if the fighters can prove the UFC did gain their market position through anti-competitive practices) is the allegation that UFC fighter contracts are unfair.

Money is just one element in a contract that will be considered in determining fairness.  Here, Judge Boulware’s comments shed light into how another factor may be viewed, the issue of contract length.

The fighters argued that UFC contracts have the potential to lock in talent forever to which the UFC countered that no such express language exists in the Contract.  Judge Boulware was quick to respond noting a contract with a matching clause is “not a 2 or 3 year contract, that’s forever.”

Here is the heart of the issue.  In 2013 when BleacherReport broke down the terms of Eddie Alvarez’s proposed contract a few key features came into the public eye.  The first is that UFC contracts don’t end easily.

At the conclusion of the contract and any exclusive negotiating period a fighter can test free agency. However, during this period, as Judge Boulware noted, matching provisions come into play. During the term of the matching period the UFC enjoys “the option to match the financial terms and conditions of any offer made to Fighter.  In addition, if a fighter is a champion at the end of their term, a position which arguably makes them the most desirable free agent, the contract contains a ‘champions clausewhich ties a fighter to the promotion for a further period.

As was noted by Northwestern University labor law professor Zev Eigen in BleacherReport’s article, the champion’s clause has never been judicially challenged and it is “potentially a violation of the 13th Amendment, the prohibition against… involuntary servitude. You can’t force someone to work for you. I don’t know how, under contract law, that would be enforceable.“.

Eigen further noted that the matching provisions may not pass judicial scrutiny stating “It’s a little bit tricky because contracts are governed by state law. But in general terms, this is problematic. It’s essentially a contract that could have no end. You can’t compel someone to work for you.

There are a lot more twists and turns to come as the anti trust lawsuit continues to weave its way through the courts.  At the end of the day, however, one of the outcomes is that these contract terms when contrasted with the very short window of professional fighters careers may receive a judicial overhaul.

For some examples of how fighter contracts have been reformed (or proposed to be reformed) over the years you can look at