One of the biggest names in the MMA world, former UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, recently had his deposition from a 2008 suit unsealed as a part of a anti-trust lawsuit filed against the UFC.
UFC’s attorneys have included two pages of testimony from a previously lawsuit between the promotion and HD Net in March of 2008 over the contractual status of Randy Couture. Fertitta had testified in a Las Vegas court during the trial in 2008 and lawyers for this newest anti-trust lawsuit had those documents unsealed.
One of the highlights of the former UFC CEO’s testimony was how distribution of the UFC’s product differs from other promotions.
“Part of the competitive landscape historically has been distribution would be the final stage,” he said while under oath. “And as I mentioned before, and it’s just fact based on what has happened historically, promotions can enter with very little barriers to entry and go from literally never have promoted a fight to being on CBS, like EliteXC. Or you can go from what, in your terms, was a regional promoter in Strikeforce to getting at the old Showtime, and at the flip of a switch, you’re a major player in the industry. You can go from being a startup in World Series of Fighting to getting a multi-fight media contract with NBC Sports and become a major player in the industry. You can go from being a startup now to going and doing a deal with ESPN, HBO. I guess when you think about how many channels there are on television, it gets to be hard to get your arms around because there’s so many points of distribution.”
Another highlight from Fertitta’s testimony talks about the amount of higher level fighters that there can be throughout the world.
“There are thousands, maybe multiple thousands of fighters around the world,” Fertitta stated, “because, once again, this is a global sport in a global market, that have the aptitude and the capability to compete at the highest level. There’s no question about that. When you talk about – and I say this with my experience from being the CEO of the UFC. There is so much talent in markets like Brazil, Russia, now starting to evolve in Asia and of course North America given the level of talent and training that now exists. It’s literally an endless number of fighters that have the ability to compete at the highest level and be the highest level fighters.”
A summary judgment for the lawsuit should be given around September/October and if the suit goes to trial, that won’t begin until sometime next year.