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The freedom to contract means the freedom to indemnify UFC from responsibility

By Zach Arnold | September 30, 2015

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Writer Jason Floyd dropped this proverbial turd in the punch bowl regarding a clause UFC fighters are being asked to sign regarding USADA drug testing:


As a condition of participating in or preparing for a Bout or working with an Athlete who is participating in or preparing for a Bout, Athles, Athlete Support Personnel and other Persons agree to release and hold harmless UFC, USADA and their designees from any claim, demand or cause of action, known or unknown, now or hereafter arising, including attorney’s fees, resulting from acts or omissions which occurred in good faith.

First, the key phrase here is good faith. It’s nebulous and extremely hard to combat in a protracted lawsuit should any fighter sue them over a mishap.

Second, this waiver could easily raise the issue of unconscionability. In other words, it’s such a one-sided adhesive agreement in which an entity with all the leverage in negotiating is pressuring fighters to give up even more constitutional rights in order to continue employment while under contract with UFC. You have the right to sue in America. You have the right to send a demand letter. Nevada’s anti-SLAPP law is on the books to enforce protection of these rights.

Lots of people sign contracts every day giving up constitutional rights as part of settlement agreements. However, signing such agreements as a condition of continued employment or else face a possible ice-out in labor participation as an “indepedent contractor” is arguably excessive.

Which brings us to two legal defeats in the past week for UFC in Las Vegas Federal court:

1) Their motion to dismiss the anti-trust lawsuit filed by Cung Le, Nate Quarry, and others was denied. Read Paul Gift’s remarkable article at Bloody Elbow detailing last Friday’s court hearing.

2) Discovery is beginning and the plaintiffs will get access to an assortment of business contracts. How much of this information will be kept under seal by the judge and how much will be made available to the press?

We’ve seen dribs and drabs over the years in various legal cases, such as the Eddie Alvarez/Bellator debacle, about what UFC contracts supposedly look like. Thanks to the efforts of Rob Maysey, we’re about to see a whole lot more and the fighters are going to get an opportunity to see some real details on UFC’s business model.

It is always amazing to see how hyper-aggressive UFC is legally in protecting their business model (e.g. making members at their gyms wear UFC-branded gis over other branded gis) and pro-actively preventing any future legal challenges. But once they actually do get challenged in court, they aren’t teflon. Their crack legal team in New York has now formulated a strategy of… gasp… trying to establish damages from NY’s MMA ban by booking Madison Square Garden in April and seeking an injunction. As Jonathan Snowden adroitly notes, UFC knows that MMA is illegal in New York and that booking MSG is a self-imposed injury. But the flipside here is that UFC drew the same judge for this new injunctive hearing as they did for their original lawsuit against New York state.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 4 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

4 Responses to “The freedom to contract means the freedom to indemnify UFC from responsibility”

  1. Jill says:

    The UFC/USADA policy has giant holes in it anyway. According to there is a “tainted supplement loophole.”

    All a fighter has to do after testing positive is convince the arbitrator that it’s “probable” the banned substance came from a contaminated supplement, and if they do that, then the punishment could be just a reprimand with no suspension.

    This goes against the way it is in every semi-reputable commission in the country, which is that it doesn’t matter how the banned substance got in your body. If a banned substance was in your body, you get suspended.

    Otherwise, dopers who get notified of a positive test could just take any supplement, contaminate it with whatever they tested positive for, and say “look, my supplement was contaminated!”

    But people who do that in the UFC/USADA policy could avoid any suspension, and remember: Under the UFC/USADA policy, no suspension = no public disclosure there was ever a failed test in the first place.

    It’s no wonder there were zero suspensions in the first 3 months of the program!

  2. JV says:

    Glad to have the website back, Love your unbiased articles and the headlines from the MMA world.


    Diaz’s penalty for that completely botched test needs to be rescinded entirely.
    #1 The alleged failed test was NOT supervised. Could have been anyone’s urine.
    #2 Failed test sample had Diaz’s name on it. How could you even put Diaz’s name on it if it was unsupervised? This is where all credibility is lost re that particular sample.
    #3 It was sent coast to coast to an unaccredited non wada lab in the box in NJ. Why? when there were several quest labs in nevada within walking distance of the arena.
    #4 NJ test results showed metabolites WAY (4-5 times)higher than the other 3 tests. If you do a series of tests they need to be done in the same testing facility with the same standards. And you toss out the high and low tests.
    #5 Everyone including the NAC,and except for a few brainless Diaz haters, realize this was BS.

    While its speculative, and I have no photographic evidence of that sample being tampered with, I’m just going to go ahead and say this test was knowingly fixed.
    Even if it wasn’t… due to the fact that the test sample was known to have been mishandled. The nac for one knows he smokes pot since he is so open about it. He has a legitimate prescription for it, making him an easy target and an easy rip off for corrupt Nevada politicians.


    my picks…
    Hendo > Belfort via h bomb or Belfort injury.
    Mc gregor > aldo KO
    Holm > Rousey boring decision If holm is properly scared sh!tless of the clinch and keeps it long she has a good chance as RR has a lot on her mind other than fighting. If RR tries to come in Holm’s face too soon she’ll be left high and dry.
    Cerrone > Dos Anjos decision
    Edgar > mendes sub

    I’m not watching too many ufc fights because with the uniforms they all look the same. Glad to see bellator has individuality still. Brooks pitbull scum bros rivalry has hit an all time low, with the Tank smith type altercation.
    that’s the better card for this weekend for sure.


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