Oh… Lucy (Lorenzo) you got some ‘splainin’ to do…
I Love Lucy fans? Anyone? Anyone at all? All right then…
Anyway, now that the bad jokes are out of the way, let’s get to the “good” stuff, the stuff about the antitrust lawsuit being filed by some well known former UFC fighters, such as Cung Le, Nate Quarry, Jon Fitch, Brandon Vera, Javier Vazquez, and Kyle Kingsbury…
Anyway, Lorenzo Fertitta recently had his chance to speak under oath, while being addressed about the accusations, as well as the goings-on in the UFC.
The following block-quote (the stylish text with the little green to the left of it) is an excerpt from Paul Gift’s BloodyElbow article…
When asked about the barriers to entry for competing with the UFC, Fertitta mentioned obtaining a license and a venue, neither of which he believed to be very significant. And lastly, “…there’s various levels of capital that could be required.”
From this point, Fertitta’s likely preparation by UFC attorneys begins to show. Since fighters will need to show antitrust injury, he noted that the capital requirements are no different from other businesses, “You know, it’s the same in most businesses. If I want to get into the gaming business and go get a license, I guess it’s not that high barrier of an entry, other than I have to have a clean background. If I choose to compete with or borrow 15 machines, there’s a different barrier than competing with the Golden Nugget that’s right behind us.”
But then, he was proposed a question about TV distribution and he responded with some very strong opinions on the matter…
Note: All this is under oath.
“Part of the competitive landscape historically has been distribution would be the final stage,” he said. “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.”
Then the question about “fighter access” came up. Although, with everything thing that I’ve read and seen on this matter, his arguments seem to have fallen on deaf ears, at least anyone who knows anything about advertising, promotion and MMA in general, seeing that the window of opportunity for any fighter or promoter anywhere (although especially in the a UFC) to capitalize on one’s good fortune/hard work is extremely small.
“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.”
Oh yeah, this case ain’t goin’ nowhere soon, it’s expected to carried on all the way into 2018, as well as possibly having a chance to go into 2019.