Mixed Martial Arts and the Law

Disputes, Suits and Legal Issues


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About the Book

Barbaric. Savage. Violent. Words often used by critics to describe the sport of mixed martial arts. To this can be added lucrative, popular and flourishing. MMA has seen astronomical growth since the 2000s, spurred on by its biggest promotion, the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC).
Along the way, legal issues have plagued the sport. This book provides an overview of the most important cases and controversies arising both inside and outside of the cage—antitrust suits by fighters against promoters, fighters suing other fighters, drug testing, contractual issues, and the need for federal regulation.

About the Author(s)

Jason J. Cruz is an attorney and writer based in Bellevue, Washington. He owns Cruz Law, PLLC where he practices business law and also writes for MMA Payout, a web site dedicated to the legal and business aspects of combat sports.

Bibliographic Details

Jason J. Cruz
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 218
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7930-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3728-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 4
1. The Fight for New York 7
2. MMA’s Drug Problem—Enter USADA 25
3. After Clearing Name with USADA, Athletes Sue 41
4. Independent Contractor or Employee 48
5. Injunctions and Matches—Trying to Leave a Promotion 60
6. Contractual Ties and Attempts to Break Them 73
7. The ­Athlete-Agent Relationship 82
8. Should the Ali Act Include MMA? 90
9. RICO, Defamation and Slavery—More Legal Disputes Featuring UFC and Disgruntled Fighters 102
10. The UFC Antitrust Lawsuit 120
11. The MMA Startup—Problems Abound in the World Series of Fighting 141
12. MMA and IP 149
13. The Fight to Promote Fights 162
14. Odds and Ends 175
15. Emerging Legal Issues 185
Chapter Notes 189
Bibliography 198
Index 209

Author Interview

Review Fix chats with Mixed Martial Arts and the Law author Jason J. Cruz, who lets us know what inspired his books and what his future goals as an author are.

Review Fix: What inspired this book?

Jason J. CruzI have been writing about the business and legal aspects on the sport of mixed martial arts since 2011 for MMA Payout – a web site dedicated to the legal and business aspects of combat sports.  I thought that with all of the legal cases arising out of the sport that a book would be an interesting read.  There are so many fans interested about the business and legal side of the sport I felt there would be a niche.

Review Fix: What was the research process like?

CruzA lot of researching legal cases including paying for legal documents on PACER and state court websites.  I had knowledge of certain cases having written about them for the web site but I had to go back to pre-2011 for certain cases.  The good news is that there were similar themes with certain cases which I was able to tie together in chapters.

Review Fix: Any real trials and tribulations during the writing process?

CruzThere’s always motivation issues as well as balancing time to write in addition to my job as a lawyer.  Also, certain cases changed after submitting my manuscript which required me to change the final draft.

Review Fix: What are your goals for this book?

CruzI think the main goal is to give a comprehensive look at the legal history of the relatively new sport of mixed martial arts. From these lawsuits, which are written in a way that lay people will understand, the reader will comprehend the obstacles athletes, organizations, companies and promotions face in the industry.

Review Fix: Who do you think will enjoy it the most?

CruzIf you are an MMA fan interested in the backstory of the sport, you will find the read interesting since most of the chapters focus on athletes they will know by name and companies within the industry.  Also, for the legal scholar, it gives some context for the issues faced in MMA.

Review Fix: How does your background help and hinder your creative process?

CruzMy background in law and writing has helped with the process because I’ve been able to distill the legal cases and write the book in a way which offers insights for the legal professional as well as an enjoyable read for those non-lawyers interested in the subject.  I have had to review the manuscript to ensure that I didn’t provide too much legal minutiae or dry details that might not engage the reader.

Review Fix: What’s next for you?

CruzLegal Issues in Boxing which may be a deeper dive due to its longer history.

Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?

CruzI never thought that I’d write a book and was surprised as to how driven I was to complete this project.  It wasn’t easy, but I am glad it is complete.  Also surprising was realizing how the book laid out perfectly from idea to paper.