Michael Bisping, Michael Chandler, Chael Sonnen, prominent MMA managers testifying for UFC in antitrust lawsuit

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The UFC antitrust lawsuit is nearing a trial date on April 15, and several prominent fighters and managers are set to testify on behalf of the promotion in the court case.

A brief filed on Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada revealed several names the UFC put forward as witnesses ahead of the trial for a case that’s been slowly moving toward that date since first being filed all the way back in 2014. The list of witnesses includes two former UFC champions and three more past title challengers testifying for the UFC.

Bloody Elbow first released information on the brief.

The names included are ex-UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping, former women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate, as well as Michael Chandler, Donald Cerrone, and Chael Sonnen.

The managers expected to serve as witnesses for the UFC include Ali Abdelaziz, who runs Dominance MMA and represents fighters such as UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev; Jason House, the head of Iridium Sports Agency, which has ex-flyweight champion Brandon Moreno on its roster; Josh Jones, who works with fighters such as Cerrone and Tate; Dan Lambert, who owns and operates American Top Team in Florida, and also manages fighters; and finally Ed Soares, who previously managed fighters such as Anderson Silva and Glover Teixeira.

Additional testimony will also be provided by former Bellator president Scott Coker, Invicta FC founder Shannon Knapp, former IFL founder Kurt Otto, and boxing promoter Lou DiBella among others.

Current or former UFC employees who could be called to testify include UFC CEO Dana White, matchmakers Mick Maynard and Sean Shelby, and former head matchmaker Joe Silva, as well as Marc Ratner and UFC chief operating officer Lawrence Epstein.

At the heart of the UFC antitrust lawsuit, fighters such as Cung Le, Nate Quarry, Jon Fitch, Brandon Vera, and others accuse the promotion of engaging “in a scheme to acquire and maintain monopsony power in the market for elite professional MMA fighter services,” and use three components to achieve this goal including acquisitions — like buying up former rivals such as Strikeforce and PRIDE FC — as well as exclusive contracts and coercion.

As for the UFC’s defense, the promotion claims that the lawsuit is misguided and this is “no antitrust case at all, but an attack on success.”

Because the case was eventually made a class action lawsuit, any fighter competing in the UFC between Dec. 16, 2010 to June 30, 2017 would be eligible for compensation if the plaintiffs win in trial or a settlement agreement is reached. None of the fighters eligible opted out of the lawsuit, which includes witnesses such as Bisping and Sonnen, who were competing in the UFC at the time.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages between $894 million and $1.6 billion.

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