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FTC antitrust investigation of Zuffa yields jack diddly squat

I killed several cyber-trees by writing two War and Peace-sized diatribes about how the FTC investigation into Zuffa’s practices stood a hamburger’s chance near Butterbean of coming up with evidence that the UFC is an illegal monopoly. That’s right: even a complete moron with no legal training and a severe flatulence issue, by a plain-English reading of the laws and a few thoughts of outside precedents, determined that the FTC might as well be investigating a brick wall. A non-business-doing brick wall.

But the government only listens to people named Dick if they’re republicans. So the FTC continued turning your multiply-raped tax dollars into their own feces by investigating Zuffa because of some tip that they probably got from Eddie Goldman. Now, after several months of hard “work”, the FTC has shocked the world by declaring that its investigation turned up a giant pile of bupkis:

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20580
Office of the Secretary

January 25, 2012

Stephen Axinn, Esq.

Axinn Veltrop, and Harkrider LLP
1330 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036

Re: Acquisition of Explosion Entertainment, LLC (Strikeforce) by Zuffa, LLC (UFC)

FTC File No. 111 0136

Dear Mr. Axinn:

The Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition has been conducting a nonpublic investigation to determine whether Zuffa, LLC’s acquisition of Explosion Entertainment, LLC may violate Section 7 of the Clayton Act or Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

Upon further review of this matter, it now appears that no further action is warranted by the Commission at this time. Accordingly, the investigation has been closed. This action is not to be construed as a determination that a violation may not have occurred, just as the pendency of an investigation should not be construed as a determination that a violation has occurred. The Commission reserves the right to take such further action as the public interest may require.

By direction of the Commission.

Donald S. Clark

Secretary

For those who like slurping up mumbo jumbo and gobbledygook (hey, that actually sounds kind of tasty), Section 7 of the Clayton Act prohibits corporate acquisitions whose purpose “may be substantially to lessen competition, or to tend to create a monopoly”. And Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act basically prohibits corporations from hoodwinking consumers with unfair or deceptive practices (even though my credit card company is still allowed to jack up the price of a tank of gas to $250 AND ruin my credit just because I told them to blow their bill out their ass).

The thing that gushes off the page like gore from Phil Davis’ shin is the fact that the FTC apparently focused its investigation solely on whether the merger of Strikeforce and the UFC created a “monopoly on MMA” or was unfair to consumers. The UFC is clearly not a monopoly, and if we made a list of groups who have been screwed over by the UFC at some point, consumers wouldn’t even make the top five. Even though the UFC has done just a few tiny little things that could be construed as interfering with other corporations’ business contracts, which is illegal, the FTC chose to focus on an area in which Zuffa is clearly unimpeachable. Now just come here so we can flash this red light in your face; you’ll forget that this ever happened.

  • iamphoenix

    what about the murdered guy?

  • agentsmith

    The mere existence of Bellator (not to mention countless bushleagues) proves that the UFC is not a monopoly.  Anyone who claims it is obviously doesn’t understand what the word actually means.  When you consider the fact that Ticketmaster has never been nailed as a monopoly, then the UFC isn’t even remotely close.

  • glassjawsh

    the most notable example of this is when the USFL filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the NFL in 1985.

    basically the ruling said that while the NFL was technically a monopoly (on the national level at least) it hadn’t done anything to actively keep the other league out of the major markets and that most of the USFL’s financial problems were due to it’s own mismanagement (which is essentially the case 100% of the time MMA orgs go out of business)

    this is more or less the same thing

  • dick

    The funny thing is, the NFL actually did end up being found guilty of antitrust violations in the USFL lawsuit, and they were required to pay the staggering sum of $3.76 in damages. The USFL got to buy like four candy bars. That’s enough to create a nice bellyache. I had a thing on this and a link to more info in my previous article.

  • thingvolds

    there’s a dozen ways the federal government could bend zuffa over and fuck them. as long as the ufc keeps promoting the military and shit like sopa, they aren’t going to have any problems of that nature.

  • frickshun

    Damn, dick’s comment was 10x funnier than the post & 1000x more succinct.

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