The big ‘industry redefining’ announcement made by Georges St-Pierre, Bjorn Rebney, and a number of other big name UFC stars has been revealed: they’re starting another organization called the Mixed Martial Arts Athlete Association, which has the goal of getting fighters a bigger piece of UFC profits. During a conference call earlier today, St-Pierre made the case for such a group, saying UFC fighters only make 8% of the money made by the UFC, while in other sports the split is much closer to 50%.
Other fighters on the call included Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, Tim Kennedy, TJ Dillashaw, and Cain Velasquez. Cerrone, known for always being ready to step up and take any fight on short notice, said the sport had a long way to go to addressing the concerns of fighters regarding job security, healthcare, and retirement. Velasquez was also concerned about the cost of treating injuries sustained working for the UFC after his career was over.
Former Bellator head Bjorn Rebney stressed that they were not going the route of a union as that could take up to five years to set up. Instead, their ‘association’ would pull in as many fighters from the UFC as they could and then look to force the company to deal with them. He went so far as to put the possibility of a fighter’s strike on the table.
According to Tim Kennedy, the MMAAA will be run by fighters and only fighters, with Rebney serving as an advisor. CAA, the talent agency representing the fighters on the call, isn’t behind the organization but is offering its clients their support to help make it happen.
Out of all the fighters on the call, St-Pierre and Kennedy were the most vocal in calling out the UFC for their unfair practices and saying something had to give so fighters started getting a fair share of profits. “I don’t have to do this, I don’t need money,” St-Pierre said. “But it’s what is right.”
Specifics weren’t laid out on the call, with the group admitting they were concerned new UFC owners WME-IMG will be trying to stop them at every opportunity from putting plans into action. But it sounds like they’re very serious about adding many more UFC fighters to their organization and making some big moves soon. We’ll keep you up to date on all of the action.