Former Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney and former UFC welterweight champion Georges-St-Pierre helped announced the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA), a new organization designed protect the interests of UFC fighters.
The MMAAA also boasts former UFC world champion Cain Velasquez, UFC welterweight Donald Cerrone, former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw, and UFC middleweight Tim Kennedy.
The group stated three primary goals: to get the UFC to increase profit sharing from the current 8 percent to 50 percent, gaining a settlement for current and past fighters, and negotiating a collective-bargaining agreement with the UFC.
In a media conference call, each member of the MMAAA summarizing the troubles endured in their careers and made the case for the fighters fair share of profits.
I'm told UFC not providing a statement on MMAAA. One official tells me UFC respects its athletes and encourages communication at all times.
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Rebney explained his role is to provide strategic advice, while the fighters in the group will make the actual day-to-day decisions.
Despite the star power of the MMAAA, it faces an uphill battle increasing the parity between the fighters and the UFC. Rebney added it chose to be an association rather than a union because a union would not hold up in case of a court case, not to mention the lengthy union certification process. and has some leverage options such as a strike to exert pressure as necessary on the UFC.
The UFC earned $600 million USD in revenues in 2015, and were bought in July by WME-IMG for $4 billion USD.
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“We respect all of our athletes and are always open and willing to hear their thoughts on how to improve the sport,” the UFC said in a statement to MMAFighting.com.
A female presence on the MMAAA board will be a big display of looking for representation and representatives of all UFC fighters #yesImeanme
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Asked what the next steps of the MMAAA are towards achieving its goals, Rebney was cautious. “There’s no substantial benefit to the fighters sitting here with me, or to the hundreds of other fighters in the UFC for us to lay out our comprehensive strategy so that the WME-IMG-UFC conglomerate knows what’s coming and when,” he said.
“We have a well-developed plan to win, and a great team in place to orchestrate that plan to win and you’ll see the results unfold over the coming months.”