The sport of Mixed Martial Arts now has union representation. A group of fighters, including Georges St. Pierre, and Tim Kennedy, have come together to advocate for better pay and benefits for those who step into the cage.
When the sport was in its infancy in the 1990’s, compensation for fighters varied wildly from promotion to promotion, ranging from six-figure purses, to paying for your own ambulance ride. As the sport grew in popularity, eventually to eclipse Boxing, fighters and fans started asking why the purses didn’t expand along at the same rate.
More recently, the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s Reebok deal –which prohibited fighters from displaying sponsorship logos on their fight apparel in favor of exclusively-branded Reebok gear– cost them a valuable source of income that for many, helped support their full time participation in the sport. (Bullshido itself has sponsored several fighters, including most notably Joe Lauzon in his first UFC fight against Jens Pulver.)
So it was natural, almost logical, that a union would form to break the rear-naked chokehold that Zuffa (the UFC’s parent company) has on fighter pay and compensation. The question remains, however, if this attempt by the MM-triple-A will be effective in its purpose. Will other fighters flock to their standard? Will Zuffa and other players make moves to break the union before it can take root? Will Dana White call out the Pinkertons?
It’s an interesting time to be a fan of the business of MMA