By Zach Arnold | April 24, 2012
- California Assembly Bill could give fighters new rights, challenge UFC contracts
- Lorenzo Fertitta’s letter in opposition to AB2100 amendments
UFC is bringing in the big names to schmooze with the politicians about not supporting new amendments to AB2100 that would, by law, prohibit many contractual provisions that Zuffa currently uses in standard fighter contracts. Reportedly, Chuck Liddell and Matt Hughes were in Sacramento to shake various hands.
I heard names like Urijah Faber & Jon Fitch bandied about as pro-UFC witnesses for tomorrow’s testimony. It takes place in Sacramento at 2 PM EST/11 AM PST and you can listen to the hearing live by clicking here. If anyone can record the audio, please send it my way. I would greatly appreciate it (for transcription purposes). The California Channel will not air the hearing live and does not plan on airing the session any time soon on the network. So, any help here from you would be greatly appreciated.
Press release on tomorrow’s Sacramento hearing on AB2100
For immediate release
Contact: Marva Diaz (916-319-2028, Marva.Diaz@asm.ca.gov)
Professional Bill of Rights for MMA Athletes
AB 2100 Reforms Contractual Practices in MMA
(SACRAMENTO)— Assembly Member Luis A. Alejo’s (D-Salinas) AB 2100 would protect professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters in California from certain exploitative business practices.
“Tragically, many athletes who compete professionally in mixed martial arts in California are subjected to pervasive exploitation by some fight promoters,” said Alejo. “These fight promoters exploit the dreams of young fighters by promising lucrative careers. But once these fighters enter the business, they are required to surrender many of their rights. As a result, these talented athletes are often unable to make enough money to support themselves and their families in the sport they love.”
The bill would protect professional fighters licensed in California from the following exploitative, oppressive and coercive practices:
- Requiring athletes to relinquish all rights to their own identities “in perpetuity.” This deprives athletes of the opportunity to make money from video games, clothing and other merchandise made with their names or images.
- Pressuring athletes to sign coercive contracts by banning them from lucrative events and denying them the right to compete in important contests if they do not agree to certain terms.
- Restricting athletes’ freedom of movement and ability to negotiate for higher pay through coercive clauses that “automatically renew” promotional contracts.
- Frustrating athletes’ freedom to benefit financially from their own success by placing unreasonable restrictions on sponsorships.
The bill also would extend certain legal protections already afforded to professional boxers under the federal Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act of 2000.
The following California fighters will testify in support of the bill at an April 25th legislative hearing in the Assembly Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media: Retired four-time defending, undefeated Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) champion Frank Shamrock; current lightweight fighter and former Maximum Fighting Championship (MFC) champion Antonio D. McKee; and former UFC light heavyweight turned attorney Christian Wellisch.
Others expected to testify in support of the bill is a representative from the Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association (MMAFA) and a broad coalition of labor unions.
“As a result of coercive contractual practices, competitive market forces have been strangled, future earnings power of the athletes is stripped away by the promoter, and purses to the athlete are artificially depressed,” said Rob Maysey, founder of the MMAFA. “There is no legal, economic or other legitimate explanation as to why mixed martial artists should be afforded less protection or have fewer rights than their boxing counterparts.”
Luis Alejo represents the 28th District in the California State Assembly, which consists of San Benito County, the Salinas Valley, North Monterey County, South Santa Clara County and the city of Watsonville.