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UFC played their Trump card on the Ali Act and now their enemies are organizing

By Zach Arnold | November 30, 2016

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The realization of a Donald J. Trump presidency has set in for proponents of reforming the MMA business.

The season of Trump means death to the Ali Act. There are 30 days left to try to pass an Ali Act during the Congressional lame duck session. Highly unlikely, especially with Trump appointing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife to the Department of Transportation.

With no Ali Act to fight for, Rob Maysey’s anti-trust lawsuit may lead to a result that attorneys dread: mootness. Rob’s biggest fear is fighters unionizing in order to establish a Collective Bargaining Agreement, which would (in essence) nuke the anti-trust route and close the door permanently on amending the Ali Act for MMA.

Ari Emanuel’s blood rivals, Hollywood powerhouse agency CAA, are throwing down the gauntlet with their (un)official support of Dana White nemesis Bjorn Rebney by organizing a group called the MMA Athletes Association. This group potentially has the muscle that PFA, the attempted group by sports agent Jeff Borris, does not.

Interestingly, Bjorn Rebney says this new Association will not be a union. Which means this will be a competing venture against Maysey and Borris. Most intriguingly, former Bellator employee Zach Light is with the new Association. He sued Bellator for wrongful termination and they sued him back. That fight is ongoing in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Which brings us to this question: what is the value of an Association if the Ali Act isn’t going to be amended for MMA in order to establish legal rights for fighters for freer movement & a private right to sue to get out of an adhesive contract?

Vulture capitalism primed the conditions for organizing fighters

We knew that Ari Emanuel would hollow out UFC in order to launch an IPO or flip the venture Bain Capital-style. Our concern is that the hollowing out process could result in more of a Cumulus dumpster fire.

Consider the following developments over the last week:

In none of these developments do you see any benefit whatsoever for fighters. More and more fighters are publicly voicing their displeasure about comp tickets, show money, canceled fights, and issues with drug testing.

Once Lorenzo Fertitta got out and an official price tag was slapped on the UFC, the dam broke. Before Trump takes office in late January, there will be a mad rush for organizing fighters & filing lawsuits. Once Trump hits DC, everything changes — no more Ali Act, a change in the composition of the National Labor Relations Board, and UFC ownership having a direct phone line to the White House.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 6 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

6 Responses to “UFC played their Trump card on the Ali Act and now their enemies are organizing”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    1. This might not technically be a union, but it has the feel of one. I have always preferred the union avenue over the Ali act.. In the long run, it is better for the fighters to have a strong union that raises pay and looks out for their best interests.

    2. Screwing with GSP was a HUGE mistake for the new owners. Kennedy, Velasquez, Dillashaw, & Cerrone is an impressive list…. but GSP brings this union talk to the next level.

    Should be interesting.

  2. Diaz's packed bowl says:

    Sad that some fighters don’t trust Bjorn because a few other fighters have some bad things to say about him. I’ve seen dummies whining about no blacks or women on the assc, well stop being a useless SJW and join up.
    #1 Rebney was responsible for Bellators success, without Rebney there would be no “other” league.
    #2 Bjorn has respect for the fighters, has never bad mouthed ANY fighters. Unlike Dana, he’s not a liar. Remember when coker claimed Rebney never reached out regarding the Alvarez v Melendez co promotion? and Rebney provided the actual texts sent to coker.
    #3 Rebney is smart, a union is not usable with the assc complaint against ufc and this is better than an ali act amendment which wouldn’t create any group with any collective bargaining imo.

  3. ad-lib says:

    biggest question i have is the “this is just aimed at the UFC” concept. so whatever practices are abusive are cool as long as it’s not the UFC running with them?

    • Diaz's packed bowl says:

      Kennedy stated the goal was to make the UFC the biggest promotion, and best league for fighters. Should they succeed in getting 50% of the profit I would imagine other leagues might follow suit lest their fighters revolt.
      UFC has little choice but to give in lest their top fighters assc “become” ill or injured and unable to provide main events. its already happening now, ufc is cancelling events because of this. Just think if the fighters organized their sickness or injuries… whats ufc going to do keep cancelling shows? I dont think so.

      • ad-lib says:

        i can SORT OF understand the argument, but it doesn’t change the fact that it makes it question how much it’s about unfair treatment versus simply getting more income. getting more income is a worthy goal, but let’s not wrap it in the cloak of other issues.


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