Nothing can really be kept secret in today’s modern age, so it came as no great shock that the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association was announced today in a press conference. Present were Georges St-Pierre, Donald Cerrone, Cain Velasquez, T.J. Dillashaw, Tim Kennedy, and former Bellator head Bjorn Rebney, which gives this proposed fighter’s ‘union’ (although they are quick to state that since fighters are independent contractors, this is an association, not a union). more heft than the plethora of other ones bandied about in recent times.
The association has many goals, a major one being to increase the UFC fighter’s cut of the company’s profit from the now reported 8% that they get up to a hefty 50-50 split. They also aim for health care and pension plans for fighters.
The elephant in the room here is that all the above mentioned fighters involved (other than Cerrone) are represented by talent agency CAA, which is a fierce rival of new UFC owner WME/IMG. However, Kennedy acknowledged this in the press conference, saying that all they are interested in is what is best for the fighters.
Another big concern, of course, is fighters’ fears of getting involved, with the real threat of the UFC punishing any fighter who stands up to them (as they have been known to do in the past). The fighters present said this fear has to be put aside in order to make real and significant changes to the landscape of the UFC. Rebney says that they’ll be travelling the world to get fighters on board and to assuage any of their fears. As of now, the five fighters mentioned above are the only ones in the association, and they are the association’s board members. Rebney is acting as an adviser.